Remember the God Bless America Cake? The minute I tasted that caramel icing with all the pecans and coconut I knew I had to use it on a German Chocolate Cake. And soon!
I thought about making a traditional layer cake but wasn't sure if the icing would set up thick enough for that. And, well, I just like sheet cakes better. They’re easier to make and to store and to serve and to transport. I’m kinda practical like that.
You can totally make a homemade cake for this but I used a box mix. I decided to use a regular chocolate cake mix instead of the German Chocolate cake mix because I get the impression the latter gets its lighter color because it has less cocoa in it. And, um, hello… I’ll take all the cocoa you got thankyouverymuch!
To get the traditional lighter color, I just added a little sour cream. That way we get all the chocolate plus a little added richness. Holla!
German Chocolate Sheet Cake
For the cake:
1 box chocolate cake mix
Eggs, oil & water for cake
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
For the icing:
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut*
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
Make the cake:
Spray a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. Mix cake per manufacturer’s instructions then stir in sour cream. Bake per manufacturer’s instructions for a 13x9 cake. Remove cake from oven then prepare icing.
Prepare the icing:
Heat evaporated milk, butter, sugar and salt in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat until boiling; stirring frequently.
Reduce heat to medium-low and boil mixture for 15-20 minutes or until a light caramel color and thickened; stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Let icing cool 5 minutes then spread over cake**. Rest cake, uncovered, 2 hours before serving.
To store, cover and set at room temperature – cake does not need to be refrigerated.
*I used a 7-ounce bag of coconut which physically measured 2 cups for me though the manufacturer states on the package the bag contains 2 2/3 cups.
**Cake does not have to be completely cool to top with icing but you don’t want it to be hot from the oven either. The time needed to prepare the icing will give the cake time to cool enough.