German Chocolate Sheet Cake

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

German chocolate cake is a rich, decadent cake layered with a sweet coconut-pecan frosting. While it’s named German chocolate cake, it actually has no ties to Germany. Instead, it gets its name from the type of sweet baking chocolate created by American Sam German in 1852.

This easy homemade German chocolate sheet cake recipe yields a fudgy, moist chocolate cake topped with the signature gooey, sweet and nutty frosting. It’s made completely from scratch, avoiding boxed cake mixes. You’ll find step-by-step instructions for preparing the cake batter and baking to perfection. The frosting is cooked on the stovetop to a luscious, pudding-like consistency before mixing in shredded coconut and chopped pecans. Spread over the cooled sheet cake, this homemade German chocolate sheet cake is guaranteed to impress!

What type of chocolate should I use? 

You can use any sweet baking chocolate such as Hershey’s. German chocolate refers to the last name of the creator, not the country.

Can I make this cake gluten-free or dairy-free? 

Yes, you can substitute the flour and butter/milk with gluten-free and dairy-free options. Just follow your substitute ingredient quantities.

How long does the cake last? 

Properly stored in an airtight container, the cake will last 3-4 days at room temperature or up to 1 week refrigerated. The icing will last 2 weeks refrigerated.

Can I prepare the cake and icing ahead of time? 

Yes, you can bake the cake, cool completely, and wrap well for up to 2 days before icing. You can also make the icing up to 5 days ahead and refrigerate until ready to ice the cake.

What can I do with leftover icing? 

You can use extra icing to top brownies, cake balls, ice cream, or even eat by the spoonful! It also stores well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 2⁄3 cups (532g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 1⁄4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup (43g) Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 cup (235ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (150g) chopped pecans
  • 14 ounce (396g) bag Baker’s angel flake coconut

German Chocolate Icing

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 2⁄3 cups (532g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 2⁄3 cups (629ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (150g) chopped pecans
  • 14 ounce (396g) bag Baker’s angel flake coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Prepare a 9×13 inch baking pan with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl using a mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, and 2 2⁄3 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix again.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine well.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and evaporated milk to the creamed butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack before icing. Recipe by
  7. To Make the IcingIn a medium nonstick saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and whisk until smooth.
  8. Gradually pour in the beaten eggs, whisking constantly. Stir in the evaporated milk.
  9. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened to a potato soup consistency.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans and coconut flakes. Allow to cool and thicken further before icing cake.
  11. Ice cooled cake generously on the top and sides with the icing. Refrigerate any leftover icing.


  • Be sure to use high quality ingredients. I recommend using European style butter for the richest flavor and texture in the cake and icing.
  • When creaming the butter and sugar together, allow enough time (5-7 minutes) for it to truly get light and fluffy. This helps incorporate air into the batter which keeps the cake soft and moist.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk slowly and don’t overmix once they are incorporated. Gentle mixing preserves the air whipped into the batter.
  • Bake the cake at a slightly lower temperature (325°F) to allow the center to cook through without overbaking the edges. Test doneness with a toothpick.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before icing so the frosting doesn’t melt. I like to ice it still slightly warm so the icing adheres well to the cake.
  • For best texture, use Baker’s Angel Flake coconut in the icing rather than shredded coconut. The flakes remain chewy in the icing.
  • Refrigerate any leftover icing in an airtight container. It holds well for up to 1-2 weeks and is great for frosting brownies, cake balls, or eating with a spoon!

Enjoy this moist homemade German Chocolate Cake topped with the signature coconut-pecan icing! The cake has a lovely light chocolate flavor while the icing is rich, sweet and nutty.

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