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!
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.
Easy German Chocolate Cake
- 1 15.25 ounce package German chocolate cake mix
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Other chocolate cake recipes from Barbara Bakes that you may love:
- Triple Chocolate Cake with a Coconut Cream Cheese Filling
- Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake with Maraschino Cherry Filling
- Triple Chocolate Layer Cake
- Chocolate Cake with an Oreo Cheesecake Filling
- Chocolate Cheesecake Cake
- Turtle Chocolate Poke Cake
- Black Forest Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake Cake
- Cherry Chocolate Cake for Two
- Chocolate Cake for Two with a Coconut-Almond Cream Cheese Frosting
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake Chocolate Cake
Can’t wait to try this recipe! Do you use the egg whites too or just egg yolks for the frosting? Also, is there a way to make sure the eggs are cooked for the frosting? Thank you!
hi can this recipe be used for a sheet cake?
If you didn’t like this frosting you didn’t make it right! Hand down best coconut pecan frosting I’ve ever had. Made it for my husbands birthday and everyone loved it!
The icing turned out more like candied almonds and coconut than a creamy German chocolate cake icing (which is what I was really going for), but otherwise pretty good.
I baked this cake last year for a birthday and it was so easy and absolutely delicious! The frosting seemed a little pale in color from what I am used to so I added a sprinkle of cocoa powder. It looked and tasted perfect. I am baking it again tomorrow for my 97 year old father-in-law’s birthday! Great recipe!
I have a question about your easy German Chocolate Cake. You add Vanilla not almond extract to the icing? The almonds and coconut you add gives it the “almond” flavor?
Yep, feel free to add a little almond extract if you’d like though, no issue there.
So – I have been making the icing…shaping it into balls, cooling, and then dipping them in chocolate! Haha! They are AMAZING!! Haha! It’s like a gourmet almond joy! 🙂 🙂 Since I’m about to do it for the 3rd time, I figured I’d leave a comment! Thank you so much for the recipe!!
Thanks for sharing Correne! That does sound fabulous <3 I'll have to give it a try.
This recipe was delicious! Thank you!!!!! I used my own easy frosting recipe since there are family members that don’t like coconut. Do you have anything for a white cake mix? I plan on adding sprinkles to mix but wanted to use the buttermilk again “if” it would work with white cake?
Thanks so much!
Thanks Diane – glad you liked it. I haven’t tried it with white cake mix, but I think it would work great. Let me know how it goes.
What kind of chocolate chips did you use? Milk, semi sweet? Etc? Thank you!!
Hi Lauren – I used semi-sweet chocolate chips because that’s what I always have on hand. Enjoy!