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German Chocolate Cake

german chocolate cake

When I recently posted my Accidental Mocha Mousse recipe, Samantha requested this German Chocolate Cake so that she and her mother would not miss out on it during the holidays. I am more than pleased to add it to this blog, as German Chocolate Cake is a classic.

Although my boys are in a finicky stage lately, boycotting most of the things I make (even dessert!) they eagerly wolfed down this sweet, rich chocolaty cake.

German Chocolate Cake


  1. In a small bowl combine flour, cacao, salt and baking soda
  2. In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, blend eggs, oil, agave and vanilla
  3. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
  4. Oil (2) 9-inch round cake pans and dust with coconut flour
  5. Pour batter into pans and bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes
  6. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then remove from pans
  7. Frost and serve

Coconut Pecan Frosting

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, agave and salt, simmer for 10 minutes
  2. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to form a smooth paste
  3. Pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan
  4. Mix contents of saucepan with a hand blender and bring to a boil, briefly
  5. Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil
  6. Place pot in freezer for 30-40 minutes, until frosting solidifies and turns white
  7. Remove from freezer and blend again, until fluffy, then stir in shredded coconut and pecans
  8. Spread frosting over cake and serve

Serves 12


Update: Please see my new Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake!

posted on December 26, 2008, 60 comments

  1. Marissa

    Elana, you are an ANGEL. My family has a tradition of eating German Chocolate Cake for Birthday’s as my aunt has made it into a family recipe…I thought I would have to suffer without (as I try to be as healthy as I can be). Thank you for this recipe! I cannot wait to try it out!

  2. This sounds delicious. This recipe is a favorite of my Dads. I just posted a German Chocolate Cake on my site the other week. Check it out, and let me know what you think…

  3. my mouth is watering at the thoughts of eating this!
    how yummy!

  4. The cake with all that frosting looks scrumptious, Elana! Just made a Red Velvet cake with coconut flour. It’s kinda crazy that ground defatted coconut makes such a great gf cake. :)

  5. Samantha

    Elana, it’s beautiful and delicious! You really never cease to amaze…Couldn’t be happier, thanks so much :)

  6. Franky

    Just in case anyone’s looking for a rare ingredient, cacao = cocoa. x

  7. This looks amazing. I feel that coconut flour must make a really light cake. Besides that, it´s really cheap. I think I will try it, thanks a lot for the recipe.

  8. Trish

    This looks and sounds wonderful!

  9. jazzygus

    This looks amazing, I have never used coconut flour before so I am excited to add a new staple to my own pantry!
    Thanks Elana!

  10. ooo this will be my next goody to bake! you don’t see any reason why i can’t use carob powder do you? (please say it’s ok! lol)

    also do you have any recipes for making crepes? i have been eager to try them but don’t have any gluten free recipes.

    thank you again, you make being gluten free easy and tasty!

  11. Kris K.


    Are the flour amounts correct? Ten eggs plus 1 cup oil plus 1 cup agave would seem to require a lot more than a little over a cup of flour/cocoa, but the recipe – especially the frosting – looks well worth trying. Thanks!

  12. Kathleen Johnson

    Yum, my daughter is making this right now. I am really getting to like coconut flour. I made pancakes with it last night and they were so tasty and fluffy.

  13. Theresa Watson

    Hi Elena,

    My birthday is January 1st and I am going to make this cake for myself. I am not sure if I am going to share it or just eat it all myself (just kidding — my husband wouldn’t let me get away with not sharing).

    Thanks so much — can’t wait to make it!!

    Happy New Year!

    Theresa Watson
    Merritt Island, Florida (75 degrees and sunny today)

  14. Sarah -Thanks!

    Marissa -I hope your family enjoys this traditional dessert gone gluten free! Feel free to let us know how it all turned out.

    Hayley -Great photos of your German Chocolate Cake! Thanks!

    Debbie -It’s as delicious and moist as it looks. Thanks for your comment :-)

    Lauren B -Yes, coconut flour is the perfect flour for making cakes like this. Your Red Velvet Cake looks amazing.

    VeggieGirl -Thanks!

    Samantha -You’re most welcome. Glad I could oblige :-)

    Franky -Thanks for the information.

    cdecocina -Coconut flour is very cheap especially considering you don’t need to use much –it’s also packed with fiber. If you decide to make it, please feel free to share your results here!

    Trish -Thank you!

    jazzygus -I think coconut flour would make a great addition to your pantry. Thanks for stopping by.

    april -I’m not sure what would happen if you used carob powder. If you decide to experiment, please let us know your results. Sorry, I don’t have any crepe recipes. You might want to see if anyone has any info or suggestions about the carob powder or a gluten free crepe recipe on my forums.

    Kris K. -The flour amount is correct, coconut flour sops up liquids and produces a very moist and light baked good.

