German Chocolate Cake – Life Above the Cafe

German Chocolate Cake

A birthday cake to remember all year long!
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German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake
Apr 12, 2020




25 mins.

27 mins.


There are two types of people in the world. Those who choose chocolate ice cream and those who choose vanilla (or some variation of not chocolate). I choose vanilla, butter pecan, or strawberry, but never do I opt for chocolate. Weird to some people, especially my family, but perfectly normal to me.

I love coconut so I will usually eat a slice or two of German Chocolate Cake. For my husband’s birthday this year I made him a double layer German Chocolate Cake. I’m living at a higher altitude right now so I turn to boxed cake mixes as the base for my creations. They cooperate with our ridiculously thin air when I add a few extra tablespoons of flour and reduce the amount of water, plus I don’t notice a huge difference in the flavor of a homemade cake versus a boxed cake mix. The real flavor difference comes from the frosting and that is one thing that I always make homemade for German Chocolate Cake.

This cake was gone in less than three days and every time that I’ve made a cake since then my husband says, “That’s not German Chocolate Cake. Where’s the German Chocolate Cake?” I guess that his birthday cake was a success and his repeated questioning means that it’s time to make another one of these amazing cakes. #Quarantinelist.


  • 1 boxed chocolate cake mix and ingredients for cake (water, oil, eggs)

Coconut Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup of evaporated milk (6 ounces)
  • 2 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut flakes

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup of shortening
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
  • 3-4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1-3 Tbsp. of milk as needed to thin the frosting
  • 1/8 tsp. of salt


Bake a chocolate cake from a box mix or your favorite homemade recipe according to the directions. I baked my cake mix in two 9 inch cake pans. Allow to cool before removing from the pans. Make the chocolate and coconut pecan icing while the cake bakes.

Coconut Frosting Directions:

In a nonstick sauce pan over medium heat add the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg yolks and evaporated milk.

Stir to combine and continue stirring as the mixture comes up to a low boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a low boil and stir the entire time to avoid scorching the frosting to the bottom of the pan.

After about 5-10 minutes when the mixture has thickened remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla, nuts and coconut to the pot and stir well. Set aside to cool and make the chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting Directions:

In a stand mixer whip the butter and shortening until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes) add vanilla and mix again. Add cocoa powder and salt and mix.

Next add the powdered sugar one cup at a time.

Add milk as needed to thin the consistency or add more powdered sugar for a stiffer frosting.

Fill a decorating bag 3/4 full with the chocolate frosting.

If there are leftovers, store the frosting in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and then beat the frosting to adjust the consistency.

Decorating/Icing the cake:

Place a dab of frosting in the center of the cake stand and spread around. Place one of the round cakes down.

Draw a ring of chocolate frosting around the edge with a decorating bag to contain the coconut frosting that will fill in the middle.

Next use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread a layer of coconut frosting in the center of the cake.

Place the other cake layer down on top inverted so that the top of the cake will be flat or trim the domed part of the cake off.

Frost the sides of the cake with the chocolate frosting and draw a ring around the top of the cake with the chocolate frosting using a decorative piping tip.

Fill the center of the top layer with the coconut frosting and then pipe a bottom decorative ring around the bottom of the cake with the remaining chocolate frosting.

This cake will cut more cleanly if placed in the refrigerator for several hours to chill.

Additional Photos:

German Chocolate Cake
German Chocolate Cake
German Chocolate Cake
German Chocolate Cake

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