This cake seriously can’t be beat, especially if you’re a chocolate lover! The traditional version of a german chocolate cake features the coconut frosting covering the entire cake. Mom always made it inside-out, with the coconut frosting in between the layers and on top of the cake, and homemade chocolate frosting covering the outside.
Some tips for this cake:
Use room temperature ingredients.
Run hot water over the eggs to bring them to room temperature. Stick the buttermilk in the microwave for just a few seconds. It really makes a difference!
Make it in advance!
I like to make the cake, coconut frosting and chocolate frosting at least one day in advance. That way, the cake is really easy to throw together. I make the cake in 8” or 9” rounds, bake it and let it cool completely. Then I wrap it lightly in plastic wrap and stick each layer in a ziplock freezer bag. Frozen cakes are very easy to frost!
Both frostings (coconut and chocolate) can be made ahead and placed in a covered container in the fridge. Remove them from the fridge about an hour or so before you’re ready to frost your cake. This will allow them to come to room temperature and they will be easier to frost.
Decorating is easy!
I used a wilton a wilton 2D tip for the swirls on top of this cake. SO EASY. I also love the Wilton 1M tip, and I use both tips with an Ateco flex 14” reusable piping bag. Those three items right there are my favorites for cake and cupcake decorating.
Store it covered, in the fridge.
You could make this cake with a box-mix, but the homemade version is AMAZING and seriously easy to make. But you know me… everything tastes better from scratch.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups flour sifted
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup oil canola or vegetable
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 cup chopped Pecans
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 375°F. Grease two 8 or 9-inch round baking pans. I like to cut a round piece of wax or parchment paper for the bottom of the pan also, to make sure the cake comes out easily.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix well. Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 25 - 35 minutes (depending on your cake pan size. the 9'' pan takes less time to bake) or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with few crumbs. Cool 5 minutes in the pan and then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
In a medium saucepan add brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, egg yolks, and evaporated milk. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat. Stir constantly for several minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, nuts and coconut.
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa powder. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed to thin the frosting, or a little extra powder, until you reach your desired consistency. Stir in vanilla.
Place one of the cake rounds on your serving stand or plate. Smooth a thin layer of chocolate frosting over the cake layer, and then spoon half of the coconut frosting on top, spreading it into a smooth layer. Leave about 1/2 inch between the filling and edge of cake. Stack the second cake round on top.
Smooth chocolate frosting over the entire cake. Spoon remaining coconut frosting on top of the cake. I used a Wilton 2D piping tip to make chocolate frosting swirls around the top of the cake. Enjoy!
*If baking at high altitude add 3 tablespoons extra flour.
I originally shared this recipe in September 2010. I’ve updated it with new photos and a printable recipe card.
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Try some of my other favorite cakes!!: