german chocolate cake revised

German Chocolate Cake Revised

We will be making this gluten free German Chocolate Cake (and many other dishes) in my next cooking class at the Culinary School of the Rockies, March 17th.  If you want to sign up there is still some space left.

As we all know, there are many ways to make German Chocolate Cake.  An entire chocolate cake can be frosted with a coconut pecan icing as I did a while back in this post.  Alternatively, the sides of the cake can be covered in chocolate frosting while the center and top are smothered with a coconut frosting.  This is what I did in the photo above.

Although this is a complicated and time consuming recipe, it makes a great birthday cake and is perfect for special occasions.

Print Recipe
German Chocolate Cake Revised
  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 nectar and vanilla
  3. Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
  4. Oil (2) 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
Print Recipe
Coconut Pecan Filling
  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. Whisk the contents of saucepan vigorously 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
Print Recipe
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
  1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and grapeseed oil
  2. Stir in agave, vanilla and salt
  3. Place frosting in freezer for 15 minutes to cool
  4. Remove from freezer and whip frosting with a hand blender until it is thick and fluffy


  1. After the cakes have cooled completely, remove them from the pans and place one on a pretty serving plate or platter
  2. Spread the Coconut Pecan Filling on top of the first layer cake
  3. Place the second cake on top of the first
  4. Spread the top and sides of the cake with Chocolate Frosting
  5. Cover the top of the cake with Pecan Coconut Filling
  6. Serve

If this process looks too daunting, I would recommend making the cake the night before (leave in the pans and cover them with a plate, to keep fresh) and then making the frosting’s and doing the assembly the next day.  This will break up the work a bit.

I hope you enjoy this super rich cake as much as we have!


  1. Sarah says

    I made a cake inspired by this recipe and it turned out really well! I used almond flour instead of coconut, and coconut oil instead of grapeseed for the cake. When it was done, I topped it with a thin layer of raspberry preserves, and put the vegan chocolate frosting on top (coconut oil instead of grapeseed for that too). On top, I put fresh raspberries and some shredded coconut. It was great!

  2. says

    Elana, Just made this cake and it turned out wonderful! Wow, I’m completely in awe at how lovely the flavors turned out. I did use raw honey instead of agave and had to sub some olive oil since I ran out of coconut! Darn it, I’m already off to buy some more to recreate it again!!

  3. Stacey says

    YUM! What I love most is that it’s not so sweet it makes you sick. Many gluten free cake mixes are all sugar. I sub’d 1/2 cup applesauce for the oil in the cakes and made them the night before. Didn’t have a flour sifter so there were lumps in the cake. 1 cup dark choc for the vegan frosting is 2 large bars (6oz total), I used one 59% Dagoba, and 1 73% Chocolove Organic and added 1 extra TB Agave. I used Blue Agave in the cake, choc frosting, and half the coconut frosting, so mine was actually a caramel color! I let the choc frosting cool 2 hrs in the fridge, it whipped up nicely! I let the coconut frosting cool mostly, but a bit warm so it just frosted the cake by itself when I poured it on top. There is plenty of coconut frosting for the whole cake IMO. If it won’t stay on the sides, put it in the freezer for a while then re-spread it. Oil & dust pans EVEN if they are brand new non-stick! Oh, I added much more water to my Arrowroot until it turned into a milky liquid, and used my hand blender to mix it into the coconut frosting while it was in the pan on the stove. There are points you think things are not working, but in the end you have a GREAT YUMMY CAKE! Thank you Elana =D

  4. says

    I made this cake for a diabetic friend’s birthday. I had the same problem as GK with the arrowroot, so I will try the boil and whisk method next time. Also, I wanted to note that the texture of the cake, while suitably pleasing on the day of its assembly, was improved on the second day–much more firm. I will make this cake a day ahead next time.

  5. says


    This is one of my trickier recipes. The key to it is bringing the mixture to a full boil and stirring vigorously until the arrowroot is completely incorporated. If this step is not done properly, you will have a lumpy frosting. If you try again, let me know how it goes.


  6. GK says

    Elana, I love your website! Everything looks so delicious.

