Chocolate Pecan Layer Cake recipe

Chocolate Pecan Layer Cake recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Nut and seed cakes
  • Pecan cake

This is a decadently delicious three-layer chocolate cake, which is studded with pecans and then iced with a chocolate cream cheese icing. If you prefer a smooth icing, simply leave out the additional chopped pecans, or you can sprinkle them over the top to finish.

84 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 1 (20cm) layer cake

  • 225g butter or margarine
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 225ml buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • 120g chopped pecans
  • 225g cream cheese
  • Icing
  • 110g butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 120g chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MethodPrep:1hr ›Cook:25min ›Ready in:1hr25min

  1. Preheat oven to 170 C / Gas 3. Grease and flour three 20cm round cake tins. Separate the eggs.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.
  3. Sift bicarb, flour and 4 tablespoons cocoa together. Add alternately with buttermilk to the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in the coconut and 120g of the chopped pecans.
  4. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into the cake mixture. Pour evenly into the prepared cake tins.
  5. Bake at 170 C / Gas 3 for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cakes cool completely before icing.
  6. To Make Icing: Cream the cream cheese and butter together. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa, beating in a little at a time until well-creamed. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 120g pecans.
  7. To assemble the cake, place the first layer on a cake platter or stand. Ice the top, then cover with the second layer. Ice the top as before, then cover with the final layer. Ice the top of the cake, then the sides. Decorate with additional pecans and chocolate shavings, if desired.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(84)

Reviews in English (76)

by momof2pumpkins

After making some of the changes recommended by previous reviewers and adding some of my own, this absolutely gets 5 stars!! Definitely double cocoa in cake, also add a tsp or two of instant espresso (or coffee) to buttermilk. Add 2 or 3 squares of melted chocolate to frosting depending on your tastes (mmm...heaven). Process nuts and coconut until they're finely ground before adding to batter. Do not add pecans to frosting, rather press finely chopped pecans into the sides of frosted cake - looks bakery-quality and adds great texture. Decoratively pipe leftover frosting on top of cake and garnish with chocolate-covered expresso beans. This is a dessert to die for!!!-09 Oct 2003

by Aval-Na'Ree

The only difference between this recipe and the one I've used for years is the addition of the 1/4c cocoa powder in the cake and in the icing. What a wonderful variation. I really like how mild the chocolate flavor is...some reviewers said they added more, but I wouldn't change a thing. I also followed the hint about topping it off with almonds...such a beautiful presentation, I took a picture of it. I made this cake for my hubby's birthday and he couldn't get enough. Thanks a bunch!-19 Jul 2005


This is a very rich cake but it uses cocoa and not much of it, and so is not as chocolatey as I'd prefer--I figure that if I'm going to go off my diet it had better be for exactly what I'm craving! Anyway, I made it a second time with modifications: doubled the cocoa, dissolved a couple of teaspoons of instant coffee in the buttermilk before adding, and also melted three square of unsweetened baking chocolate to add to the frosting. Then it was perfect for my taste. The frosting amount is generous, and it makes a very lovely three-layer cake.-27 May 2000

  • 4 ounces Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate (melted and cooled)
  • 2 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • For the Coconut Pecan Frosting and Filling:
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks (slightly beaten)
  • 1 1/3 cups Baker's Angel Flake coconut (3-ounce can)
  • 1 cup pecans (chopped)

Grease two 9-inch layer cake pans and line bottoms with waxed paper.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter add flour mixture, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla.

Stir until dry ingredients are moistened beat at medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes, scraping bowl from time to time. Add melted chocolate, eggs, and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. Beat 1 minute longer.

Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on rack for 15 minutes. Remove and cool completely on racks.

Frost with coconut pecan frosting, below.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans, press into bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish and bake 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 cup whipped topping with electric mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together chocolate pudding mix, vanilla pudding mix and milk until there are no lumps. Combine cream cheese mixture and milk mixture and stir until smooth. Pour onto cooled crust. Spread remaining 2 cups of whipped topping on top of pudding mixture. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts over all. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

Recipe Summary

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • Coconut-Pecan Frosting
  • 1 cup unsweetened shaved or flaked coconut, lightly toasted, for decorating
  • 15 pecan halves, toasted, for decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat in chocolate. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan, peel off parchment, and let cool completely on rack. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour (or overnight) to make it easier to slice.

