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German chocolate cake

This impressive cake has everything going for it – it’s moist, jam-packed with interesting flavours and much easier to make than it looks.

Allergens: Recipe may contain gluten, milk and egg.

25 Ingredients


  • 645g (3 cups) caster sugar

  • 450g (3 cups) plain flour

  • 95g (1 cup) cocoa powder

  • 3 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • 11/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp table salt

  • 3 eggs

  • 375ml (11/2 cups) buttermilk

  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) vegetable oil

  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) boiling water

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 150g pecans

  • McKenzie’s Moist Flakes Coconut, to decorate

  • Caramel spread, to decorate
  • Coconut pecan filling


  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar

  • 250ml (1 cup) evaporated milk

  • 3 eggs yolks, lightly whisked

  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped

  • 130g (2 cups) McKenzie’s Moist Flakes Coconut

  • 150g pecans, roughly chopped

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate buttercream


  • 450g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature

  • 600g (4 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted

  • 50g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder, sifted

  • 2 tbs milk

6 Method Steps


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan forced. Grease two 18cm (base size) round cake pans. Line the bases and sides with baking paper.

  • Step 2

    Whisk together the caster sugar

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    (645g (3 cups) caster sugar), flour (450g (3 cups) plain flour), cocoa (95g (1 cup) cocoa powder), bicarb (3 tsp bicarbonate of soda), baking powder (11/2 tsp baking powder) and salt (1 tsp table salt) in a large bowl. Add the eggs (3 eggs), buttermilk (375ml (11/2 cups) buttermilk), oil (375ml (1 1/2 cups) vegetable oil), boiling water (375ml (1 1/2 cups) boiling water) and vanilla (2 tsp vanilla extract). Whisk until well combined and smooth. Divide half of the mixture evenly between prepared pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Set aside in the pans for 10 minutes to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Grease and reline pans. Repeat the process, using the remaining cake mixture to bake 2 more cakes.


  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, to make the coconut pecan filling, place the caster sugar (215g (1 cup) caster sugar), evaporated milk (250ml (1 cup) evaporated milk) and egg (3 eggs yolks, lightly whisked) yolk in a large saucepan. Whisk until combined. Add the butter (125g unsalted butter, chopped). Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes or until the butter melts. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for another 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and stir through the coconut (130g (2 cups) McKenzie’s Moist Flakes Coconut), pecans (150g pecans, roughly chopped) and vanilla (1 tsp vanilla extract) until combined. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool completely.

  • Step 4

    To make the chocolate buttercream, use a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium-high speed to beat the butter (450g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature) for 6-8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Reduce speed to low. Add the icing sugar (600g (4 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted), cocoa (50g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder, sifted) and milk (2 tbs milk). Beat until well combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3-4 minutes or until fluffy. Spoon 1 cupful of the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Spoon another 1 cupful into a piping bag fitted with a large fluted nozzle.

  • Step 5

    Use a large serrated knife to trim and level the top of each cake. Pipe a little buttercream in the centre of a serving plate. Place 1 cake, cut-side up, on the plate. Use the plain nozzle piping bag to pipe a ring of buttercream around the top edge of cake. Fill with one-third of the coconut pecan filling. Repeat layering with the remaining cakes, buttercream and coconut pecan filling, finishing with the final cake, base-side up. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

  • Step 6

    Spread the remaining buttercream over top and side of cake. Use an offset palette knife or cake scraper to smooth the top and side. Reserve a few whole pecans (150g pecans) then roughly chop the remainder. Gently press the chopped pecans around the base of cake. Use the fluted nozzle piping bag to pipe swirls of buttercream around the top edge of the cake. Decorate the swirls with reserved whole pecans and coconut flakes (McKenzie’s Moist Flakes Coconut, to decorate). Drizzle caramel spread (Caramel spread, to decorate) over top and side of cake to serve.
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Recipe Notes

Tips:

  • The uniced cakes can be made up to 2 days in advance. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
  • The coconut pecan filling can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge.
  • Make the buttercream up to 3 days ahead and store in the fridge. Bring back to room temperature and beat for a few minutes before using.

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