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German Chocolate Cake


3 hours 30 minutes
Skill Level
1 cake

Advance your baking skills with this expert-level German chocolate cake recipe for a sweet taste of perfection containing delectable, flavorful HERSHEY’S cocoa. Your taste testers will be astounded you created this homemade German chocolate cake from scratch when they taste the coconut pecan frosting and rich cake underneath. Once you learn how to make German chocolate cake, share some with your friends and family as dessert after dinner. You’ll likely find that they can’t stop talking about your old-fashioned German chocolate cake recipe and how fluffy and rich each slice was.

Ingredients & Directions

Prep Time
30 minutes
Bake Time
25 minutes
10 minutes
Cool Time
2 hours 35 minutes


  • 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup
    boiling water
  • 1 cup
    butter or margarine, plus 3 tablespoons, softened
  • 2-1/4 cups
  • 1 tsp
    vanilla extract
  • 4
  • 2 cups
    all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp
    baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1 cup
    buttermilk or sour milk*
  • pecan halves (optional)
  • Coconut Pecan Frosting
  • 1 can
    sweetened condensed milk (14 oz) (not evaporated milk)
  • 3
    egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup
    butter or margarine (1 stick)
  • 1 tsp
    vanilla extract
  • 1-1/3 cups
    sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup
    pecans chopped

Step-By-Step Directions

Equipment Needed 
oven and stovetop oven & stovetop
(3) 9-inch round pans 9-inch round pans
mixing bowl mixing bowl
bowls bowls
mixer mixer
rubber scraper rubber scraper
wire racks wire racks
saucepan saucepan

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.


Stir together cocoa and water in small bowl until smooth; set aside. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with chocolate mixture and buttermilk, beating just enough to blend. Pour batter into prepared pans.


Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Prepare Coconut Pecan Frosting; spread between layers and over top.

* To sour milk: Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.


Cake can also be baked in 13 x 9 pan @ 350 F. for 45 to 50 minutes or until top springs back when touched.

Coconut Pecan Frosting:

Stir together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and butter in medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature. About 2-2/3 cups frosting.

Additional questions?