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in the kitchen with: kayla’s german chocolate cake

by Kristina Gill

Today’s recipe for a German Chocolate Cake is by food blogger Kayla. I couldn’t resist posting a special-occasion cake in honor of today’s royal wedding. Though I have absolutely no sentiment for royal weddings, I gave in to my kitsch-y side and picked up a couple “royal wedding” souvenirs a few weeks ago at Liberty in London and knew they’d be perfect for today’s post. I remember Charles and Diana’s wedding when I was a little girl. It was the first I had ever seen, and to this day, all I can remember is her loooooooooooooooooooong train that was longer than the wedding itself. Like Diana’s train, there are lots of ingredients, steps and details in today’s cake; however, it is a great satisfaction to see it on a cake plate and then served. I hope you will find the perfect occasion, like today, to pull out all the stops and try this cake! — Kristina

About Kayla: Kayla, author of the blog So You Think You Can Cook, is a teenage foodie livin’ the life in Washington, DC. She loves going to all the fun restaurants DC has to offer, visiting fresh-food markets and getting in the kitchen to make food. She calls herself a great cook and an amazing baker (she upped her baking status with this German Chocolate Cake). In her free time, she reads tons of food blogs.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

German Chocolate Cake
Serves 10–12

For the Cake:


  • one 5-oz. bar German Baker’s sweet chocolate
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup whole milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the Coconut-Pecan Frosting:


  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup coconut (not toasted)
  • one 6-oz. package pecans (about 1 cup), finely chopped and toasted
  • one 12-oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 stick butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 3 egg yolks
  • about 3 tbsp all-purpose flour

For the Garnish:

  • 1 cup toasted coconut

For the Chocolate Glaze (Optional):

  • 8 oz Baker’s sweet chocolate
  • 1 tsp shortening
  • 2 tbsp water


For the Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat three 9″ cake pans with a nonstick spray, and place a round of parchment paper in the bottom.

2. Break the chocolate into 1″ pieces and place in the top part of a double boiler. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and heat over 1″ of simmering water for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Set aside. (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a bowl that fits tightly on top of your pan.)

3. In a bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside

4. In the bowl of a mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Slowly add chocolate to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Beat on low for 2 minutes, then add the vanilla extract. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

6. Add egg yolks, one at a time, ensuring that each is incorporated before adding the next.

7. Add the flour/cocoa mixture alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour, ensuring that the flour is completely absorbed.

8. Fold in the cooled melted chocolate.

9. In a clean bowl and using the balloon whisk, whip the egg whites, slowly adding 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whip until soft peaks form. Fold this into the batter, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.

10. Pour a third of the batter in each pan. You can place each pan on the scale and weigh it to ensure you have equally distributed the batter, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before placing on a rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

1. Whisk the brown sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolks and evaporated milk. Place over a double boiler and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, whisking continuously. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from the heat.

2. Stir in the butter one piece at a time until it is fully incorporated. Add coconut and pecans.

3. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then whisk in 3 tablespoons flour (you may need more or less, so add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time). Place in the refrigerator for another 5 minutes.

To Assemble The Cake:

Get out a nice plate. Place the bottom layer of the cake on the plate. Spread about 3/4 cup frosting on the layer. Repeat for each layer.

Optional Chocolate Glaze:

Melt 8 oz. Baker’s sweet chocolate with 1 tsp shortening. Let cool. Brush over cake.

To garnish, sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Bon appetit!

Photography by Kristina Gill. Cake stand by Sophie Conran; blue striped napkin by Axlings; wedding plates by Liberty of London

Why Kayla Chose This Recipe
I love this German Chocolate Cake because it is my original cake recipe. Yep, no mix, and I created it. Every bite has an inviting, warm, chocolate, pecan and coconut taste. Mmmmm. I’m drooling just thinking about it!

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  • Wow, Kayla, that is a complex, impressive recipe! I would love to try it. I especially like the “Get out a nice plate” instruction.

  • I’ve never made german chocolate cake, but it’s my husband’s favorite. Maybe I’ll try this recipe for his birthday… It sure does look yummy! <3

  • my husbands favorite cake is German chocolate so I try to get up the energy to make a scratch cake for his birthday.. this year I will actually look forward to trying this one Kayla..knowing who created something makes it a lot more fun. (can you tell I do not share your love of baking?)

  • Hi everyone! Thanks so much for the amazing feedback:) It may seem hard, but it just takes a lot of patience. I hope you all get a chance to try it! Your family will be suppeer impressed!

  • Great job Kay, looks delicious! If only I had the patience to bake cakes and other pastries like my dear cousin…I am staring off into the distance now at the possibilities. I will be trying your creation in the near future. Thks!

  • I have a HUGE weakness for German chocolate… it looks so good! The pictures are so compelling – I want a piece! Yum, yum, yum.

  • I can’t wait to try your German Chocolate cake-it looks yummy, as are the other recipes I have tried from your blog. Keep on baking….I got up at 315am today and baked up a batch of scones in honor of the royal wedding!!!!

  • WOW, SUPER COOL CAKE Kayla! How impressive. I love that you enjoy baking and have created this beauty. I tlooks delicious. Oh and, I have to add that you are beautiful too.

  • I love German chocolate cake & I like how this is is a more unusual take on the recipes you normally see. It looks delicious!

  • We love german chocolate cake here and i have been waiting for a great recipe like this to come along! Yay for teen bakers and teen foodies! You rock. You and the cake are quite pretty!

  • I hate to be the one to break it to you: this is NOT a German chocolate cake. As a German baker, I should know. No doubt that it’s delicicious anyway.

  • to Greetings from Bavaria / everyone: no, it’s not German in the sense that its origin is Germany – it’s that the chocolate with which it’s made is (as indicated in the recipe) German Baker’s. This site shows the origin of the name: http://www.joyofbaking.com/GermanChocolate.html

    A rose is a rose, and not meant to offend those with national pride.

  • This looks delicious and what is even more impressive is that a teenager is featured on D*S. That’s HUGE!!! Congrats Kayla and as always Kristina your food photography is stunning!

  • Hi Greetings from Bavaria,

    As an avid home baker, I’m always curious to learn about new cakes from different places, so I read your enthusiastic defense of German chocolate cakes with intrigue. Lauren has documented, this is indeed “German Chocolate Cake”, though the German is not in reference to Germany. We will work on bringing. Our readers a chocolate cake from Germany!

    In the meantime, here is another link to the presumed origins of the name of this cake http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/09/german-chocolat-1/


  • Some more greetings from Rhineland-Palatinate
    For me it’s a (culinary) honour to see the word “German” in the name of such a delicious looking cake, even if it only refers to the chocolate used ;D
    People shouldn’t be too serious, we are talking about cake after all and everyone loves cake.

  • My goodness, this looks glorious! German Chocolate Cake was my favourite flavour at Baskin Robbins years ago, but they don’t make it anymore :( Well Done Kayla! x

  • Looks delicious,I really want to try this now to know it’s taste and I’m sure I will be delighted.Cakes is my all time favorite in dessert that’s why I’m always exploring for new taste to check on.