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German Chocolate Pound Cake

I began exploring the world of Bundt cakes this year and was inspired to make a German chocolate pound cake.

While I’ve eaten lots of German chocolate cake in my life, I’d never actually made one before!

With that in mind, I learned a lot while recipe testing this cake.

image of german chocolate pound cake with a slice on a plate to show how moist and delicious it is

I experimented with cake vs. all-purpose flour, oil vs. butter, and buttermilk vs. sour cream. In the end, I feel like I finally got it right.

Ironically enough, the perfect balance was using a bit of sour cream AND buttermilk. Go figure!

Getting the Topping Just Right for This German Chocolate Pound Cake

While the chocolate cake base and glaze are all good and dandy, what really makes anything German chocolate is the iconic coconut pecan topping.

Some people even call it German chocolate frosting! I can’t really get behind that. In my mind, a caramelized coconut mixture just isn’t frosting!!

Regardless of what you call it, it’s the star of the show. It’s what gives this German chocolate pound cake all its pizazz!!

After a few rounds of recipe testing, I found that I prefer equal portions of coconut and chopped pecans.

image of german chocolate cupcake frosting made with coconut and pecans

If you really want to pack this filling with flavor, I recommend toasting your chopped pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet for 5-7 minutes in a preheated 350 F / 175 C oven.

I also shake the pan half-way through and rotate it to help them brown evenly. It really takes the flavor of this filling to the next level!

What Type of Pan Should I Use?

Picking the right pan for this recipe can make all the different in how this German chocolate Bundt cake turns out.

But that’s the fun of making a Bundt cake, its shape is solely reliant on the pan it bakes in.

I think most people default to a tried and true Bundt cake pan, which is the route I went with this cake.

They’re the pans with the iconic curved sides, short grooves, and fluted edges.

image of chocolate pound cake batter that's been poured into a classic bundt cake pan

This recipe will work great in just about any Bundt pan, as long as it has a capacity of at least 8 cups. Any large Bundt pan should be able to hold this much batter.

You can also make this recipe in two loaf pans like these.

I was tempted to use my Nordic Ware heritage Bundt pan, which has deep, beautiful grooves but figured it would be a lot more challenging to top with the German chocolate cake “frosting.”

One word of advice, if you use a Bundt pan with a fun design or deep grooves, be sure you do your best job greasing your pan before adding your batter.

How to Properly Grease Your Bundt Pan

We’re not going to all the trouble of making a German chocolate Bundt cake from scratch to have to it stick to the pan.

To save yourself a headache down the road, be sure to properly prepare your Bundt pan!

There are two common ways to do this, and I’ve found that both work well.

Option #1: Butter and Flour

If you prefer using the butter / flour method, use a pastry brush (or your fingers) to spread softened butter into every nook and cranny of your Bundt pan.

Once it’s fully coated, add in a couple tablespoons of all-purpose flour and shake the pan around to cover the butter with a thin layer of flour.

Pour out any excess or leftover flour, and your pan is ready to go!

One extra step you can take to ensure the butter coating stays in place is to pop you prepared pan into the fridge while you make the batter!

It sounds crazy but it helps the butter stay in place as the pan is filled, which ensures a clean release once the cake is baked.

Option #2: Spray with Non-Stick Baking Spray

The second option is to spray your pan thoroughly with a non-stick baking spray.

You can also use non-stick cooking spray, but non-stick baking spray works best. It contains flour, which is why it has a whitish color when sprayed.

In my experience, baking spray works just as well as buttering and flouring the pan.

I prefer spraying because it’s a bit quicker, but you can prepare your pan however you prefer.

image of a bundt cake easily releasing from a bundt pan that was properly greased

Swaps & Substitutions: Chocolate Bundt Cake

  • All-Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with all-purpose flour. However, you can swap in a good gluten free flour blend (like this) if needed. Just be sure to stir the batter longer than normal to help give the cake proper structure, and let the batter sit for about 20 minutes before baking it if you opt to make a gluten free version.
  • Dark Cocoa Powder – I prefer using dark baking cocoa, but you can also use regular baking cocoa or black cocoa powder.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Eggs – This recipe uses large eggs. If you have an egg allergy you can try using a vegan egg replacer.
  • Milk Chocolate Chips – I used milk chocolate chips but you can use baking chocolate, or good-quality chocolate bars. Alternatively, you can also use dark or semi-sweet chocolate if you have a strong preference.
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) can also be used to make the frosting. However, I recommend using about half the amount the recipe calls for.
image of a german chocolate bundt cake drizzled with chocolate ganache

Tips to Make the Best German Chocolate Pound Cake

  • Mix your cake batter until the ingredients are just incorporated. This will ensure your cake has a tender crumb.
  • Bake time can vary a lot based on your Bundt pan. Keep an eye on your cake and check in every 5 minutes once it’s been in the oven for 45 minutes.
  • Be sure to butter and flour or heavily spray your Bundt pan to help it easily release from the pan once it’s baked.
  • Amp up the flavor of the coconut pecan topping by toasting your chopped pecans. Bake them on a parchment lined baking sheet for 5-7 minutes in a 350 F oven.
  • Constantly stir the coconut pecan topping as you make it!! Otherwise, the egg yolks can scramble.
  • Pour the filling through a strainer to catch any bits of cooked egg yolk once the filling is cooked.
  • Use a serrated knife to level the bottom of your Bundt cake once it’s fully cooled. This helps it sit flat on your cake stand or plate.
  • Use a large cookie scoop to add the coconut pecan topping to the top of this German chocolate pound cake. It makes it so much easier to get an even layer.
image of german chocolate pound cake decorate with a chocolate glaze

Using Different Types of Pans

I used this Bundt pan to make this cake. It has a 10-inch diameter and a capacity of 10 cups.

