This German chocolate cake recipe is the most delicious, moist, flavourful cake ever! It features a super moist chocolate cake that is a dream on its own but the real star is the butterscotch frosting loaded with pecan and coconut. Beyond how beautifully the flavours bond together it is also a super easy recipe you can literally make in no time without any special equipment. If you are making one cake recipe, it should be this one for sure!
I can't believe it took me so long to share with you this German Chocolate Cake recipe! This naked style Cake is absolutely out of this world, it might just be my favourite ever chocolate cake or cake in general!
The cake in fact has nothing to do with Germany, the name rather refers to Samuel German, who invented a type of chocolate that was traditionally used to make this cake. There is a whole long story behind it and its history dating back to the 19th century.
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using milk instead of cream, using poor quality chocolate etc. will all have an impact on your baking
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking desserts
Some important notes regarding the ingredients of this German Chocolate Cake recipe
For the Chocolate cake
- Oil: The cake part for this German chocolate cake recipes is an oil based cake (no butter) that keeps the cake super moist, soft and fluffy. Butter based cakes tend to harden a lot in the fridge, with oil we won’t have this issue. Use no flavour vegetable oil
- Egg: Room temperature always
- Milk: Whole milk on room temperature is what I recommend
- Coffee: If you are not using coffee in your chocolate desserts, you are missing out and I think you should seriously consider trying it. Believe me, the cake won’t taste like coffee at all however it enhances the taste of chocolate. I recommend brewing a strong espresso type of coffee and use it straight away fresh. It does not impact the taste whatsoever! Yet, if don´t have coffee at home, use warm water instead
- Sugar: Use a mix of brown and white sugar in this German chocolate cake recipe. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Flour: All purpose flour or pastry flour makes the best cakes. They are so called “soft flour” which are low on protein resulting in delicate, tender texture. Make sure you sift flour before using in the recipe to avoid lumps. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Baking powder and baking soda: Has two functions: increase the volume and lighten the texture, use both, they have slightly different function
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Generally always use unsweetened, 100% cocoa powder when baking chocolate cake. I use dutch-processed cocoa powder, it has a lovely dark colour and it is lower in acidity. Make sure to sift the cocoa powder to avoid lumps
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. It balances flavour and enhances other ingredients, especially in this German chocolate cake recipe it is an absolute must
For the Butterscotch coconut pecan frosting
- Sugar: Butterscotch frosting is made of using brown sugar, that will give the deep molasses flavour of the cream, it will be dreamy
- Egg: Room temperature as always, you will only need the yolk part of it
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. In this recipe butter will need to be melted with the rest of the ingredients therefore you can use it at any temperature you like
- Heavy Cream: Also known as whipping cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40% . Heavy cream will make the frosting extra creamy
- Milk: I am using a mix of milk and cream to balance the richness of the frosting, use high fat content milk
- Salt: We always need at least a pinch of salt to balance the flavours for such sweet, brown sugar based frosting
- Coconut: Shredded coconut, try to use organic that has a natural beautiful coconut flavour
- Pecan: Toast pecans in advance that brings out their amazing nutty flavour then chop them into small pieces
4 tips regarding the technique of making this delicious German Chocolate Cake recipe
1. How to make moist chocolate cake
This is a super easy chocolate cake recipe, you can use it with any frosting of your liking. It is very moist with velvety crumb and extremely delicious and it comes together in less than 5 minutes!
- Prepare your baking pans (3 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan) as per instructions later
- Baking temp will be 180 C / 356 F but preheat oven +20C / 68F as oven temp will drops when you open the door and place the baking tins in
- Use Digital oven thermometer to understand your real oven temp
- Ingredients must be all measures with a Digital scale
- Eggs, milk must be on room temperature
- Oil, sugar, milk and eggs should be beaten with an Electric hand mixer for a minute or two until combined
- Sift dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) then pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients
- Dry ingredients must be folded in by hand (using Rubber spatula). Do not use a mixer at this point
- Pour in freshly brewed strong coffee
- Pour batter into the prepared baking pans (15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan), divide the batter equally into the 3 pans using a Digital scale. Bake for 25 minutes. Do not open the oven door during baking. After 25 minutes check the middle of the cake with a toothpick . Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the chocolate sponges cool on a cooling rack, please note that they are very fragile while hot, do not break them
2. How to avoid cake sticking to pan
That is a whole topic on its own and the right preparation depends on the type of cake and/or pan however with this type of cake and cake pan I use the following: With the help of a pastry brush, brush the inside of the cake pan with a tiny bit of oil then use parchment paper on the bottom and side as well. The oil only needed for the parchment to stick to the pan. What I love about this pan preparation is that with the help of the parchment paper it is incredible easy to release the cake from the pan. Might sound a bit of extra work but you will certainly avoid disappointment.
