March 17, 2014

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

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!

Easy German Chocolate sheet cake with homemade caramel, pecan and coconut icing.

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.



  1. Made this tonight and am patiently waiting for the 2-hour rest time to pass. Appreciate this shortcut option to Germans Chocolate Cake. The frosting will set up fine. I let it cool longer than 5 minutes 'cause I was sweeping floors and working on spaghetti dinner..time got away from me! Fingertip taste-test says marvelous, darlin'...marvelous!

  2. i don't know where in the south you're from, but in oklahoma, a 9 x 13 is NOT a sheet cake. a sheet cake is made on a baking sheet, 11 x 17 inches. :( i came here hoping to find out how to make a sheet german chocolate cake. guess i'll keep looking. your site looks nice, though.

    1. Well, I reckon you will. But thanks for stopping by to spread a little Oklahoma sunshine!

    2. Couldn't you just double the recipe?

    3. Or pour it in a larger pan? Geez, Crank.

  3. This was amazing! LOVE this icing!!! It cooks up perfectly!

    1. Yes, that is what a sheet cake is, 11 x 17. I'm thinking of trying a chocolate sheet cake recipe I have with this icing.

  4. I made this for my dad for his birthday and it was so amazing! I'm fixing to make it again tomorrow for Grandparent's day! Have you ever tried making the icing with half and half instead of evaporated milk? Just curious! Thanks for the awesome recipe

  5. Can I make this as a Bundt cake and/or do I need to double it to do so??

  6. Your cake looks absolutely amazing, but when I've baked German Chocolate Cakes in the past I've always used eggs yolks for the icing to help thicken the icing.
    I'd much rather do it your way without the eggs because I'm was always afraid of having currdled eggs (and it has happened before).
    You're saying, it will thicken without the eggs, o.k. Girlfriend, I'm gonna try this. I'm goin' in.

  7. I don't know where all of you people are coming from when you don't know that sugar, butter, and milk will get thick. If you have ever made candy, that's usually how it gets thick. This recipe is great!

    1. I just gave you the biggest virtual hug :)

    2. Yes. Like homemade fudge... Before the use of marshmallow fluff.

  8. could someone use condensed milk instead of evaporated milk and sugar?


Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy