Mom’s German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake could very well be renamed “Dad’s Birthday Cake” in our family. Mom has made this triple layered goodness most every March, for as long as I can remember. It’s what Dad loves. It’s what Dad gets!

This was my first time creating Dad’s signature cake, however. And my premier with a triple layer cake, too. I didn’t have enough round pans, and needed to run out for a third one. But I knew it would be an investment. An acquired asset for our future’s eating pleasure.

Dad’s birthday, 1975

When Mom assembles her German Chocolate Cake, she leaves the sides unadorned of the coconut-pecan frosting. You can see all three layers of sweet chocolate cake, each crowned with that sinfully wonderful frosting, just like what’s shown in the above photo from 1975.

I took the liberty of changing up Mom’s usual look just a bit, by frosting the whole perimeter. I kinda smooshed the frosting on real tight, which made for a more modern looking cake. And it pleased both Dad and Mom just fine. We licked the cake platter clean!

I love you dearly, Dad.
Happy Birthday!

Mom’s German Chocolate Cake
(print recipe)

for the cake:
4 oz. Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate
1/2 c. water
4 eggs, separated
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°. Cover bottoms of three 9″ round cake pans with wax paper and grease the sides of the pan. Set aside.

Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

Add egg whites and stir gently until well blended. Pour evenly into prepared pans.

Bake 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small spatula around cakes in pans. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

for the coconut-pecan frosting:
4 egg yolks
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c.  sugar
3/4 c. butter or margarine
1 7-oz. pkg. flake coconut (about 2-2/3 cups)
1-1/2 c. chopped pecans

Beat egg yolks, evaporated milk and vanilla in large saucepan with wire whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter and cook on medium heat 12 minutes, or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add coconut and pecans. Mix well. Cool to room temperature and of desired spreading consistency.

to assemble the cake:
Place first cake layer on your serving platter. Spread with a thin layer of frosting. Repeat with remaining 2 layers of cake. Then frost the sides. You will need to be conservative to cover all of this area. Alternatively, you can eliminate the frosting on the sides, and only frost the layers and top, as in the photo from my dad’s birthday in 1975, above.

Source:  adapted slightly from the recipe on the Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate wrapping, the only German Chocolate Cake recipe my mom has ever made!

I’m linking up with:

Rachel at A Southern Fairytale for Mouthwatering Mondays”
Robyn at Add a Pinch for “Mingle Monday”


63 Responses to “Mom’s German Chocolate Cake”

  1. #
    Katie @ This Chick Cooks — March 14, 2011 at 6:58 am

    This German Chocolate Cake looks delectable. My family always loved German Chocolate and yours sounds wonderful. I love your photos.

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:20 am

      Thank you so much, Katie – it’s great to hear from you!

  2. #
    Amanda — March 14, 2011 at 7:01 am

    GORGEOUS pictures… I love that shot from 1975!! Will have to try this recipe soon!

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:21 am

      Thanks much, Amanda. I look forward to your version!!

  3. #
    Candiss — March 14, 2011 at 7:36 am

    My mom ALWAYS makes German chocolate cake for my dad’s birthday too! Yours looks lovely!

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Well, that’s so fun to know! Thanks, Candiss.

  4. #
    Cookbook Queen — March 14, 2011 at 7:41 am

    This is one of my all time favorite cakes!!

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:32 am

      Hello Kristan!

  5. #
    TidyMom — March 14, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Brenda this sounds delicious!! I might have to make it for my mom. Your pictures are beautiful too!!

    You might want to try MY mom’s favorite…….Gooey Upside down German Chocolate Cake

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:37 am

      Thank you, Cheryl! Well, our moms have great German Chocolate taste! Your mom’s version looks great!

  6. #
    Ria Mathew — March 14, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Oooh! That is one pretty looking cake, Brenda!

    Happy Birthday to your Daddy dearest!

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:38 am

      Thank you, dear Ria!

  7. #
    Laura Hahn — March 14, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Yum!!! Looks super! Happy Birthday to your Dad!

    Laura Hahn

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:38 am

      Hello Laura! I’ll be sure to pass along your birthday greetings!!

  8. #
    Mom — March 14, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Dad saw your post this morning before I did. You made his day! Great pics too.

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:39 am

      Thanks, Mom! xoxo

  9. #
    Wenderly — March 14, 2011 at 8:52 am

    That looks so divine and I don’t even like coconut! :)

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Thank you, Wendy. :)

  10. #
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies — March 14, 2011 at 9:14 am

    This looks absolutely divine! My dad loves German Chocolate cake too.

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Thanks, Amber. Our dads have good taste. :)

  11. #
    naomi — March 14, 2011 at 10:24 am

    BEAUTIFUL cake. I love German Chocolate, so I can’t wait to try this! I’m loving that picture you share. What a great captured moment.

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Thank you so much, Naomi.

