German Chocolate Cake

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German Chocolate Cake

My dad just had a birthday, so I made his favorite: German chocolate cake. And like the dutiful daughter I am, I didn’t work crazy hard on it because my dad told me not to. My parents are always telling me to take it easier.

While I was baking this cake, I realized that I don’t talk about my dad much on this blog, which is odd. My parents are a huge part of my life. We live close to one another, so I see them almost daily. And my dad explains a lot about who I am.

German Chocolate Cake

For one thing, he taught English for 40 some-odd years. I learned to love reading from him. Every Saturday, he’d read aloud to me for about an hour, even when I was a teenager. I’ll never forget that one of my favorite books, Pride and Prejudice, was first introduced to me with my father’s voice.

German Chocolate Cake

Also, my dad has been an instrumental part of my kids’ lives. When my oldest was born, my parents took care of him full-time so that he wouldn’t have to be in daycare while I went to work. They took care of my other two children part-time and they still pick all three up from school every day so that I can stay at work and go to meetings. My father is gentle and loving with my children, and I strongly suspect he thinks they’re even more fun than I was at that age. But as their doting mother, I’m not jealous!

German Chocolate Cake

So the least my dad deserves on his birthday is his favorite cake. I didn’t even know he liked German chocolate until relatively recently, because he never told me. And then one day it just came out in the course of casual conversation. That makes sense, because my father is pretty selfless. He wouldn’t run around asking people to make specific cakes for him. I would. But I’m a picky girl.

The cake base isn’t strictly German chocolate, so sorry. I stuck with the classic Hershey cocoa recipe, which I think makes an amazing cake. It’s easy as well, using just one bowl and no butter. My mom, who protects my dad’s cholesterol, would approve.

German Chocolate Cake

I can’t say that the frosting is butter-free, though. Sorry! It’s easy, though. You make it on the stovetop and let it thicken. It’s pretty much foolproof. How many frostings come that easy?

Happy birthday, Daddy. I love you. And I hope the rest of you love this cake. It’s as basic and easy as they come!


German Chocolate Cake


2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line three 9-inch round pans with parchment paper (cut to fit the bottom) and coat liberally with baking or pan release spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, oil and milk, stirring until smooth. Fold in the boiling water. The batter will be thin.
  3. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool.
  4. While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Melt the butter with the condensed milk and egg yolks, stirring constantly. When the mixture bubbles and begins to thicken, remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla, coconut and pecans.
  5. Allow the frosting to thicken, about 15 minutes. When the frosting is thickened and cool, assemble the cake as shown. Place one layer on the cake plate and spread frosting over the top. Repeat that process twice more.
  6. Cut into slices and serve.


I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Medha @ Whisk and Shout

    your dad sounds amazing! Love the cake as well! I have a vegan German chocolate cake on my blog that also just uses normal chocolate not German and it’s awesome, so I feel you. Also your dad and I are birthday twins! It’s mine today 🙂 so happy birthday to your dad from another spring baby!
    Medha @ Whisk and Shout recently posted…{Vegan + GF} No-Bake Almond Joy Tart!My Profile

    1. Mir

      Happy birthday, Medha!! That’s so exciting. I hope you have some fun plans that involve someone else providing your birthday dessert!

  2. Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen

    This cake looks so delicious and inviting!
    Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen recently posted…Besan Gatte Ki Sabzi – Gatta CurryMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Anu! I find all cake inviting!

  3. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg

    Mir – How sweet of you to make a cake for your father’s birthday! My dad also loves German Chocolate Cake and usually requests it on his big day. I don’t have children yet, but I hope that when I do that my dad will love them and be an awesome granddad. Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I visited Vermont and picked up a growler of a Chocolate Coconut Vanilla Bean Porter from Fiddlehead Brewery. I think this would pair perfectly with the beer. 😀
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg recently posted…Cinnamon Raisin GranolaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I would LOVE to try that beer. Talk about a great pairing! Maybe dads just like German chocolate cake? It might be a guy thing! But then, I kind of like it too.

