German Chocolate Cake - The Southern Lady Cooks

German Chocolate cake is one of my favorite cakes.  The frosting makes the cake.  This is a great cake to serve to guests and family will love it, too. The original recipe came from an early seventies Progressive Farmer Southern Country Cookbook. I have made a few changes over the years.   I used to make this cake when my children were young and we lived on the farm. It has always been a favorite.  You might also like our recipe for old-fashioned brown sugar pie.

German chocolate cake simple ingredients:

4 ounces or 1/4 pound package German’s Sweet Chocolate

White Granulated Sugar



All-Purpose Flour


Baking soda


Vanilla extract

The German Chocolate can be found in most grocery stores in the baking section. It is usually a 4 ounce bar. Also if you do not have buttermilk you can easily make this simple substitution. I know some people don’t like to buy a container of buttermilk so this is great to use!

Now for the delicious frosting you will need:

White Granulated Sugar

Evaporated milk




Pecans, chopped (can use walnuts, too)

Vanilla extract

As you can see the frosting and the cake both take eggs, which someone asked if that included the egg whites. Yes.. you use the entire egg, I would specify if it was different.

I recently remade this cake so we could update the photos and it is wonderful! My entire family agrees this cake is a definite keeper.

Full printable recipe in recipe card below. 

German Chocolate Cake - The Southern Lady Cooks


German Chocolate Cake - The Southern Lady Cooks

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German Chocolate Cake

Judy Yeager
Easy cake your family will love.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Frosting 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American, German
Servings 8 servings


  • 4 ounces or 1/4 pound package German’s sweet chocolate You can get this at most groceries in the baking section. It is a 4 ounce bar like a candy bar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coconut Pecan Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or 8 tablespoons
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups coconut
  • 1 cup pecans chopped (can use walnuts, too)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Melt chocolate and water on top of the stove in a pot and cool. Cream butter, sugar and eggs; beat well. Add cooled chocolate and water, flour, salt, soda, buttermilk and vanilla extract mixing well with mixer.
  • Spray three 9 inch cake pans. Divide the batter between the 3 pans (comes out to about 2 cups per cake pan). Bake layers in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes and remove from pans. Frost with Pecan Frosting.

Coconut Pecan Frosting Directions

  • Beat eggs and add to milk, sugar and butter. Cook on medium heat about 12 minutes until bubbles and begins to thicken. Stir constantly because it will burn easily.
  • Remove and add nuts, coconut and vanilla extract. Mix well and let cool. Spread on tops of cake layers.


You can double this frosting if you like a lot.
Keyword German Chocolate Cake
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