German Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream

German chocolate cake. Yummmmm.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

I’ve had my eye on this recipe ever since I tried a German chocolate cupcake on vacation in Washington, DC.

What is German chocolate cake? you may ask. It is a chocolate cake traditionally made with sweetened chocolate and topped with a pecan coconut filling. It did not originate in Germany, as its name would suggest, but was created by an American with the last name “German.” It is also the most heavenly cake you will ever eat.

Although the sides of the cake were not originally frosted, I decided to whip up some caramel frosting using homemade salted caramel to finish the cake. The cake was fantastic on its own, but the extra frosting brought it to a whole ‘nother universe.

Making the cake requires the use of baking chocolate, which I have never used before. It’s actually so surprising how much this blog has expanded my horizons and helped me grow as a baker.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland


German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

Cream the butter, applesauce, and sugar until fluffy, then add the melted chocolate. Beat in the egg yolks.

After sifting the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, add them in alternatively with the buttermilk.

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form and then whip in 1/4 cup sugar until there are stiff peaks. I did this by hand. This is not something I recommend. Use a hand mixer.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

Fold the egg whites into the batter and bake in three pans.

The filling was my favorite part. It is made by heating evaporated milk, sugar, and an egg in a saucepan for 12 minutes, until the mixture gets bubbly.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

You then pour the liquid over a bowl of butter and toasted pecans and coconut. Sounds amazing, right? It was liquidy at first, but thickened as it cooled.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

The caramel frosting is basically buttercream with caramel in place of the second stick of butter. It’s amazing. If you think caramel is amazing, this frosting is even amazinger. It’ll knock your socks off.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

Assemble the cake on a piece of cardboard on a revolving cake board or lazy Susan. Place a dab of frosting in the center of the cardboard, and surround this by strips of tinfoil. Lower the bottom layer of the cake onto the board so that the tinfoil is just underneath its egdes. Level the top with a knife or cake cutter. Fill a piping bag with the caramel frosting and pipe a ring around the edges of the cake. Then spoon a third of the filling on top of the cake so that it reaches the frosting ring.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

Place the next layer on top of the filling and repeat the process until all three layers have been stacked.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

Frost the cake in a thin layer, also known as a crumb coat, and refrigerate for fifteen minutes. Then frost the entire thing in caramel frosting and garnish as desired. Gently remove tinfoil from underneath the cake, and you should be left with a clean cake board. You can decorate this cake with some piping swirls, or crushed toasted pecans if you wish.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

(Excuse my cake. The decorating needs some work.)

And there you have it 🙂 I spent about five hours total making this cake, and then brought it to my friend’s house to share with all my other friends, where it was promptly devoured. It was that awesome.

German Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream

Cake adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs white vinegar and 1 cup almond milk-place vinegar in a measuring cup and fill with milk up to the 1 cup line
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tbs water
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/4 + 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs, separated
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease three eight or nine inch round cake pans.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a glass measuring cup, microwave chocolate with water as directed on package until completely melted.
  4. Meanwhile, cream butter, applesauce, and 1 1/4 cups sugar at medium-high speed for about five minutes. Stir in the melted chocolate at medium speed. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition.
  5. At low speed, add half the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk and vanilla, then the other half of the dry ingredients, mixing each time just until moistened.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, then beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold this mixture into the batter just until combined.
  7. Pour into cake pans and bake about 45 minutes, or until done (how to test a cake for doneness).
  8. Cool completely and make filling and frosting.

Coconut Pecan Filling adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and Bakeaholic Mama

  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbs butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
  • 1 1/3 cup toasted coconut
  1. Heat evaporated milk, sugar, and egg in a medium saucepan for 12-14 minutes, whisking constantly, until bubbly.
  2. Place butter, salt, pecans, and coconut in a medium bowl.
  3. When the milk mixture is ready, pour on top of ingredients in the bowl and stir until the butter has melted.
  4. Cool completely to room temperature.

Caramel Buttercream adapted from Bakeaholic Mama and Wilton

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup homemade salted caramel (or use storebought caramel)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tbs almond milk
  1. Cream butter in a stand mixer and beat in caramel until smooth. Add vanilla.
  2. With mixer on low, stir in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add almond milk a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.

To Assemble:

  1. Place the first layer onto a cake board and level with a knife. Fill a piping bag with caramel frosting a pipe a ring around the edges of the cake. Fill the center of the ring with 1/3 of the pecan coconut filling.
  2. Lower the second layer onto the first and repeat the filling process, then do the same with the top layer.
  3. Thinly frost the outside of the cake with caramel buttercream (this is known as a crumb coat). Refrigerate for fifteen minutes.
  4. Frost the cake completely and garnish as desired. Serve the same day.


Well. Where to begin. I think this was the most wonderful cake I’ve ever made. Chocolate. Coconut. Pecans. Caramel!!! Need I say more? It speaks for itself. No adjustments necessary. The only thing I need to work on is my cake decorating. But I mean really. This cake is perfect.

German Chocolate Cake Teenage Cakeland

Link Parties:

Glued to My Crafts’ Crafty Thursday Obsessions

The Crafty Blog Stalker’s Blog Stalking Thursday

DC In Style’s Spicy Thursday

Roxana’s Home Baking Chocolate Party

Angel’s Homestead Saturday Spotlight

Six Sisters’ Stuff Strut Your Stuff Saturday

SITS Girls’ Sharefest

Homemaker on a Dime Creative Bloggers’ Party and Hop

Sweet 2 Eat Baking’s Sugar and Slice Sunday Link Party

Flour Me with Love’s Mix it Up Monday

Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms’ Melt in Your Mouth Monday

Pint Sized Baker’s Two Cup Tuesdays

Nap Time Creations’ Tasteful Tuesdays

Inside BruCrew Life’s Time to Sparkle

Ginger Snap Crafts’ Wow Me Wednesday

Mom on Timeout’s Your Creative Timeout Party

Buns in My Oven’s What’s Cooking Wednesday

Glued to My Crafts’ Crafty Thursday Obsessions

The Crafty Blog Stalker’s Blog Stalking Thursday


14 thoughts on “German Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream

  1. I need to try that cake! I like German chocolate, but I LOVE frosting more. I rarely make German chocolate in favor of something with mounds of frosting. You just gave me the best of both worlds!

  2. Pingback: Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Roll Pancakes | Teenage Cakeland

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