German Chocolate Layer Cake

German Chocolate Layer Cake

Wow, I have to say this cake took over my entire day and then some. But here's a noob cake baker at work. I only have one cake tin and this requires a minimum of two layers. Bakers will know this already takes time but I had to bake my layers in batches.

This is however, my first ever cake - baked to order. Somehow, my partner's firm got wind that I am a home cook and therefore I must be a baker. After much loling, I decided to take up the challenge to bake the German Chocolate Layer Cake.

This is a really sweet cake I wouldn't normally choose to make. Yet, it was a rewarding journey. There's a lot of waiting between bakes, kinda like waiting to shoot a scene from a movie. Once the cake bakes, you have to wait for it to cool. Then you need to cut the top to make it level so that you can layer them. Frosting, once cooked, also needs to cool down. And then there's the tempering of chocolate which is one more step I added to tie the entire cake together. My partner says the end result looks very much like a home baked cake. I reckon it looks like some nice old granny made it to bring to afternoon tea with her friends she made at backgammon club. LOL.

OK, this cake takes a lot of patience but it is pretty epic. Especially when you serve it cold from the fridge. Use this recipe that I based my cake on in it's entirety or you can use the one I ad-libbed below.

Time you will need - approximately 4hrs including, prep, baking, waiting for cake and frosting to cool and final assembly.

Ingredients you will need

Cake Ingredients

(dry ingredients)

  • 2 cups Sugar

  • 2 cups All Purpose-Flour (Unbleached)

  • ¾ cup Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)

  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder

  • 1½ teaspoons Bicarbonate Soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

(wet ingredients)

  • 1 cup milk

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil*

  • ¼ cup virgin cold pressed coconut oil*

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 cup boiling water

*You can use any oil except olive oil. It's up to you how much coconut oil you want to use. I recommend coconut oil cos it adds a nice fragrance to the cake.

Note: I used a 9 inch cake tin (with removable base) for this recipe. I had to bake in 2 batches (took me 2 hours!). But if you have 2 cake tins, it should be a shorter baking time.


To bake the cake

  1. Start by Pre-Heating Oven to 350ºF / 180ºC.

  2. Combine all dry ingredients into a mixer bowl and mix well.

  3. Add rest of wet ingredients (except boiling water) and mix on medium speed in stand mixer until cake batter looks consistent.

  4. Switch stand mixer to low speed and pour in boiling water slowly, a little at a time till it is all combined.

  5. Switch speed to high and mix for 1 minute. Cake batter is ready for baking.

  6. Grease cake tins with butter or cooking spray and fill up to half way mark (as cake will rise).

  7. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes.

  8. Note: Mine took 60 mins to fully bake in a 9 inch cake tin. It just depends on your oven. To check that your cake is all baked through - insert a toothpick or skewer into center of cake to see if it comes out clean with no gooey cake batter. If it comes out with wet cake batter, keep baking in intervals of 5-10 mins and checking with the same method till cake is baked.

Coconut Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar

  • 3 egg yolks, beaten with 1 teaspoon water

  • ½ cup butter or margarine (that's 125ml or 115g or 4oz)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • 1 cup dessicated/shredded dry unsweetened coconut

  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

  1. While you wait for the cake to bake, combine the above ingredients (except pecans and coconut) into a large pot or pan over a low-medium heat until it achieves a light bubbly simmer.

  2. Keep stirring for about 10 - 15 mins while reducing the heat.

  3. Remove from heat, add in pecans and coconut and stir through.

  4. Set aside to let it cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.

Once the cake and coconut frosting cools to a room temperature, you can start assembling the cake. Takes about an hour or so to fully cool down.

Assembling the cake

  1. Cut off the top of one of the cake so that it is flat. This is the bottom base layer of the cake.

  2. Spread coconut frosting all over the top of this layer. It should be about ½ cm thick or however you like it.

  3. Place the second cake over the coconut frosting later and top with more coconut frosting on the top of the second cake.

  4. Get the chocolate frosting ready (below) and dress the cake however you like with a cake spatula or piping bag.

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz or 227g) of semi-sweet chocolate buttons**

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

**you may choose to use half portion dark chocolate if you like.

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, add half of the chocolate portions and heat on high for intervals of 30 seconds.

  2. Stop at each 30 second interval to check if the chocolate has softened.

  3. It should be slightly soft by the second or third time. Do not over heat the chocolate as it will split and won't be useable.

  4. Whisk the softened chocolate and add the rest of the chocolate into the heated chocolate and keep whisking till every last chunk is melted and smooth.

  5. Add oil and keep stirring till smooth and combined.

  6. Chocolate is ready for frosting after 2 - 3 mins.

If you like your chocolate to be a soft icing ganache-like texture, use the variation below. The one I used above will cool to a firm and hard chocolate. If you use the variation below, you will need to allow time for it to cool before you can use it.


Variation of Chocolate Frosting - an icing version (soft ganache-like)

  1. Omit the vegetable oil.

  2. Add double cream/heavy cream to saucepan over a stove to heat up till it almost boils.

  3. Add chocolate and wait for a min or so, then stir until smooth and combined. Let icing cool before frosting.

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