Easy 5-Ingredient German Chocolate Cake

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This Easy German Chocolate Cake is a simple, easy-to-make cake—just FIVE ingredients—but the results are spectacular! 


Update: This Easy German Chocolate Cake recipe has been a family favorite for a long time, so I’ve updated it with a video and new photos and am sharing it again for new readers who may have missed it the first time around, or haven’t made it yet. 

So confession time—I’m a little bit picky about my chocolate cake. I love a good chocolate cake, as you can see from the Cake section of this website. It’s gotten to the point where each of my kids has a different favorite chocolate cake—my daughter prefers an old Hershey’s Chocolate Cake recipe that’s a little more mild, while boys prefers a rich Old-Fashioned Dark Chocolate Cake that really features the dark cocoa flavor.

And then there’s my husband who is crazy about this German Chocolate Cake. He always wants this same cake for his birthday and he wants it to taste just like Mom used to make. My mother-in-law gave me her recipe for Coconut-Almond Frosting for German Chocolate Cake when we were first married, and I’ve been making it ever since.

We’ve tried several German Chocolate Cake recipes over the years. By far the best and easiest we’ve found is Anne Byrn’s Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor, which has a recipe for German Chocolate Cake from a mix that is moist and delicious, even though it starts from a box. When combined with my mother-in-law’s Coconut-Almond Frosting, it is irresistible!

Close up of the Easy German Chocolate Cake, baked with two layers of chocolate and filled and topped with an delicious Coconut-Almond Frosting

Can I Substitute Pecans

I know some people prefer pecans in their German Chocolate frosting, and you can substitute pecans for the almonds in this recipe. However, if you’ve never tried German Chocolate Cake with an almond frosting, I strongly encourage you to give it a try! It’s fabulous this way!

Also, if you’re making this cake for a special occasion, head on over to my Tips for Baking Layer Cakes post. It’s a handy guide I wrote up with all the tips and tricks I’ve picked over the years.

How to make German Chocolate Cake in a 9 x 13 pan

If you prefer, you can make the cake in 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake the cake 38–42 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

You can also make German Chocolate Cupcakes, which makes the cake easier to serve.  

I’ve added a video that shows just how easy this cake is to make. 

Yield: 12-15 Servings

Easy German Chocolate Cake

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes



  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Coconut-Almond Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 (7 oz. package) sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Mix the cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl on low speed for one minute until combined. Beat at medium speed for two minutes more.
  2. Pour into two greased and floured 9 inch round pans. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and remove from pans. I like to line my round cake pans with parchment paper before adding batter for easy removal from the pan
  3. You can also baked the cake in a greased and floured 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake 38–42 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Coconut-Almond Frosting

Combined butter, sugar, evaporated milk and eggs* in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 12 minutes or until thickened. Add vanilla, coconut and almonds. Cool to room temperature before frosting cake.


*You can also warm up the butter, sugar and evaporated milk and temper the eggs before adding them to the saucepan.

Chocolate drizzle, optional -  I just melted about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, put it in a Ziploc storage bag, snipped the corner and drizzled a bit on top.

Other chocolate cake recipes from Barbara Bakes that you may love:

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This German Chocolate Cake is SO EASY—just five ingredients and starts with a boxed cake mix
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