Decadent German Chocolate Cake

Decadent and moist chocolate cake layered with a smooth pecan and coconut filling and topped with a creamy chocolate buttercream. This classic German Chocolate Cake is absolutely delicious!

layered german chocolate cake

You’re going to love this Decadent German Chocolate Cake!

I’ve now added it to our weekend baking rotation because it is SO GOOD! Made with three layers of my famous Chocolate Cake and packed with a creamy pecan & coconut filling, there’s a reason why this dessert is an American classic. Yeah, American, not German. It’s named after Samuel German, an English-American chocolate maker. I was pretty disappointed when I found out, to be honest. All my life I thought this was a German cake!

How to make a Decadent German Chocolate Cake

This recipe features 3 chocolate cake layers, a pecan and coconut filling and a chocolate buttercream top.

To Make the Chocolate Cake

  • Start by greasing and lining the bottom of 3 (three) 8-inch cake pans. These are my go-to cake pans. If you only have 1, no problem. Bake one layer at a time and make the filling and buttercream while you wait.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. I always sift the cocoa powder.
  • Brew 1/2 cup of coffee and melt the dark chocolate in a large pot. Whisking so that it doesn’t clump. Allow to cool.
  • Cream the softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. This takes 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
  • If you’re out of buttermilk, make your own. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 3/4 cup of whole milk, give it a quick stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It’ll thicken and curdle a bit.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet, beating on low. Add the chocolate/coffee mixture and mix until fully incorporated. This means you won’t see any flour clumps.
  • Weigh the batter and divide amongst the 3 cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool before assembling.
layered german chocolate cake

How To Make the Coconut Pecan Filling

  • In a large pot, combine all the ingredients, except the coconut flakes, pecans and vanilla. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add the remaining ingredients and fold to combine.
  • The mixture will thicken as it cools.


  • The most important tip here is to avoid cooking the egg yolks. To avoid getting egg clumps, whisk fast until they’re fully incorporated. If you do get some clumps, you can use a mesh strainer to scoop them out.
  • Roughly chop the pecans and toast them in the oven at 350F for about 5 minutes.

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream

  • Beat the softened butter, for 2 minutes until creamy and soft. Add the sifted confectioners sugar, vanilla, whole milk (1-2 tbsp) and salt. And beat until desired consistency.


I’ve tested and tried make chocolate buttercream recipes, and honestly, this is the best one. For this recipe (and all buttercream recipes), make sure you use softened European style butter. This type of butter, that you can find anywhere, has about 5% more butterfat than regular butter, which makes it extra, well, buttery!

The cocoa powder you use also makes a huge difference. For this recipe, I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder. That’s why the color isn’t orangey like most chocolate buttercream. It tastes like Nesquick but better!

layered german chocolate cake

looking for chocolate recipes? check these out!

A few of Yoga of Cooking’s most popular recipes:

As always, if you loved this recipe, leave a comment and rate! Don’t forget to share your creations with me on Instagram using the hashtag #yogaofcooking. It always makes my day!

Happy Baking! x

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
layered german chocolate cake

Decadent German Chocolate Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Rosana
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings


For the Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 5 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 3/4 cup buttermill
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For the Filling

  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 12 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt


For the Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and line 3 8-inch cake pans, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix to combine flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder.
  3. In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the chopped chocolate with the 1/2 cup of brewed coffee.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle, on medium speed, cream the butter until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar, eggs (one at a time), vanilla extract and buttermilk.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and cooled chocolate/coffee mixture, to the wet ingredients, mix until fully combined.
  6. Divide batter amongst 3 pans. For exact layers, measure your batter using a kitchen scale.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool and transfer to cooling rack.

For the Filling

  1. In a large saucepan over low heat, combine the melted butter, light brown sugar, evaporated milk and egg yolks. Whisking fast until eggs are incorporated (otherwise they’d cook and get clumpy). Bring to a boil and turn the heat off. Add the vanilla, pecans and coconut, fold to combine.
  2. Set aside and allow to cool. Mixture will thicken as it cools.

For the Chocolate Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with he paddle attachment, beat the butter, medium speed, until soft and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add the sifted confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, 1-2 tablespoons of milk. vanilla and salt. Beat for about 5 minutes until smooth. If the buttercream is too thick, add 1 tbsp of milk at a time, until desired consistency.


  1. Place the first cake layer on a cake stand or platter. Add a few scoops of the coconut/pecan filling, spreading to the sides using an angled spatula. Repeat with the second layer.
  2. Top the third layer with chocolate buttercream.
  3. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: dessert
  • Cuisine: american

Similar Posts


    1. Yes, but bake time might change. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure how long you’d need to bake. I’d also make sure to leave some room and fill your pans three-quarters of the way, even if you have leftover batter, so they don’t overflow.

  1. The cake is named after Samuel German!? You learn something surprisingly new every day! Oh, well. This is a very good German Chocolate Cake recipe. I like to use dark chocolate cocoa for a darker color.

  2. This is just like my Grandmother Sallie used to make, except she covered the whole cake with the coconut pecan caramel icing!
    It was “OFF THA CHAIN” DELICIOUS 😋! Miss Ve 💃🏽❣️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star