German Chocolate Cake

The worst thing about becoming older is that the people around you are also becoming older, which means everyone’s life is going in a totally different direction. Those who you love are probably moving to a new place, beginning a new journey — and so you no longer hold same space in that person’s life. It’s not that they want to push you away, but geography and time and responsibilities naturally makes that happen.

My brother officially moved away this week. We’ve grown up together. We lived together for three years of my college experience — and now his time in Texas has come to a close (at least for now). He’s starting a new journey. One that makes me so proud and excited, but at the same time, shallow and somber. My best friend is leaving me — and I can’t deny the sadness.

For his farewell dinner, I baked him a German chocolate cake. Growing up, he always loved eating those grocery store German chocolate cakes. They were covered in this caramel coconut layer under a moist chocolate cake. Delightful.

I wish I could share another slice with him in person, but I understand that this is life. Soon, I’ll also be traversing my professional path independently — and then other parts of my life will fall into place.

For now, I’ll just eat this leftover cake and annoy him via text — thankfully, we have technology to communicate (and the same time zone).

German Chocolate Cake

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print



  • 1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1-3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hot coffee (or water)

Coconut Filling

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  •  3 large egg yolks
  • 1 can (8 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line and grease two 9 inch cake pans and three 8 inch cake pans (parchment paper and cooking spray)
  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix oil, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients (pour the dry into the wet). Add the hot coffee until the chocolate cake mixture is combined.
  5. Divide the cake batter into the pans and bake for 18 to 21 minutes or until the center comes out clean when a toothpick is inserted.
  6. Once the cake are out of the oven, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack in the pan.
  7. While the cake is cooling make the coconut mixture. Begin by combing the brown sugar, butter, eggs yolks, and evaporated milk over medium heat in a sauce pan. Once the mixture comes to a boil, whisk vigorously for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  8. Stir in pecans, shredded coconut, and vanilla to the brown sugar mixture. Allow this coconut mixture to cool completely before you begin assembling the cake (about 2 hours).
  9. Prepare the chocolate buttercream.
  10. Assemble the cake by setting one layer on a cake stand, spread 3/4 coconut mixture, put another layer of cake on top, frost the entire cake with the chocolate butter cream, and then pour the coconut mixture in the center of the cake (look at the images above for reference of the final product).


  • Here’s the original recipe; it contains great information and beautiful images.
  • I always bake with room temperature ingredients because this ensures everything mixes evenly.
  • You can change the amount of frosting you want by making this a naked cake.
  • Store leftover cake in the fridge for 4 days.

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