Bake time can also vary based on the size of your Bundt pan. I recommend checking in on your cake every 5 minutes once it’s been in the oven for 45 minutes.

You can also make this recipe in two loaf pans like these. Bake them for 55-65 minutes in preheated 350 F / 175 C oven.

To make mini-Bundt cakes, fill each baking cavity 2/3 full and bake in a preheated 350 F / 175 C oven for about 20 minutes.

image of a chocolate bundt cake that's been baked

How to Store This German Chocolate Pound Cake

Store any leftover cake at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you make this cake in advance, the same rules apply.

The cake portion can also be frozen for up to 1 month if stored in an airtight container. I recommend waiting to add the topping until you thaw the cake and plan to eat it.

image of a slice of german chocolate pound cake on a plate

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this German chocolate pound cake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Please leave a rating and comment below.

Don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and use #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 12

German Chocolate Pound Recipe

image of german chocolate pound cake with a slice on a plate to show how moist and delicious it is

This German chocolate pound cake recipe is made with a moist chocolate cake base, that classic caramelized coconut topping we know and love, and a decadent chocolate glaze.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (60g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda (9g)
  • 1 tsp fine salt (6g)
  • 1 cup warm water (240g)
  • 1 tsp instant espresso of coffee - optional (2g)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (120g)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (128g)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (226g)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (112g)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips - optional (90g)

Caramel Coconut Topping

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (125g)
  • 2 large egg yolks (36g)
  • 2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed (133g)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (56g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut - I prefer the sweetened kind (100g)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (110g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/2 cup milk or dark chocolate chips (90g)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (80g)

Instructions

Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F / 175°C. Generously grease your pound cake pan / Bundt cake pan with baking spray, homemade pan release, or butter and a dusting of flour.
  2. Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup baking cocoa, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp of salt in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined, then set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl add 1 tsp instant espresso or instant coffee into 1 cup of warm water and stir until dissolved. You can also use 1 cup of strong brewed coffee in place of the hot water / instant coffee mixture.
  4. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 cup melted butter, and 2 tsp vanilla extract into the instant espresso mixture. Whisk together until the ingredients are combined.
  5. Mix in 2 large eggs.
  6. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk together until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  7. If desired, fold 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in the pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully invert the pan onto a wire rack to remove the cake from the pan. Let the cake finish cooling there.

German Chocolate Cake (Caramel Pecan) Topping

  1. While the chocolate cake bakes and cools, make the German chocolate cake topping.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 2 egg yolks, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 tsp salt.
  3. Cook the mixture over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and just starts to boil. It's important to stir constantly or else the egg yolks will scramble! This usually takes about 7-10 minutes. Test the mixture by dragging a rubber spatula through the mixture and against bottom of the pan. If it's ready, you should be able to see the bottom of the pan for a few seconds before the filling covers it.
  4. Remove the filling from heat and pour into a large bowl.
  5. Fold in 1 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup chopped pecans, and 1 tsp vanilla extract with a rubber spatula.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to let the filling cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Glaze

  1. Make the chocolate glaze once you've added the topping onto the Bundt cake.
  2. Place 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat 1/3 cup heavy cream in a heat proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until it's just starting to bubble.
  4. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stove top, you can heat the cream over a medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat.
  5. Gently pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips, making sure they are fully covered with cream. Allow the mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Stir until the cream and chocolate are fully combined and ganache is silky smooth.

    Decorating This German Chocolate Pound Cake

  1. To decorate this German chocolate pound cake, top the cake with the coconut pecan topping using a large spoon or cookie scoop.
  2. Spread the topping around the top of the cake with a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
  3. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate glaze over the coconut topping, then garnish with a sprinkle of additional coconut and chopped pecans.

Notes

Yield

This German chocolate pound cake recipe feeds about 20 people.

Using Different Types of Pans

I used this Bundt pan to make this cake, which has a 10-inch diameter and a capacity of 10 cups.

You can also make this recipe in two loaf pans like these. Bake them for 55-65 minutes in preheated 350 F / 175 C oven.

To make mini-Bundt cakes, fill each baking cavity 2/3 full and bake in a preheated 350 F / 175 C oven for about 20 minutes. The bake time can vary based on the size of cavity, so keep a close eye on them.

Bake time can also vary based on the size of your Bundt pan. I recommend checking in on your cake every 5 minutes once it's been in the oven for 45 minutes.

How To Store This German Chocolate Pound Cake

Store any leftover cake at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

It can also be frozen (topped or not) for up to 1 month if stored in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information

Yield

20

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 396Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 85mgSodium 394mgCarbohydrates 45gFiber 2gSugar 32gProtein 5g

Yvette Reed

Tuesday 3rd of May 2022

Looks amazing! Question, if I doubled the recipe and make the large bundt with mini bundts would that he fine? Of course I would adjust the baking time because it would be more batter. What are your thoughts? Thank you!

Sonia

Monday 30th of August 2021

The recipe isn’t showing up. Clicking the link just loops it to comments. Can you please email the recipe? I’m supposed to make it tomorrow (Tuesday 8/31/21)

Laura

Saturday 18th of December 2021

@Sonia, if I leave out the coffee do I still add the water

mary

Monday 12th of April 2021

i’ve also used cocoa powder instead of white flour when greasing the pan so you don’t see it!

Vivian Brown

Sunday 30th of August 2020

Chelsey Can you make this in round pans?

Nicole

Friday 7th of August 2020

Thanks!

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