    Kathleen -Hope you like it as much as we did.

    Theresa -Happy birthday and New Year! I hope you enjoy the cake.

  15. Kathleen Johnson

    OK, this was divine….no other word to describe it. One of the best cakes I have ever had, gluten free or no. Now we are fighting over who gets the extra pieces. This is a keeper, for sure.

  16. ok, so i made the cake today with carob, it turned out amazing! my mom just left with 3 slices! she even thought it was chocolate! i didn’t alter anything else just the carob, not even the amounts!
    so if you are allergic to chocolate like me, just sub carob and enjoy!
    thank you soo much elana!!!!

  17. This is so wonderful! Lots of eggs, though. Any suggestions for veganizing it?

  18. Kathleen -Thanks!

    april -You’re welcome and so glad to hear your carob substitution worked. Thanks for the report :-)

    Deb -Please see my faq’s regarding this and other frequently asked questions.

  19. Christianne

    A very lovely, healthy and happy 2009 Elana! (and everybody else reading this of course)
    Wow, this cake looks absolutely delish!! This is what your truly call an eyecandy :-)
    Elana, how spectacular of you!
    Right this moment (as a good start of 2009) my kitchen is being renovated. That is, the old one is taken out and new cupboards/equipment/and everything will be brought in and installed this coming week. I’d allready decided what my first meal to be cooked in the new kitchen would be, I sure have found a dessert now too!
    Thank you very much Elana, it is so kind that you share your recipes, thoughts and photo’s with us.
    Have a lovely weekend!

  20. Beth

    I haven’t been on in a while due to traveling for the holidays. What a great recipe to come back to.
    I’m looking forward to trying it this week.

    Happy New Year!

  21. I had never thought of using coconut flour before. What a great idea. I will have to make this one.

    I am so glad I ran across your blog today. Thanks for featuring recipes that are both GF and use agave nectar.

    From one blogger to another – nice work!

  22. Christianne -Happy New Year! So good to hear from you again and I hope that the renovation is a total success. xo

    Beth -Thanks and Happy New Year!

    Ameet -Thanks for stopping by and glad you found us here!

  23. Manisha

    Dear Elana,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I had dessert first tonight. I halved the recipe, yielding one round cake. Also used melted butter instead of GS oil. I love the fact that your GF blog basically uses healthy foods in flour form. I don’t feel good about eating desserts made with tapioca, rice, potato and other starchy, low/no nutrition flours. Yes, you need eggs, lots of them, but if they’re fresh, preferably organic, the final product is not “eggy.” I can’t wait to try more soon. I will leave feedback on recipezaar, too!


  24. Manisha,

    Thanks so much for your feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe!


  25. Beth

    I finally got around to making this last night.
    The cake part turned out and is amazing!
    The icing, however, did not turn out. I must have gone wrong somewhere.
    I ended up making a backup icing with ingredients I had: cream cheese, orange marmalade, and icing sugar. It is ok, but I’m sure the Coconut Pecan Frosting would be better – if only mine had turned out.

    Thanks for another great recipe!

  26. Beth,

    Thanks for your comment and glad you liked the cake.

    The frosting is tricky. Maybe put it in the fridge for 1.5-2 hours instead of the freezer and try it that way.


  27. Annemarie

    Just curious if anyone has made cupcakes using this recipe? I’m making several varieties of cupcakes for my wedding in May, and need at least one of them to be gluten-free for my future mother-in-law. Plus German Chocolate is my fiance and dad’s favorite cake, so this would be perfect.

  28. Caroline

    This cake was fabulous! I made it this weekend for my Mom’s birthday and everyone devoured it. Thank you for such an awesome recipe! I don’t have celiac but have been experimenting with a more paleolithic style of eating which led me to more gluten free options. I absolutely love your recipes.

  29. elana,

    do you have any peanut butter cookie recipes? my husband and i are both really craving these!

    thank you!!!


  30. annemarie -Great question and you may wish to post it in my forums

    Caroline -Thanks!

    april -I will add that to my list of requests.

  31. Lara Robinson @ SaturdayMorningZen.com

    Elana, when I was a kid I LOVED german chocolate cake with the coconut/pecan frosting. I didn’t think I’d ever get to eat it again, being gluten free. This looks like a great recipe, I’m going to make it for my birthday next month!! Thanks for posting it, I can’t wait to indulge!

  32. German chocolate cake is my all time favorite dessert and your recipe sounds the easiest one I ever tried. I'm good at baking specialty cakes and I've my own super hit recipes of frosting and cakes. It's a layered cake and looks awesome, my kids don't like the nutty frosting on top. So I do a caramel coating with the following:
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1/3 cup water
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  33. M.


    Thank you so much for all the recipes, your website has been a Godsend!
    I was wondering though, I don’t have any cocoa powder, could milk chocolate squares be used instead? Also, will honey work in place of agave nectar? Any help you can give would be great.