  4. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    I’m sure your dad loved this cake, Mir! My dad also loves german chocolate cake, too…so maybe I should make that for him! 🙂 Love the pretty layers in here!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Strawberry and Brie CrostiniMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m sure your dad would be super grateful, Gayle! I like baking for dads. They deserve it!

  5. Sam @ SugarSpunRun

    What a sweet post about your father Mir. And the cake looks delicious!
    Sam @ SugarSpunRun recently posted…Cookie Dough Filled Sandwich CookiesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Sam! I definitely owe him a cake every year (at least)!

  6. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Mir, happy birthday to your father!!!! I LOVE that he read aloud to you every Saturday, even when you were a teenager. That is so awesome! Who still does that?!! I love this so much. . thanks for sharing and I’m sure this cake was amazing. . it looks delicious!!! ah and to live in the same city with my parents again. . that would be a dream. . I’m glad you appreciate it and don’t take it for granted!!!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Summer Pinterest Party + Lots of Giveaways!!My Profile

    1. Mir

      It was pretty cool, Alice. There I was, 18 and almost out of the house, and we were still reading together. It was something I’ll always treasure. And now I love listening him read to my kids! We’re super grateful.

  7. Manali @ CookWithManali

    Happy Birthday to your dad Mir! I’m sure you made his day by baking this gorgeous cake! It’s so pretty!
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Roasted Beetroot RaitaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Manali! Layers are fun. Especially in cakes!

  8. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    oh my gosh! they ooey gooey-ness of that filling in that cake!!! mouthwatering!
    Michele @ Two Raspberries recently posted…Healthy Pear Almond SaladMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Michele!

  9. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    It’s so nice that you have them close by! Mine are 2 hours away, but I’ll take that since when Jordan was a baby they were 11 hours, so this is better. My dad would love this cake – it’s one of his favorites!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookie PieMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Two hours is pretty great, Dorothy. And with that distance, your mom probably doesn’t shop in your closet. Mine likes my clothes…and dads like German chocolate cake!

  10. Mary Frances

    I absolutely love that he read pride and prejudice to you. That is so cool.
    And you rocked this cake. German chocolate is one of the few ways I will stoop to cake – gorgeous layers!
    Mary Frances recently posted…{Crockpot} Paleo Sweet Potato SoupMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Stooping to cake? Come ON, Mary Frances! You’d better eat more cake than that! I feel very strongly about this. 🙂

  11. Wendy

    This post is a lovely tribute to your dad! How lucky you and your children are to have your parents so close and such an important part of your lives!! My parents lived 700 miles from us as my kids were growing up. We traveled to them 3 times a year and they came to us 3 times a year. Enough for loving bonding, but close by and everyday would have been wonderful! Your dad must have LOVED this cake! German Chocolate cake always looks so good to me, but I have a nut allergy so I can’t have it. Looking at your recipe though, I think I could do this and just leave the pecans off the frosting! Not traditional, but still delicious! 🙂
    Wendy recently posted…Black Bottom White-Chocolate BarsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      You can totally leave the pecans off, Wendy. Then it’s allergen-free!
      700 miles is really hard. I’m sorry there was so much distance. We definitely know how lucky we are, and how unusual it is to have this close proximity. It’s a real gift. Thanks so much!

  12. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    Happy birthday to your Dad! That is one incredible looking cake. I would be very happy with that 🙂
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Pesto Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Sandwich by LaylaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Dannii! I hope it made him happy. A girl’s gotta try!

  13. Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat.

    I’ve actually never had German chocolate cake, but it looks amazing so I think that needs to change!
    Stacey @ Bake.Eat.Repeat. recently posted…Whole Wheat Pita BreadMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Whoa, Stacey. That’s just a problem that needs to be fixed ASAP! 🙂

  14. Harriet Emily

    Happy birthday to your Dad! What a beautiful cake you made to celebrate!! I’ve always wanted to try a german chocolate cake, as they sound soooooo delicious! This recipe sounds absolutely perfect, so I’ll definitely be making it now so I can try it! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
    Harriet Emily recently posted…PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE MELTSMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks so much, Harriet Emily! It’s not hard to make, so you should try it!

  15. Jean

    his offspring and they, in turn got to have the best gradndad in the whole world. a0You can meet him here. 0 Comments Leave a comment! Previous

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