German Chocolate Cake {With Cake Mix}

Easy German chocolate cake recipe with cake mix, homemade with simple ingredients. Soft and moist chocolate cake layers are filled with coconut pecan frosting and topped with chocolate ganache.

This is one of my family’s favorite cakes! It is so moist and that special chunky frosting compliments the chocolate cake in the best way possible. This cake is usually not a simple one, but since I use a cake mix, everyone can make it and no one has to be intimidated any more. This Moist Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting and this Chocolate Cake Roll (With Cake Mix) are two other classic desserts you should definitely try.

Easy Homemade German Chocolate Cake With Cake Mix on White Plate With Wood Background

How To Make Easy Homemade German Chocolate Cake With Cake Mix?

  1. Mix together wet ingredients– This includes eggs, butter, buttermilk.
  2. Add dry ingredients– This includes cake mix, cocoa powder.
  3. Mix– Until just combined.
  4. Pour into pans– Lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake– Until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool cakes– Until room temperature.
  7. Trim cakes– Do this for the sides and the top.
  8. Assemble– Place one cake on a serving dish. Spread coconut pecan frosting on top. Drizzle ganache. Place other cake on top. Spread more frosting. Drizzle more ganache.
Slice of Chocolate Coconut Pecan Cake With Chocolate Ganache on White Plate

What is German Chocolate Cake Frosting (Icing) made of?

This super sweet, chunky frosting is made with:

  • Brown sugar
  • Coconut
  • Pecans
  • Butter
  • Evaporated milk
  • Eggs

What Is The Difference Between Devil’s Food Cake And German Chocolate Cake? What Flavor Is This Cake?

Devil’s food cake has much stronger chocolate flavor than this cake. The quantity of unsweetened cocoa powder is much higher in that cake. It’s also much darker in color. This cake, on the other hand, has a milder chocolate flavor and is paired with a very distinct coconut pecan icing.

Why is my cake dry? 

This typically happens when the cake was over-baked, or baked at too high of a temperature.

Why did my cake collapse? 

This can happen for a few reasons. If too much baking powder or baking soda is added, it can cause a build-up of gas. This causes the center of the cake to rise too quickly before the rest of the cake finishes baking, then the center deflates. Another reason this happens is if you open the oven door halfway during baking. That causes the hot air to release, leading to a dramatic drop in oven temperature, which can also lead to collapsing.

Closeup Shot of German Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting With a Slice Removed

Variations for Old-Fashioned Traditional German Chocolate Layer Cake?

Turn these into cupcakes– To make serving easier, and less messy. Please note the baking time will be shorter.

Add more layers to make a taller cake– You can even make a tiered cake, just double the cake batter recipe.

Try other nuts in the frosting– Such as walnuts, pistachios or a mix of various nuts like pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts.

Add coconut extract in the cake batter– This will add a subtle unique flavor.

Ice the whole cake in chocolate buttercream frosting– Instead of keeping the cake exposed on the sides, coat it in this Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe.

Pipe the frosting onto the cake- Add more to the presentation by piping swirls of frosting on top of the cake.

Overhead Shot of Traditional Old Fashioned German Chocolate Cake With German Chocolate Icing and Chocolate Ganache on White Plate

Tips And Techniques

Buttermilk substitute– You can make homemade buttermilk by mixing 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1 cup whole milk.

All ingredients should be at room temperature– Because this helps them to blend together smoothly and evenly.

How to keep chocolate cake from sticking to pan? Make sure to line the pans with parchment paper along the bottom and then grease the sides.

How do I know if the cake is done? It’s ready when an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Don’t over-mix– Because this causes the cake to become dense or possibly even collapse while baking.

Cool cakes completely before frosting– Because icing a warm cake will cause the frosting to melt and slide right off the cake.

Coconut pecan Icing must cool completely- This is a unique frosting that’s cooked and thus, it has to cool down and thicken further before being used.

Use unsalted butter– Because that prevents this dessert from becoming too salty.

Slice of Chocolate Coconut Cake on White Plate With Spoonful of Cake Removed


Make ahead– You can make and assemble this cake up to 2 days in advance. Just store it in an air-tight container in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Refrigerate– In a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Freeze– In an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Thaw– In the fridge overnight to enjoy again.

More Classic Cake Recipes

Easy Homemade German Chocolate Cake on White Plate With Wood Background
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German Chocolate Cake (With Cake Mix)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Decorating time/Assembly: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Easy German chocolate cake recipe with cake mix, homemade with simple ingredients. Soft and moist chocolate cake layers are filled with coconut pecan frosting and topped with chocolate ganache.
Yield: 8 Slices



  • In a large mixing bowl, add eggs butter, buttermilk and mix until fluffy.
  • Add chocolate cake mix, cocoa powder and mix until just combined. There might be a few lumps and that's perfectly fine. Don't over-mix!
  • Pour this batter into two greased and floured round cake pans (Dimensions: 8×2), lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature.
  • While the cakes are baking and cooling, prepare coconut pecan frosting and ganache.
  • Trim sides of the cake (optional) and if there is a dome, trim the top so that the cake is flat (required).
  • Place one cake on a serving dish.
  • Use a spatula to spread frosting on top.
  • Drizzle spoonfuls of chocolate ganache.
  • Then, place the other cake on top and press gently to secure it into place.
  • Use a spatula to spread frosting on top again.
  • Drizzle spoonfuls of chocolate ganache again. Enjoy!


  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 


Calories: 385kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 116mg, Sodium: 610mg, Potassium: 267mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 524IU, Calcium: 132mg, Iron: 3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Calories: 385
Author: Abeer Rizvi

6 comments on “German Chocolate Cake {With Cake Mix}”

  1. There are no quantities for the German Chocolate Icing recipe!??!!??!

  2. If you were making cupcakes, how long would the bake time be?

  3. Cake sounds easy. I’m trying to get the recipe for the frosting. It tells how to do it but not the portions of how much. Example, how much brown sugar?5 stars

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