Recipe: Mama’s German Chocolate Cake

Mama's German Chocolate Cake

Mama’s German Chocolate Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Enjoy this rich German chocolate cake topped with coconut-pecan frosting and garnished with chocolate-dipped toasted pecan halves.
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 (4-oz.) packages sweet chocolate baking bars
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Coconut-Pecan Frosting
  • Garnish: chocolate-dipped toasted pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease 3 (9-inch) round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper, and lightly grease paper. Microwave chocolate and ½ cup water in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 1½ minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring halfway through.
  2. Combine flour and next 2 ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
  4. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form; gently fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Gently run a knife around outer edge of cake layers to loosen from sides of pans. Cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks; discard parchment paper. Cool completely (about 1 hour). Spread Coconut-Pecan Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
  6. Note: We tested with Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate Bar.


Click here to download a printable PDF of this recipe.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Roy Lee Layton

    September 5, 2021

    I’ve used this recipe a couple times it has been a hit every time!Great recipe!

  2. Reply


    May 30, 2021

    Such a wonderful cake! Thank you for the recipe. I make 1.5 times the frosting and really make sure the cake is covered all over. Such a hit no matter where I take it.

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      June 10, 2021

      Thank you so much for your comment. We’re so glad you like it!

  3. Reply


    February 24, 2018

    I’ve made this 3x. LOVE LOVE LOVE! I make cupcakes & the texture is incredible! Just don’t over fill… The rims crumble. It’s allot of work… But SO WORTH IT!!! Thanks!

  4. Reply

    Berthena Smith

    November 30, 2016

    My first time to make a German Chocolate Cake from scratch. Followed recipe as printed – it was AWESOME!
    Cake very moist, frosting to ‘die for’! Everyone says it’s a WINNER! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      November 30, 2016

      We’re so happy to hear that! Thanks for leaving a comment, and we’re thrilled your cake came out beautifully!

  5. Reply


    November 1, 2016

    This is the best German chocolate recipe!!!!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      November 1, 2016

      So glad you like it, Rho!

  6. Reply


    October 28, 2012

    Where is the recipe for the frosting. To make such a good cake you
    need a good frosting recipe….thanks

    • Reply


      May 4, 2021


      1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk

      ¾ cup butter

      ¾ cup granulated sugar

      ¾ cup packed light brown sugar

      6 egg yolks, lightly beaten

      2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

      2 cups chopped toasted pecans

      1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
      DirectionsInstructions Checklist
      Step 1
      Stir together evaporated milk, butter, sugars, and egg yolks in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and sugars dissolve, 3 to 4 minutes. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbling and reaches a pudding-like thickness, 12 to 14 more minutes. Remove from heat; stir in coconut, pecans, and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until slightly warm and spreading consistency, about 40 minutes.

  7. Reply


    May 26, 2012

    Oh My Gosh! It was de de delicious. Looked great and tasted great. Thanks