    So, I did something seriously wrong with the arrowroot powder, as I ended up with tons of gummy globs throughout the coconut pecan filling. Does anyone have any ideas as to what I must have done..?

  7. says

    I made this cake using all coconut oil instead of grapeseed oil. It was absolutely delicious and decadent. I love that using agave makes it less sweet tasting than sugar. Thanks so much!

  8. says

    this has to be one of my fav cakes!!! it works great with the carob sub, it makes it taste a little more like a dark chocolate, which i really like, that way the frosting really pops!!!
    also, if you are feeling lazy, this cake tastes amazing by itself topped with a little (homemade) vanilla ice cream (that uses agave not sugar!!!), chopped nuts, and a drizzle of caramel (from elana’s caramel and apples recipe)!!!

  9. Debbie says

    Just an update about the cake. It is really very rich. I’d like to make it a bit less sweet next time. I’ll also never substitute butter for coconut oil. TY for such creativity.

  10. Debbie says

    Just finished the cake. OK….I couldn’t find my extra jar of coconut oil, oh crap, I was running out of time soooooo I used butter. Big mistake. Did not set up. Well, I didn’t worry, figured I’d trap it in the cake w the chocolate frosting. NOPE….that did not set up. Even left them both in the freezer double time. I used Dagoba 73% chocolate. Soooooo…..since it was the only birthday cake for two men….I turned it into a trifle. It tastes amazing!
    I don’t feel well so I can’t go to the party. You should have seen my husband’s face when he saw the Not Cake! He is disappointed but just wait till he tastes it. I’m sure they’ll call from the party to say yummy yummy.

  11. says

    Tracey -Thanks, yours is one of the nicest comments I’ve received and I really appreciate it. Great substitutions by the way!

  12. Tracey says

    Regarding the above question…6 ounce = a cup:) I used Endangered Species 72% and it turned out amazing.


  13. Tracey says

    The Chocolate cake!!! Amazing! :) Loved it! I made it for my daughter’s 6th birthday today and I just made the chocolate frosting…which by the way you are a genius! I really did not believe that that was going to turn into frosting! How did you come up with that technique?

    I also made it without eggs as I am highly allergic. I used Ener-g egg replacer and it turned out beautiful. My guess is with eggs it may have been a bit fuller and fluffier; it was more moist and almost brownie like but absolutely amazing! I also cut the oil in half and replaced the other half with applesauce.

    I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. This is the best website I have found that fits all my food issues: no flour, sugar etc:) Thank you!

    Tracey (Montana)

  14. says

    Eva -Best comment ever?! Yes.

    pokeypeppers -Thank you. So glad you are enjoying the site :-)

    Karen Baldwin -So sorry you didn’t have success with my Chocolate
    Frosting. Regarding your question, 1 cup of chocolate weighs 6 ounces. Also, the recipe is written for a chocolate with cacao content of 73%, so switching cacao percentages could affect the desired outcome as well.

    Karen -Thanks for the comment and so glad you are enjoying my site. Per your questions, if you go to the ingredients list in each of my recipes and click on agave, you will see the type of agave that I use. In terms of the egg whites, please see my faq’s. And yes, coconut oil and coconut butter are completely different products.

  15. Karen says

    What a wonderful afternoon I’ve had browsing all of your tantalizing recipes. Thank you!
    Regarding the agave- do you have a preference for using light or dark? And the eggs- do you think egg whites would work instead of whole eggs, and if so how many? I would love to make this cake for my DH’s upcoming birthday but he has to watch his cholesterol.
    One more question…is there a difference between coconut butter and coconut oil?

  16. Karen Baldwin says

    Beautiful cake Elana, I am going to try it this Sunday but I had a problem making the chocolate frosting once before. Can you tell me how much a cup of dagoba chocolate chips weighs? I can only get their chocolate in bar form.

    Thanks so much for all the great recipes!

  17. pokeypeppers says

    I love reading the posts just as much as the recipes! I am really trying to simplify my foods and I have found so much inspiration from this website. Thank you! As to everyone who always leaves the most charming comments, thank you, I love reading them!