Using a serrated knife, slice cake horizontally into 3 layers. Spread 1/3 of the frosting over bottom layer. Repeat, layering cake and frosting, finishing with frosting. Mound coconut in center, and arrange pecan halves around edge.

The Best Sheet Cake Deserves the Best (and Cutest) Bakeware

Bake the cake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes. While the cake is baking, it&rsquos time to make the evil, decadent frosting.

Chop 1/2 cup pecans&hellip

Into pretty small pieces. Keep on choppin&rsquo&mdashthe smaller and crunchier, the better.

In a saucepan (I always wash and use the same one as before), melt 1 3/4 sticks of regular butter (not to be confused with 1 1/2 sticks or 2 sticks, for pete&rsquos sake.)

Once the butter is melted, add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder.

Stir together, and allow to bubble for 30 seconds. Turn off heat.

Then add 6 tablespoons milk&hellip

And 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir together.

Then add 1 lb. powdered sugar. Actually, I like to add about 1/2 cup less than 1 lb., but I was too embarrassed to admit that I wouldn&rsquot be able to tell you what quantity that is. So add a pound, but hold a little back, and please don&rsquot ask me how much that is, because I hate math.

German Chocolate Cake

German chocolate cake, with its traditional stack of dark chocolate cake layers smothered with caramel frosting and pecan goodness and coconut, invariably impresses. And it’s surprisingly easy to make.

So-called German chocolate cake is, according to many, many sources, actually an American invention. As the story goes, the classic stack of dark chocolate cake smothered with gooey caramel coconut pecan magnificence was named after Baker’s brand German Sweet Chocolate, which was specified in the original German chocolate cake recipe. To unravel the naming even more, the chocolate was named after Sam German, a Baker’s employee who concocted the sweet chocolate back in 1852 or so. Consider that a conversation starter at your gathering when you slice into this lovely little legacy.–Renee Schettler

What makes German chocolate cake different than regular chocolate cake?

It’s not just the frosting that lends these layers of luxuriance their distinctive character. It’s the actual cake itself, which is typically less sweet than your common chocolate cake given its especially dulcet frosting of sugar, coconut, and pecans. This particular version includes cocoa powder as well as dark chocolate for a smoother chocolate experience however, earlier versions of the cake called solely for melted chocolate. So typically it’s not a cake that you’d make unless it was smothered in the usual German chocolate cake coconut and pecan goodness.

Homemade German Chocolate Cake Recipe

Layer cakes always make a great presentation, don&rsquot they? Reese&rsquos Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake, and Chocolate Turtle Cake are a few of our favorites.

In my opinion, the best thing about this cake is the german chocolate frosting. I&rsquove loved it since I was a kid, and I remember making it with my mom. She would let me scrape the pan clean, and that coconut pecan frosting was oh so tasty!

My family loves it just as much now. German chocolate brownies are a favorite dessert at our house. In fact, my husband and oldest son often request them for birthdays. I figured it was time I went a little more fancy and made a German chocolate layer cake.

You can use a cake mix, but I liked the density of this homemade chocolate cake. It held up really well to the thick frosting, and was perfectly chocolatey.

How to make German Chocolate Cake

To skip my tips and just see the detailed recipe card, just scroll to the bottom of the post.

  • all purpose flour (I prefer to use unbleached flour.)
  • sugar
  • unsweetened cocoa powder (I just used regular Hershey&rsquos cocoa powder.)
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • milk (I used 2%, but whole or skim will work just fine.)
  • eggs (I use large eggs for all of my baking.)
  • vegetable oil (or another oil that is liquid at room temperature)
  • vanilla extract
  • boiling water

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat in the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add boiling water and mix till smooth. Pour batter into two prepared 9&Prime cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or till toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

How to Make German Chocolate Frosting

  • evaporated milk (Not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk has no added sugar.)
  • sugar
  • egg yolks
  • butter (I use regular salted butter in all of my recipes.)
  • vanilla extract
  • sweetened flaked coconut
  • pecans

This frosting is different from most frosting recipes because it doesn&rsquot call for powdered sugar.

Combine evaporated milk, sugar, and egg yolks in a heavy saucepan. Whisk till smooth, then add a cube of butter. Cook and stir over medium heat till thick.

Cool for a few minutes, then stir in vanilla extract, flaked coconut and chopped pecans. Toasting the pecans first is tasty, but not required. Cool completely. (Frosting will continue to thicken as it cools.)