  34. jennifer moore @ indulgenthealth.com

    do you think you could bake this in a bundt pan? or is it too dense to rise that far?

  35. Rachel

    This is delicious. I made the New German Chocolate Cake for my birthday. My grandpa, who never eats desserts, had a whole slice. He’s in his 90’s, so that’s really impressive!


  36. Jen

    This was freakin amazing. Enough said. The only subs I made was palm sugar for agave, and I didn’t have pecans so I used walnuts…. gasp I know. Still turned out beyond amazing and the next time I need to make a cake I will go all out with the pecans. So delicious!!! And it would have NEVER occurred to me that it was not made with white flour and sugar.

  37. Alyx

    Im making this cake tonight for my birthday (cant wait!) im not serving the cake until tomorrow though, do i need to refridgerate it? Also any tips for the icing, to make sure itll be ok for tomorrow?

  38. julia

    Hi Elena,

    Im planning on baking this cake..but i want to make it sweeter..any suggestions? shall i just some sugar?

    Please let me know,
    Thanks ~ ^^

  39. via

    hi, I am just wondering if it is possible to make this cake with yakon syrup instead of agave? that includes the frosting. thanks

  40. romaine

    I made this last week for my book club meeting. 3 of us are GF and about 10 or more are not. Everyone loved it! This is the first recipe I have tried here and it won’t be the last. I have tried other gf cake mixes and recipes and none were worth eating, both because of texture and taste. I did not make the frosting though since I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand and used a more traditional one instead since GF also.

  41. Crystal

    Elana, you have become my favorite! Before having to go grain/sugar/dairy free four years ago, I had german chocolate cake every year on my birthday. This year, I celebrated my 30th in style…with your german chocolate cake! THANK YOU!!!! I discovered you when searchin Amazon for cookbooks that fit my dietary needs, and I now have your Gluten-free Almond Flour Cookbook and you blog are now my go-to resources EVERY TIME I am planning meals or special events.

  42. Dana

    When I made this, the coconut frosting turned out VERY gummy. Do you have any suggestions for what I might have done wrong? Or is it supposed to be that way? Thanks!

    • Amanda

      I found the same…it was quite fascinating actually! But after you blend it up and spread over the cake you will find that it just melts in your mouth and is delicious! It reminded me of that fake slime we used to have as kids :0D

  43. Diana

    I just made this recipe for my friends birthday today. I made a small one so that I could sample from the same batter. It is delicious! I know my friend is going to love this cake. Thank you Elena for this recipe!

  44. Doris

    Is it possible to omit the agave, or very much reduce it and chiefly sweeten the cake with stevia? I’d imagine it would coule out less moist since syrups and honey retain moisture. Has anyone tried baking much with stevia? Elaina, have you done this or any of your other cakes or cookies with stevia? Or is that impracticle? Thank you

  45. Doris

    Please pardon my mis-spellings and typos. I enthusiastically came across your site and recipe and did not slow down while typing. :)

  46. Vicki Lynn

    Hi, can you substitute coconut crystals or honey for the agavenectar and if so, how much for both the cake and icing? THANK YOU! Looking forward to making this, I just don’t consume agave nectar. :-)

  47. Taylor

    Hi Elana! Just made this cake for a Labor Day get-together on Monday and it was absolutely DELICIOUS! I had no idea ahead of time that german chocolate cake was a favorite among many of the guests at the party and they let me know that this cake was by far the best german chocolate they have ever had! This is the first cake I have made since discovering my dairy allergy three months ago and deciding to go gluten free and refined sugar free as well, and I couldn’t of been happier with the results! I can’t wait to try out more of your recipes!

  48. Celeste

    10 eggs?! Wow! That is a first for me…

  49. Traci

    I made this cake this a couple of weeks ago for my boyfriend’s 56th birthday. I have been gluten-free, dairy-free for 18 years after finding out the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms I was having were due to food allergies (immune response)… since I made the change, it all went away. I learned to do much of my own cooking, often through hit and miss, since there was very little in the stores 18 years ago, and even the recipes at the time were not great… so glad to have sites like yours. Anyway, my boyfriend is a professional chef (specialized in Lebanese and Indian cuisine), and has so far loved my cooking… so we regularly cook for each other, and, since he has a sweet tooth (without liking anything too sugary), I treat him to various goodies, all made so that I can eat them too… He often shares them with his mom and two kids (he is a single father). This cake went over so well with him and his kids… and he brought a piece home to his mother who apparently kept saying fantastic in Arabic after almost every mouthful. She has since decided she wants to cook something in return for me, and has specially requested that I make the cake again some other time. She had started to be accepting of me, but I have to credit the cake for pushing things further in my favour. Thanks!

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