How to Make the Best German Chocolate Cake from Scratch

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How to make the best German Chocolate Cake from Scratch you've ever tasted!

Making a cake from scratch can be one of those things you go back-and-forth about in your mind.  Is it really worth it? Will it taste that much better than a box or a store-bought cake? Will anybody even notice?

How to Make the Best German Chocolate Cake from Scratch - cake on plate, cake on platter and Grandma's cake pan lid

Those are all questions I ask myself almost every time I bake.  While I do enjoy baking, sometimes the time I invest in it just doesn't justify the results but this time,, this time, the investment of time was definitely worth it!

My husband recently celebrated a birthday and one of the things he asked for was a homemade German Chocolate Cake.  I was happy to oblige BUT I have never made a German Chocolate Cake.  I was a little nervous about how it would turn out.  To be honest, one of my last attempts at baking a "new" cake recipe turned out horribly.  I did everything I was supposed to do but somehow the cake was just terrible.  It looked like a blue sister has been teasing me ever since occasionally with pictures of sponges...yes, siblings 😉

How to Make the Best German Chocolate Cake from Scratch that you have ever tasted!

This cake, though, turned out perfectly! Everyone enjoyed it and I received requests to make this for their birthdays (all 3 of my sons).  My sister even said that I had been vindicated.  I don't have pictures of the process since I was making it and doing other cooking and baking at the same time and things were too hectic and time was too limited but I do have pics from the morning after.  Not much cake left but you get the idea of what it's supposed to look like.

How to Make the Best German Chocolate Cake from Scratch - cake on plate and vintage cake platter

If you'll be tackling the baking of this cake give yourself plenty of time - at least 3 hours.  You won't be in the kitchen the entire time but allowing for the cake and frosting to cool before frosting is part of the process.  Actual hands on time is about an hour.

📖 Recipe

How to Make the Best German Chocolate Cake from Scratch

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For the cake

Coconut Frosting

  • 1 12- ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 6 eggs yolks lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trace the bottom of 9-inch cake pans onto parchment paper and cut out. You will need 3 9-inch pans for this recipe.
  • Lightly grease cake pans, place parchment paper in bottom of each pan and lightly grease the top of the parchment paper.
  • Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, add ½ cup water, and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds; remove and stir; place back in microwave for an additional 30 seconds or until melted.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Beat sugar and butter together on medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  • Add egg yolks one at a time beating just until blended after each addition.
  • Stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each application.
  • Beat eggs whites at high speed until stiff peaks form and then very gently fold into batter.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven, gently run a knife around the outer edge of each cake to loosen.
  • Cool in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from pans discarding parchment paper and allow to continue to cool on wire racks completely.

For the Frosting

  • Using a heavy-duty 3 quart saucepan, cook evaporated milk, sugar, butter and eggs yolks over medium heat stirring constantly until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Cook, stirring constantly, an addition 12 to 14 minutes until the mixture turns a light caramel color and is bubbling. It will have the consistency of pudding.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and flaked coconut. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow to cool stirring occasionally.
  • Once the frosting and cakes have cooled completely, spread frosting between layers and on top.


*Please note that traditional German Chocolate Cake frosting will contain pecans. Due to one of my son's having a tree nut allergy I omitted them from this recipe but truthfully, they were not missed one bit.

As with any of my recipes, calorie counts and nutritional information varies greatly depending on which products you choose to use when cooking this dish.

Author: Mary Beth

What is your favorite flavor of cake to celebrate with?

The Best German Chocolate Cake You've Ever Eaten - Made from Scratch!

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