3. How to make Butterscotch coconut pecan frosting
The Butterscotch coconut pecan frosting is what make this German chocolate cake recipe super special! Butterscotch sauce is effectively a caramel kind of buttery sauce made with brown sugar. While I love my caramel sauce (recipe in here) I must say this butterscotch sauce is equally smooth, creamy and buttery but with a way more complex molasses flavour profile due to brown sugar and egg yolk.
Making the butterscotch coconut pecan frosting could not be easier, place all the ingredients (not the coconut and pecan, those will be added later) into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickens, around 10 minutes on my stove but please look for the right consistency, do not stick to the 10 minutes mark! The mixture will thicken as you cook then it will further thicken as it cools due to butter. Whisk the mixture while cooking so egg yolks won´t make a sweet omelette. If the sauce breaks after cooking it means that probably you heated up the mixture too much, try to fix it with a hand blender or start again. Once sauce slightly cools to room temperature mix in toasted and chopped pecan pieces and shredded coconut then try not to eat the frosting before assembling the cake, good luck! This is the most delicious cake frosting ever made! The frosting will need 30-60 minutes in the fridge before it will achieve a really thick consistency to frost the cake as per below.
4. How to assemble this German Chocolate cake recipe
Assembling this German chocolate cake could not be easier. This is a naked style, sort of rustic cake, all you need to pay attention is to divide the frosting into 3 equal portions and spread it in between the chocolate cake sponges then decorate according to your liking.
Chocolate frosting can be added as decoration, honestly it is rather a complete, delicious cake even without that so I would say it is optional.
After assembling, the cake should be chilled for another 30-60 minutes and I must say it is even more delicious the next day!
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German chocolate cake
Chocolate Sponge for 3 x 15 cm ( 6 inches)
- 170 g AP flour
- 45 g Cocoa powder dutch processed
- 120 g Granulated sugar
- 120 g Brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 90 g Vegetable oil
- 2 Eggs
- 165 g Milk
- 120 g Coffee freshly brewed
Butterscotch coconut pecan glaze
- 120 g Unsalted butter
- 4 Egg yolk
- 120 g Whole milk
- 120 g Heavy Cream 36%
- 150 g Brown sugar
- 120 g Coconut shredded
- 120 g Pecan toasted, chopped
- Pecan few pieces
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Heat oven to 180 C / 356°F
- Prepare 3 15 cm (6 inch) round cake pan with parchment paper
- With an Electric hand mixer beat together the wet ingredients: room temperature egg, oil and milk just until combined then pour coffee in
- Sift dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, salt then add sugar
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients then fold just until combined
- Divide batter equally into 3 cake pans with the help of a Digital scale
- Bake for 25 min or until skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean
- Cool the chocolate sponges on Cooling rack
Butterscotch coconut pecan glaze
- Cook all ingredients (except pecan and coconut) in as saucepan over medium heat until slightly thickens, this will take about 10 minutes . Pay attention to the consistency and remove it from the stove as soon as it thickens. Stir constantly while cooking to avoid egg yolk curdling
- Let the cream cool down to approx. room temperature, it will thicken as it cools. Fold coconut and toasted chopped pecans in and let it rest in the fridge for 30-60 minutes until set
- Once chocolate sponges are on room temperature and frosting sets in the fridge start assembling the cake. Simply dividing frosting into 3 equal portions and spread it over the sponges with the help of an Offset spatula or spoon. Decorate with some more toasted pecans. Let the cake set in the fridge for 30-60 minutes