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German Chocolate Cake

  • Author: Rebecca Blackwell
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 12-16 slices


Want to make cupcakes instead of a layer cake? Get the recipe for German Chocolate Cupcakes.

This three-layer German Chocolate Cake is for chocolate and caramel lovers. Rich caramel filling with toasted pecans and sweet coconut is layered with sinfully dark chocolate Devil's Food Cake and covered in milk chocolate ganache.


  • Three 8-inch layers Devil's Food Cake (*see note)
  • 4 large whole eggs
  • 12-ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into six pieces
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces (approximately 2 & 1/3 cups) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 3/4 cups pecans, toasted and chopped into pieces about the size of a pea (*see note)
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces heavy cream


Make the coconut pecan filling:

  1. Crack the eggs into a medium size saucepan and whisk to combine. Slowly pour in the evaporated milk, whisking it into the eggs as you pour. Add the brown sugar and salt and whisk to combine.
  2. Add the butter and set the pan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the filling is slightly thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Pour the filling into a bowl and stir in the vanilla and coconut. Let cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerated until completely cool - at least 2 hours, and up to 3 days.

Make the Milk Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Put the chocolate chips into a small bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave until small bubbles start to appear around the edges. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until the chocolate and cream are completely blended. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Assemble the German Chocolate Cake:

  1. Stir the toasted pecans into the filling.
  2. Place one layer of Devil's Food Cake onto a serving platter or cake plate. Spread the cake with 1/3 of the coconut pecan filling, spreading the filing to within a half inch of the edges of the cake. Top with a second layer of Devil's Food Cake. Spread the second layer with another third of the coconut pecan filling. Top with the third layer of cake and spread the top with the remaining filling.
  3. Drizzle the milk chocolate ganache over the top of the cake. If you're using frozen cake layers, let the cake sit out at room temperature for 1-3 hours before serving. The assembled cake can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.


  • Pro tip! Devil's Food Cake has a very tender crumb - a quality that makes it meltingly delicious, but can also makes stacking three layers a bit challenging. Freezing the cake layers for at least 1 hour (and up to 3 months) makes assembling the layers much easier. If your cake layers have been frozen for more than 1 hour, let the assembled cake sit out at room temperature for 3-4 hours to thaw before serving. After letting the cake thaw at room temperature, refrigerate the cake if you're not serving it right away.
  • To Toast Pecans: Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dump the pecans onto the sheet, spreading them out into an even layer. Toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until they are a rich brown and smell super fragrant. *Watch them carefully. They burn easily.