German Chocolate Cake


Dry Ingredients:

German Chocolate:

Ingredients to be Creamed and Mixed:

Buttermilk Mixture:

Egg White Mixture to be Folded In:

Filling and Topping:



  1. Prepare coconut pecan filling; cool until spreadable. You can make this 2 hours to one day in advance refrigerating until ready to use. If you have a nut allergy prepare coconut filling instead.
  2. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans; set aside. Click here for instructions on how to prepare cake pans for baking.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°.
  4. Mix together dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl; set aside.
  5. Break up chocolate into a small bowl.
  6. Add boiling water to chocolate; let stand for 1 minute.
  7. Whisk together water and chocolate until chocolate is melted and smooth; set aside.
  8. In a large work bowl, beat butter until creamy; about 1 minute.
  9. Add 1¾ cups sugar to butter and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
  10. Beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 3 to 5 minutes.
  11. Add the egg yolks to the butter mixture one at a time beating 30 seconds each. Scrape down bowl as needed.
  12. Place the egg whites in a separate medium-sized bowl; set aside. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to separate eggs.
  13. Add the melted chocolate to the work bowl and beat on low speed until incorporated.
  14. Add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 2 parts, beating on low speed until smooth. Scrape the sided of the work bowl as necessary.
  15. Add cream of tartar to the egg whites that were set aside.
  16. Beat the egg whites on medium-speed until soft peaks form.
  17. Beat the egg whites on high speed gradually adding ¼ cup of sugar until peaks are stiff but not dry.
  18. Using a rubber spatula fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the cake batter.
  19. Fold in the remaining whites.
  20. Divide the batter among the pans and spread evenly.
  21. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  22. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  23. Slide a thin knife around the cake to detach from the pans.
  24. Invert cakes and cool, right side up on the rack. Click here to see how to how to remove cakes from pans.
  25. Spread coconut pecan filling between the layers and on top, leaving the sides bare. Nut allergy? Substitute 1 recipe coconut filling for the coconut pecan filling.
  26. Spread chocolate buttercream frosting around the sides of the cake.
  27. Serve.


Refrigerate unused portions.

If you want to experience the decadent flavors of a German chocolate cake without have to make a cake, try my recipe for German chocolate brownies.

Categorized in

Recipe from Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. New York: Scribner (1997).