  18. Eva says

    This should not be called German Chocolate Cake…this needs to be called Better than Sex cake! OH Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy my mouth is watering!

  19. says

    Kate -That’s great! I’m glad your mom and husband enjoyed the cake. I’ve updated the coconut pecan filling recipe with a couple of little tricks that will be of help; if you try it again, let me know how it turns out for you.

    Hayley -Thanks!

    Cathrin -Wikipedia has a lengthy explanation regarding the “Germaness” of this cake; also, see Katchmo’s comment below for a brief explanation.

    Shirley -Thanks :-)

    Beth -The icing makes this cake all the more decadent. I hope you decide to make it Saturday. If you do, please stop back by to let us know how it goes!

    VeggieGirl -Thanks! Wish you could be there.

    Shannon -I second that :-) What do you think you’ll do for frosting?

    Katchmo -Thanks for that background check ;-) I hope you enjoy it as much as the first (if not more!)

    Debbie -You’re too funny! This would be a great birthday cake indeed. Thanks for your comment.

    Alisa – Thanks. I love hearing from you and getting your comments; hope you are doing well!

    Terry -So sorry the frosting didn’t work out. I’ve updated the recipe adding in a couple of tricks that will help. If you decide to try it again please let me know how it turns out.

    Erin -It was great to have you in class! Maybe we’ll see you in the next class, when you’re back :-)

    Courtney -You are too cute! Thanks for the sweet request. I will be posting a brownie recipe here shortly :-) Thanks!

    Chrissy -I wish I could mail you a slice.

    Emily -Thank you! No world tour for cooking classes in the works yet ;-) Unfortunately, diagnosing celiac remains a frustrating and troubling issue. Thanks for your lovely comment!

  20. Emily says

    Very creative! I am sure this is beyond tasty! Elana, I would definitely be signing up for your class if I were in the area!! Is there a world tour in the works?! ;-)
    Read the article “For Celiacs, It’s A Long Road” and it frustrates me that doctors have yet to take this (or most autoimmune illness) seriously. What will it take?!
    Have a great day and thanks for the pretty cake recipe.

  21. Chrissy says

    Oh yum! This makes me want to fly back home to CO and come visit someone just so I can take this cooking class!! Mail me a slice! ;) I have made this chocolate cake recipe before, but the combo looks divine!!

  22. says


    Can we have another VOTE?? Every post I am hopeful that I might open it up to find your recipe for scrumptious dark chocolate brownies… I am NEVER disappointed by your posts, but I am still hopeful that I may experience this recipe in the future. I enjoyed how we previously interacted and voted for your upcoming recipe. Take Care :) Courtney

  23. Erin says

    Oh. I am so sad. I am going to miss your class because I am out of town. Let us know when the next one is. I loved the Gluten Free Baking last month. Thanks.

  24. Terry says

    I just made your carrot cake this past weekend and tried to make the coconut cream frosting which is similar to the coconut pecan filling for this cake. Is there a secret to making it? Mine wouldn’t blend together after taking it out of the freezer. I blended it for at least 30 minutes. Any hints are greatly appreciated.

  25. Debbie says

    I see you like a little cake w your frosting as I do! I wish I could eat my screen. Yummo. I have to make a b-day cake next w/e. Think I may just make this. TY

  26. says

    It actually used to be “German’s Chocolate Cake,” and German’s was the name of a chocolate company that developed this type of recipe. Oh I cannot wait to try this recipe…the first one was fabulous, the best ever!

  27. says

    I LOVE chocolate cake – my favorite dessert ever, for sure. I am going to try this, though maybe with a slightly different frosting. Yum. Thank you.

  28. Cathrin says

    Excuse my naivety, but for me – as a German – what makes a German cake a GERMAN cake. From experience, everything that was baked at home was German, everything I make is German ;) Is it the layers by any chance?

  29. Kate says

    Funny–I just made your first German Chocolate Cake for my mom’s birthday (which she and my husband particularly enjoyed, by the way). The coconut-pecan filling just didn’t want to stay on the sides, though. Wish I’d though to make the chocolate frosting for the sides!

    This looks great! We’ll have to save the recipe for next February’s birthday celebration.