  12. #
    Paula — March 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Happy Birthday to your Dad. I’m betting that you are going to be delegated to make his birthday cake every year from now on!

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Hi Paula! Somehow, it still tastes best when Mom makes it!!! Why is that always the way it is?

  13. #
    Linda Nerison Gardner — March 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    What a perfectly lovely cake!! My birthday is in March, also, and I plan to try your Mom’s recipe. BTW, I remember you as you appeared in the photo with your Dad!! I so enjoy your recipes and writing!

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:48 am

      Wow – GREAT to hear from you, Linda! I remember you, too. Thank you so much!

  14. #
    Tracy — March 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    What a great cake! It sounds divine.

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:48 am

      Thank you, Tracy!

  15. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — March 14, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I like the way you’ve modernized it by making it all smooth, looks very sleek and elegant!

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Thanks, Sylvie. My intentions didn’t start out that way, but I liked where it was going, and just went with it. Was fun!

  16. #
    Robyn | Add a Pinch — March 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Brenda – I love this post!!! Such sweet connections and memories come with food. Happy birthday to your Dad!

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Thank you so much, Robyn. xoxo

  17. #
    Christina @ This Woman Cooks! — March 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    This cake looks amazing! I love your blog and wanted to pass along the Stylish Blog Award to you-

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Thank you, Christina!

  18. #
    Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls — March 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Oh… that is heavenly!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

    • farmgirl replied on March 15th, 2011 at 8:57 am

      Thank you, Mary!!

  19. #
    Diane Mc Donald — March 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. My mother passed away when I was 23, and I never got her German Cake Recipe. She made it alot when I was growing up. I am so happy to have it. Thanks again. Diane

    • farmgirl replied on March 16th, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Hello Diane – so nice to hear from you. I do hope you give this a try – I’m sure your mother will be smiling down on you. :)

  20. #
    anabela martins — March 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Wonderful Cake!! Congrats :)))

    • farmgirl replied on March 16th, 2011 at 8:42 am

      Thank you, Anabela – nice to hear from you!

  21. #
    cheryl — March 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Are you bringing the cake this weekend? YUMMY!

    • farmgirl replied on March 16th, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Actually…I intentionally made this a few weeks ago, when Dad & Mom were visiting, so we could share it. Mom said she was going to try a new cake for Dad’s birthday this weekend, since he got his German Chocolate in his birthday month. :)

  22. #
    Christina — March 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    So much yummy stuff, cakes from scratch are the best!! Would like to invite you to link up any & all of your delightful creations to The Homespun Bake Shop @ The Tattered Tag. It’s a great new place to share & find delicious inspiration.

    • farmgirl replied on March 19th, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Thank you, Christina. I will check out your site.

  23. #
    Harriet — March 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    On the outside it reminds me of a bird cake – you know the type with seeds mixed with lard? But no offence meant there, the inside of the cake looks yummy! And 3 layers looks great! Maybe I should invest in a third cake tin though so I can make one!

    • farmgirl replied on March 19th, 2011 at 7:07 am

      I’ve never heard of a bird cake, Harriet. !! This cake is definitely worth the 3rd cake pan!

  24. #
    Katie @ This Chick Cooks — March 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Hey! I wanted to let you know that I’m featuring your recipe today. Thanks so much for sharing it. I’d love for you to stop by if you get a chance.


    • farmgirl replied on March 19th, 2011 at 7:10 am

      I just paid you a visit, Katie – thanks for featuring my cake!

  25. #
    marla — March 18, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Truly I don’t think I would be able to stop myself if I got my hands on your dads b’day cake. It looks amazing!!

    • farmgirl replied on March 19th, 2011 at 7:11 am

      Hi Marla – so nice to hear from you! Thanks!

  26. #
    Rae Grant — March 18, 2011 at 10:06 am

    this was always my favorite bday cake but I’m sure it came in a box..but maybe not-I’ll try this again! thanks

    • farmgirl replied on March 19th, 2011 at 7:13 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Rae!

  27. #
    Autumn Star — May 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I just wanted to say that this was absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe. I discovered your blog a few months ago and I have gained a lot of love for it. Thanks for blogging! :)

  28. #
    Maria — December 22, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I just made this cake using the recipe found on the back of
    the Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate box and they’re the same
    but it seems as if you toasted your coconut slighty.

  29. #
    Robin — December 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Yum! My favorite cake ever, and I make it exactly like this, only I toast the pecans and the coconut before making the frosting. Amazing! I just found your blog this morning and I love it! :-)

  30. #
    Sarita — January 28, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Delicious recipe, thank you!! The BF wanted a german chocolate rum cake for his birthday, so I poked some holes in the baked layers with a fork and drizzled on some rum… kept it nice and moist. :)

  31. #
    Patty — March 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    OH…this looks SO good! Will be making this soon. Thanks for the recipe…


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