This vegan German chocolate cake is a moist cake layered with coconut and pecan filling. Made with simple ingredients and using just one bowl, this is an easy dessert that is sure to impress!
Vegan German Chocolate Cake
It’s no secret that when it comes to baking, cakes are definitely one of my most requested. Even amongst my friends and family, if there is an event coming up that requires a dessert, my name is always offered up to bake a cake. To be quite honest, I actually prefer cakes to other desserts, as one of my favorite things to do is cake decorating. While I typically stick to a chocolate or vanilla cake, I’ve recently been obsessed with baking a German chocolate cake.
I’ve been meaning to share a vegan German chocolate cake recipe for quite some time. When I traveled throughout Europe, it was one of my absolute favorite desserts. There is something special about the combination of chocolate, coconut, and pecans, all merged together to create a delicious masterpiece.
Now, this cake may look incredibly fancy, but I promise you it is one of the easiest recipes you’ll come across. No eggs and no butter is needed, but you’d never tell. In terms of texture, the cake is moist and fluffy, and the filling and the frosting is thick and sticky. It’s sweet and full of chocolate and sweet coconut flavor, with hints of pecans throughout.
It was my friend’s birthday the other day and I made them this cake and herself, along with all her guests, could NOT believe it was made without eggs or dairy- They thought it was store bought from a fancy bakery!
Ingredients to make a vegan German chocolate cake
For the cake
- All purpose flour– Also known as plain flour. You can also use a gluten free flour, provided it has added xanthan gum.
- Cocoa powder– Unsweetened cocoa powder that has been sifted. For a richer chocolate flavor, you can also use dark cocoa powder.
- Baking soda– Reacts with the vinegar to help the cake rise, without the need for any eggs.
- Sugar– I used white sugar, but brown sugar or coconut sugar can be used.
- Salt– Just a pinch, to bring out the sweetness of all the other ingredients.
- Vinegar– White vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Avoid using bold or strong flavored kinds of vinegar, like red wine.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good cake or baked goods.
- Oil– I used vegetable oil, but any neutral flavored oil can be used.
- Water– To mix everything together.
For the frosting
- Coconut condensed milk– A dairy free alternative to traditional condensed milk, this can often be found in the Asian aisle at your grocery store.
- Vegan butter– Unsalted butter that is from a block, not a spread.
- Brown sugar– You can also use coconut sugar.
- Shredded coconut– Unsweetened coconut flakes. The thicker the flakes are, the chewier the texture of the frosting.
- Pecans– Unsalted and raw pecans that have been roughly chopped.
- Chocolate frosting– Optional, to decorate the top. I used a healthy frosting.
How do you make a German chocolate cake?
Start by making the cake layer. In a mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients until well mixed. Next, add your wet ingredients and mix well, until a smooth batter remains.
Now, transfer your cake batter into two 8-inch cake pans and bake for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the pecan filling. In a small saucepan, combine your coconut condensed milk, butter, and brown sugar. On medium heat, bring to a simmer. Once it begins to simmer, reduce to low. Gently stir together until it thickens. Remove from the heat and stir through the coconut and pecans.
Finally, assemble the cake. Place the first layer of cake onto a flat surface. Spread half the frosting over the top of it, until it covers the whole surface. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the remaining frosting on top. Decorate with extra pecans and if desired, an extra layer of chocolate frosting. Let the cake sit for 30 minutes, for it to set.
Tips to make the best German chocolate cake
- Avoid overbaking the cake as it continues to cook as it is cooling down.
- Ensure your cake is completely cooled before layering it up and topping it with the filling.
- If you don’t follow a plant based or vegan diet, you can use traditional butter and condensed milk.
Storing and freezing the cake
- To store: As the frosting/filling can be quite sticky, it’s best to keep the cake stored in the refrigerator, in a sealed container. The cake will keep well for up to 1 week. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, for the filling to soften.
- To freeze: Place slices of the cake in a sealable container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More vegan cake recipes to try
Vegan German Chocolate Cake
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and mix until a smooth batter remains.
- Distribute the batter amongst the two cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely. Once cooled, layer and frost the cake. Place the first cake on a flat surface. Spread half the filling on top of it until it covers the entire cake. Place the second layer of cake and top with the remaining filling. If desired, add a layer of chocolate frosting. Let the cake sit for 30 minutes, to firm up.
For the filling
- In a small saucepan, combine your coconut condensed milk with butter and brown sugar. On medium heat, bring to a simmer. Once it begins to simmer, stir the mixture together until it thickens.
- Remove the mixture from the heat. Stir through the coconut and pecans until combined. Let it cool slightly, before layering between the cakes and on top of it.