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Kicked-Up German Chocolate Cake From a Mix with Homemade Coconut Pecan Frosting

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My hubby’s favorite chocolate cake. I didn’t know who it was that first thought of combining a chocolate cake with coconut-pecan frosting, but it sure was a good idea, wasn’t it? 😉

Some things pair so well that you’d think that they grew up together! Like kids on the same block! Maybe that’s how it happened? I’ll trade you some chocolate for some of that coconut?






Well, I decided to do a little research, because I love the history of food and just had to find out how this wonderful cake was first created and by whom! I was quite surprised to find out the facts, as this cake didn’t actually originate in Germany. Nope.

It actually originated in Texas by a housewife!  You see, the first part, “German” is actually the last name of Sam, the man who created the mild, dark baking chocolate for the Baker’s Chocolate Company back in 1852. 

Then in comes the second part. In 1957, a Texas homemaker named Mrs. George Clay came up with a cake recipe for Baker’s German’s Chocolate and it was published in her hometown Dallas newspaper.





It was an enormous hit, and the rest, as they say, is history! (The chocolate company dropped the ‘s from Mr. German’s last name and shortened the title of their chocolate baking bar from German’s Chocolate to German Chocolate, so that’s where the confusion of origin came in for German Chocolate Cake as it was originally called, “German’s Chocolate Cake”.)

Whew. Make sense? 😀 

Cool story, huh?! 😀 Soooooo, maybe I might not be that far off after all! 😉 But I sure would like to thank her! It’s one of the most popular cakes out there and doubt that it’s adoration will ever fade. 





So anyways, my hubby came home from the store with another boxed cake mix. *sigh* I really don’t very much care for them.

They bake up full of air with almost no flavor. So I really doctored it up, and it came out pretty darned good actually.

Homemade is still always better, hands down, but if you find yourself in the same situation, this might just surprise you and lend a hand to making that mix taste a whole lot better! 😉 

I switched out all of the flavorless ingredients for “real” ingredients such as butter, milk and an extra egg yolk for richness.

And I also gave it a bit of a flavor boost by adding some espresso powder, cocoa powder, chocolate fudge pudding mix and a little vanilla extract.

As for the frosting, he knows I’d about shoot him if he came home with one of those plastic tubs of goo. I make a wonderful homemade coconut-pecan frosting, so at least the frosting was homemade from scratch. 😉

Once the cake was done and frosted, it looked like it was going to leave the house half-dressed! So I had originally thought to decorate it a bit with some pecans, but I was out.





So I made up a small batch of ganache and that worked so well that I may just do it this way for awhile. 😀 😉 But you can decorate your cake how ever you’d like.

You can also cut the frosting recipe in half and only frost the top and between layers if preferring the more traditional look.  

Or you can make the full batch, and do three layers dividing the batter into three pans, or make four layers by slicing two layers in half horizontally.

I was in a bit of a hurry and should’ve done that. Forgive me, but it was still really good. 😉

 —> Frosting lover here. Never too much frosting. 😉  



german chocolate cake 2



So here’s to Mrs. Clay, the genius behind this classic cake that combines the match-made-in-heaven flavors of chocolate, coconut and pecans! Huzzah Mrs. Clay! Well done!

And I promise to sometime share my homemade version that doesn’t use a boxed mix. 😉 But for now, this one ain’t too shabby! 😉


Have a wonderful weekend all, and I’ll see you all next week! 😀 Take care! ~Kelly





Kicked-Up German Chocolate Cake From a Mix with Homemade Coconut Pecan Frosting
Yield: 1 double layer cake

Kicked-Up German Chocolate Cake From a Mix with Homemade Coconut Pecan Frosting


For Cake:

  • 1 (15.25 oz.) Better Crocker Super Moist German Chocolate Cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz.) box instant Chocolate Fudge Pudding mix
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder, I like Medaglia D'Oro
  • 1 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 extra-large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

For Frosting:

  • 1 ( 12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 ( 5 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup soft butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 Tbl. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups chopped pecans
  • 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut

For Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 cup high quality chocolate chips, semi-sweet or milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • For Cake:
  • Preheat oven to 325-350º according to box instructions and type of pans being used.
  • Grease and flour pans, set aside.
  • In large mixer bowl, whisk dry ingredients to mix.
  • Add wet ingredients, beat on Low to mix, then Medium-High for 2 minutes. (*Stop halfway through to scrape bowl and beater well.)
  • Pour/spoon batter into prepared pans, level and pop into preheated oven. Bake according to directions on box per type of pans you are using as well as size.
  • Cool a little, and invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
  • For Frosting:
  • In small saucepan over medium heat, constantly stir evaporated milk (from both cans), sugar, beaten egg yolks, and butter until it comes to a full boil and thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, pecans and coconut, and set aside to cool completely. When cooled, place one layer of cake onto plate and generously top with frosting. Add second layer and frost sides, then top. Cover with dome cake lid, chill. Decorate with ganache drizzle of desired.
  • For Ganache:
  • Add ingredients to glass measuring pitcher, warm in microwave and stir until well mixed and creamy. Stir until slightly thickened and drizzle with spoon over top and sides as desired. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
  • Notes

    *I used 2 (8" round) dark non-stick pans, greased and floured, and baked at 325º for 40 minutes.




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    Wednesday 12th of July 2023

    My frosting is like soup! I had it on medium high, stirring constantly for 15 minutes.


    Friday 4th of October 2019

    Your receive is perfect, baked this cake for a friend, so excited for him to try it!!! I cheated I've already had a piece and it is delicious. Thank you

    Saturday 31st of August 2019

    Just made both per your instructions ,wonderful the icing was to die for. Thanks for sharing


    Thursday 1st of August 2019

    I will be incorporating my recipe with your recipe because I love the way you have decorated your Germans Chocolate Cake. I have never used the ganache drizzle on my cake. Germans Chocolate Cake is my favorite cake to make. It always make my guest happy...and love for my guest to be happy. Love your site!


    Tuesday 26th of March 2019

    cannot wait to make this!! sounds so delish!

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