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.

Print Recipe
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 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
Print Recipe
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


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


  1. Beth says

    This recipe is a favourite of mine. I have made it many, many times for many occasions.
    I substitute coconut oil for the grapeseed oil and use honey.
    I rarely make it as a frosted cake, but it comes out wonderfully as a bundt cake (bake for 45 mins) or in mini-loaf pans (bake for 35 mins).

  2. Abby says

    Hi Elana. I just recently discovered your website and have only tried a few recipes, but so far I love them! My Dad is gluten-intolerant and I have been baking him gluten free snacks for the last several years. I’m getting so excited looking at all your wonderful recipes. I can’t wait to try more and more! Thank you so much!

    Anyway, concerning this recipe: First off, it looks really delicious. Second, my Dad doesn’t like things super sweet. So I was wondering if the cake and frosting consistency would still turn out good if I added less honey? Should I add more dry if I take out wet? I’m still fairly green when it comes to baking. :P

    • Elana says

      Hi Abby, thanks for your comment. I haven’t tried that so not sure. If you experiment please let us know how it goes!

      • Abigail Brandt says

        Turned out great! I put 1 cup of honey in the cake, and 1/2 cup in the frosting. The sweetness level was perfect for my dad and me too! At first I wasn’t sure if it would actually taste like real German Chocolate Cake, but it did! And he was really happy because he hasn’t had that in ages.

        I also put coconut oil in the cake instead of grapeseed/shortening. The bottom was a little overdone, and the cake was maybe a little on the dryer side, but it was still delicious! Maybe next time I’ll add a little water or something to make it more moist.

        Thanks again, Elana, for all these awesome recipes! I’ve been raving about you to my family so much that yesterday for my birthday my sister got me one of your cookbooks. ;)

          • Abigail Brandt says

            Thanks! German chocolate cake is my favorite and I wanted to make one for my birthday that was healthy and that we all could enjoy. I will definitely make it again!

  3. Benjamin Weingarten says

    Hi Elana! I was looking for a new cake recipe. I have always made the Paula’s Deen , which is good enough. Today I found yours. Looks good and the reviews say so. Tomorrow I’ll be making yours. I’ll let you know how did it go.!

  4. Traci says

    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!

  5. Taylor says

    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!

  6. Vicki Lynn says

    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. :-)

  7. Doris says

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

  8. Doris says

    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

    • Celeste says

      You can replace it with the same amount of maple syrup or honey. :) Don’t bother with stevia if you can get one of the other 2.

  9. Diana says

    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!

  10. Dana says

    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 says

      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

      • Dana says

        You’re right – it does taste delicious! My family had a hard time getting over the texture though. As much fun as slime is to play with, it’s less fun to eat, I guess. :)

  11. Crystal says

    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.

  12. romaine says

    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.

  13. via says

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

  14. julia says

    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 ~ ^^

  15. Alyx says

    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?

  16. Jen says

    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.

  17. M. says


    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.

    • says

      M- I regularly use honey in place of Agave and it always works well as a substitute since it’s a similar consistency.

      I think you’ll definitely need to use the cocoa powder since it acts as a flour and is important to absorb the liquid in the recipe. Good luck!

  18. says

    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

  19. says

    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!

  20. Caroline says

    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.

  21. Annemarie says

    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.

  22. says


    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.


  23. Beth says

    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!

  24. Manisha says

    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!


  25. says

    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!

  26. says

    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!

  27. Beth says

    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!

  28. Christianne says

    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!

  29. says

    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.

  30. says

    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!!!!

  31. Kathleen Johnson says

    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.

  32. says

    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.

  33. Theresa Watson says

    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)

  34. Kathleen Johnson says

    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.

  35. Kris K. says


    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!

    • Sabrina says

      Kris, coconut flour has dramatically different properties than regular flour or almond flour. It absorbs a LOT of moisture, hence the need for more moisture/liquid ingredients.

  36. says

    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!

  37. jazzygus says

    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!

  38. says

    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.

  39. says

    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. :)

  40. Marissa says

    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!

    • Tanya says

      the chocolate cake with fluffy white icing that is shown on the right on the cover of your almond flour recipe book, is that the german cake but with which icing?
      my son is turning 3 soon and has seen that cake on the computer over the last few months and keeps telling me that that is his birthday cake, so i would love the recipe please

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