After both your cake and frosting are cool, place one layer of cake on a plate stand and spread half of the frosting to the edges of the cake. Add the remaining layer of cake, then spread the rest of the frosting on top of the cake. Serve immediately or cover.

What makes a German chocolate cake German?

It isn&rsquot actually a German recipe. In the 1850&rsquos an American baker named Samuel German developed a baking chocolate bar for the Baker&rsquos Chocolate Company. A Texas baker named Mrs. George Clay submitted a recipe to her local newspaper for Chocolate Cake with coconut pecan frosting using Baker&rsquos German chocolate. It was an instant hit, and the rest is history!

Does German chocolate cake need to be refrigerated?

No, you don&rsquot need to refrigerate it. This cake keeps really well, and will last for 2-3 days at room temperature if you cover it tightly. A large cake dome works the best. It is actually even more moist the second day because the yummy coconut pecan frosting soaks into the cake.

If refrigerated, the frosting actually turns thick and isn&rsquot as easy to eat. So if you need to refrigerate the cake to make it last longer, let it come to room temperature before serving.

German chocolate frosting is so sweet that I don&rsquot think the cake needs extra chocolate frosting. But if you want it, you can definitely frost the sides.

If you really love chocolate frosting, you could also spread some frosting on each layer of cake before adding the coconut pecan frosting. It&rsquos totally up to you!

Looking for more tasty German chocolate desserts? Check these out:

German Chocolate Brownies / German Chocolate Ice Cream Pie / German Chocolate Pie

Crunchy Turtle is Option #7 in the Streamlined Layer Cake Filling Menu

This recipe is one of 11 cake filling flavors in a streamlined cake menu. All the variations are based on these two simple buttercream recipes that work beautifully both as fillings and frosting. A streamlined menu minimizes the amount of work required to make each cake, which is a terrific time-saver in the kitchen, especially for those who run a bakery business.

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Souffle Cake

My birthday was last week, and in keeping with tradition, Quinn baked me a cake. I feel a little bad because the recipe I picked involved a lot of steps including making caramel, which is usually a dicey proposition. I offered him an out, but he decided to dive in and make my initial cake choice.

I know that it was just a couple of days ago that I was extolling the virtues of simple cakes. Well, my friends, this one does not fall into the Simple Cake category. It&rsquos not that any part of it is particularly difficult. There are just a lot of parts to it. It adds up.

The recipe comes to us from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey. It&rsquos a cookbook I&rsquove had for a while, but I recently rediscovered it in the midst of our packing madness. Quinn followed the recipe closely with just one exception. Instead of trying to time the topping to be done just as the cake was done baking, he split the two components into two days. If I were making this, that is likely what my approach would be, just to make things a little simpler.

My biggest advice for making this cake is to be sure to read all the way through the recipe before baking. Now, I know that is one of the top rules of baking. Surely none of us ever just dive in without first reading every detail. You know, that&rsquos my approach in theory, but I don&rsquot always stick to it. But, trust me. You&rsquoll want to read through this and avoid any surprises.

This cake is incredibly good. If you&rsquore a fan of all things chocolate and caramel and pecans, this is for you. It&rsquos also incredibly rich. That slice you see up there is in no way a serving suggestion, unless you&rsquore sharing it with a couple of friends.

Chocolate Pecan Layer Cake recipe - Recipes

PREHEAT oven to 350°
GREASE and parchment line (3) 8-inch round cake pans.
1. SIFT Swans Down Cake Four, then lightly spoon into measuring cup for 2 3⁄4 cups. Add salt, set aside.
2. COMBINE chocolate with water. Stir until chocolate melts. Set aside.
3. CREAM butter and sugar until fluffy.
4. ADD eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. DISSOLVE baking soda in buttermilk
6. ADD flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with buttermilk, beginning with flour and ending with flour.
7. STIR in chocolate and vanilla.
8. DIVIDE batter evenly into prepared cake pans.
9. BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
10. COOL in pans for 10 minutes then remove from pans and let cool completely on wire rack.


1. PLACE first cake layer, top side down.
2. FROST cake layer with ganache
3. SPREAD 1⁄2 cup of ground praline over ganache.
4. TOP with second cake layer, topside down.
5. REPEAT steps 2 and 3.
6. TOP with last cake layer, top side down.
7. FROST cake with remaining ganache.
8. PRESS sides with ground praline and garnish with any remaining praline pieces.


  1. Kagazshura

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  2. Shabaka

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