German Chocolate Sheet Cake

An easy German Chocolate sheet cake recipe with a spiffed-up cake mix base and homemade caramel, pecan and coconut icing.

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.

If you love easy desserts like this, check out a few of these recipes too!

  • Paula Deen's Banana Pudding - The iconic recipe made with cream cheese and butter shortbread cookies that's Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding!
  • No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake - An easy pumpkin cheesecake recipe made with cream cheese, pumpkin and pumpkin spice.
  • Pig Pickin' Pie - A refreshing and easy pie made with crushed pineapple like the frosting of the classic Pig Pickin' Cake.
  • Butterfinger Pie - The original recipe with Butterfinger candy bars, cream cheese, vanilla and whipped cream topping.
  • Chocolate Nutter Butter Icebox Cake - A chocolate layered dessert with peanut butter cookies, whipped cream and peanut butter drizzle like a chocolate peanut butter lasagna! 
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake - An easy no-bake layered dessert with graham crackers, cheesecake filling and fresh strawberries. 
  • Italian Bakeless Cake - A layered dessert with pineapple, vanilla wafers, cool whip, coconut and cherries. 

recipe, best, easy, ideas, recipe, chocolate, german, coconut, sheet cake, cake, sour cream, cake mix, pecans, german chocolate icing
Yield: 15-18 Servings


prep time: 5 minscook time: 45 minstotal time: 50 mins


  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • Eggs, oil & water for cake
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7-ounce bag sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans


Make the cake:
Spray a 10x15 or 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. Mix cake per manufacturer’s instructions then stir in sour cream. Bake cake for 18-20 minutes for a 10x15 pan or 24-26 minutes for 13x9 or until set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 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 then boil mixture for 15-20 minutes or until a light caramel color and thickened; stirring occasionally. Remove from heat then stir in vanilla, coconut and pecans. Let icing cool 5 minutes then spread over cake. Rest cake, uncovered, 2-3 hours before serving.

  • To store, cover and set at room temperature – cake does not need to be refrigerated.
  • 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.

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  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.

    4. Love the comment. Lmao. Sheet cake is in a pan not cookie sheet.

    5. unless you are making a jellyroll!

    6. FYI, not everyone from Oklahoma is as cranky as that person. Geez! There are different sizes of sheet pans. I am trying your recipe for my dads 85th birthday. Mom always made him a triple stack German Chocolate cake for his birthday. She has been gone 14 hrs this Memorial Day. I figured I should have a huge family party for his birthday. Hope it’s as good as your reviews.

  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?

  9. condensed milk already has quite a bit more sugar added to it than evaporated milk, so you’d need to adjust the sugar you’d be adding separately.

  10. Hi! I don't have a metal pan that size. Could I use a glass dish that's 9 x 13? Thank you!

  11. Should the frosting be pourable still after 20 minutes???


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.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

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