German Chocolate Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:


    or More Servings.

Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

German chocolate cake became a staple in many Mississippi homes during my childhood. The recipe used by my mother was clipped from a newspaper and pasted in the manuscript cookbook she compiled for me many years ago. It is an excellent cake, the layers coated on top with a coconut-pecan frosting.


The Cake

  • ½ pound sweet chocolate
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ pound butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt, if desired
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

The Frosting

  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ pound butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups canned flaked, sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the chocolate and boiling water in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts. Let cool.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and the chocolate mixture, beating to blend.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add these ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beating after each addition until the batter is smooth. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
  • Line the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans with parchment or buttered wax paper and pour equal amounts of the batter inside each. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Let stand until cool. Unmold.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Combine the half-and-half, sugar, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla extract in a saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat, 12 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Add the coconut and pecans and beat thoroughly until cool and of a spreadable consistency. Cover the top of each layer with the frosting and stack the layers. Do not coat the sides.