German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake - Whānau Bake Off

German Chocolate Cake:

  • 4 ounces (115 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups (270 grams) cake flour / cornflour
  • 3/4 cup (70 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) lukewarm water with a teaspoon of coffee
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups (280 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Coconut Pecan Frosting with cherries:

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) evaporated milk (can also use light or heavy cream) 
  • 3 large (60 grams) egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sweetened or unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of glazed cherries (red)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from oven, cool, and then chop fairly fine. Place aside for the icing.
  2. In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. With an electric mixer beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate and beat until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another small bowl, combine the coffee and buttermilk. Add both bowls to the chocolate mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until the ingredients are mixed together.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. (I like to rotate the pans about halfway through baking to ensure even baking.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. To prevent the cakes from sticking, butter or lightly spray a wire rack before inverting the cakes onto the rack. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.

Coconut Pecan Frosting: 

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, and when the mixture begins to boil and thicken, remove from heat (5 minutes).
  3. Stir in the chopped pecans, coconut, and vanilla extract. Let it cool for 30-60 minutes until it’s spreadable.

To Assemble: Place one layer of cake (top facing down), on your serving plate, and cover with one third of the frosting. Place the second layer of cake, onto the first cake layer and frost with another one-third of the frosting. Then add the third cake layer and frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting (sides of cake are left bare). The finished cake can be stored at room temperature or refrigerated for 2-3 days.

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