My recipe for Best German Chocolate Bundt Cake will take your confidence in baking to the next level! Best German Chocolate Bundt Cake takes the mystery out of making this special occasion treat in your kitchen.
Does the thought of making a German Chocolate Cake at home intimidate you?? German Chocolate Cake is a cake people tend to buy, but not make at home. Maybe it’s the thought of making a cake, and a topping, and frosting that compels us to buy from the bakery, instead of baking at home?
I’m going to share with you my simple, make-ahead version of Best German Chocolate Bundt cake that will knock your socks off. This cake’s simple, gooey, moist deliciousness will convince you to never, ever, buy a German Chocolate Cake again!
a bundt cake, really?
Why a German Chocolate Bundt Cake? Years ago, I made a 100% from scratch German Chocolate Cake for Grant on his 50th birthday. I love that recipe! The only problem is, the cake takes a bit of time to make and is a little on the difficult side to handle if you are a novice baker.
I wanted to create the Best German Chocolate Cake recipe that is simple for a beginner cook to make and also give instructions for make- ahead so the cake can be made ahead, along with the topping and frosting, and assembled later if needed. With that in mind, I thought what’s easier to make than a Bundt cake?? How about a bundt cake made with a cake mix as a base? I knew you’d agree. That’s how the Best German Chocolate Bundt Cake was born.
a few simple steps…
Best German Chocolate Bundt Cake can be made in stages, so you won’t get overwhelmed with all three steps at once!
Here’s the plan:
1. Mix and bake the cake.
2. Make the coconut-pecan topping, refrigerate.
3. Make the frosting, spoon into a bag, and refrigerate.
make ahead instructions!
If you’re pressed for time, you can make the Best German Chocolate Bundt Cake up to two days in advance. Once baked, cool and wrap with plastic wrap and stick in back of fridge so no one will eat it up before you have a chance to frost! The topping takes about 15 minutes start to finish, and can be stored in a bowl in the fridge. Make the topping and frosting up to a week before serving. Again, store in the fridge until ready to assemble.
When you’re ready to assemble, take everything out, and follow instructions on recipe. It is best if the filling and frosting ingredients sit out on the counter for about 30-45 minutes before using to come to room temperature! Remember, if you are making ahead, hide the cake or you won’t have anything to frost. Where’s my laughing emoji?? I have a problem with eating unfrosted cake. Like an- I need an intervention type of problem… Oh, and I’ve added instructions to make this in a sheet pan if a sheet pan works better for you than a bundt pan.
last word on abk’s best german chocolate bundt cake…
Oh, one more thing. This German Chocolate Bundt Cake is incredibly moist. It will stay fresh for days in the fridge, covered. If no one sees it. Big IF! Happy baking 🙂
German Chocolate Bundt Cake
- 1 cake mix – chocolate any name brand will work
- 1 small box instant pudding chocolate (dry, not mixed with milk)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 6 oz can EVAPORATED milk not sweetened condensed
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups coconut sweet flake
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 8 oz cream cheese not low fat, softened
- 1/4 cup butter room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
Turn oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle of oven.
Place the wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix until blended well. Add the cake mix, box of pudding, unsweetened cocoa and sugar. Mix for about 2 minutes on medium speed or until blended well. Turn beater on high for about 1 minute.
Generously grease a bundt pan.
Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched lightly.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then turn cake out onto cooking rack and let cool top side down until completely cooled.
Make the topping and frosting while cake is baking:
Beat Evaporated milk, egg yolks, and vanilla in a large sauce pan with a whisk or fork. Add sugar and butter and cook over medium heat for about 10-12 minutes until mixture is thickened and starts to turn a golden color. Whisk while cooking every few seconds. When the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and add coconut and nuts.
Set aside to cool. Place in a bowl and set in refrigerator until ready to use.
Beat cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat on low until smooth. Add vanilla and pinch of salt.
Using large Ziplock bag, or cake decorating bag, placing the bag inside of the cup or small bowl. fold the ends of the bag over a cup, and fill the bag with the frosting. Squeeze the frosting to one end of the bag. Snip off a small end of the bag when ready to frost.
Place the cake on a flat plate or cake stand.
Top the cake with the coconut pecan mixture using a spoon.
Using the bag of frosting, pipe the frosting onto the cake until all of the frosting is used. You may also fill two bags and snip off one large and one smaller opening if you want to achieve a look similar to the one in the photo.
-The key to getting a bundt cake to come out of the pan in one piece is not flour, but lots of oil coating the pan. I use cooking spray. Just a basic PAM spray. Spray on more than you think you need. Two coats. don’t forget the middle of the pan.
-You may use any brand of cake mix, I usually prefer Duncan Hines, or in this cake Betty Crocker. -Do not mix the pudding with milk before adding to the cake.
-Start in the middle and work your way outward when piping on the frosting.
-Because the frosting is made with cream cheese, store in fridge if there are any leftovers.
-This cake may also be made as a sheet pan cake! Simply follow directions and bake in a standard sheet pan for about 20-25 minutes or until top is set and springs back lightly when touched. I advise making 1 1/2 of the pecan and coconut filling. The standard amount in the recipe for the bundt pan works, but needs to be carefully spooned on to make sure there is enough filling to cover the surface of the sheet pan cake. For frosting, you may spread on the frosting on top of the pecan coconut layer, or thin the frosting a bit with a few tablespoons of milk. After thinning out frosting, spoon into a pastry bag or a Gallon Ziplock bag with the corner cut off. Drizzle on top of cake using a back and forth motion from one end of the cake to another. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.
103 thoughts on “Best German Chocolate Bundt Cake”
Hi Si, I am wondering if a german chocolate cake mix would work for this recipe or is the chocolate cake mix best?
A German Chocolate cake mix will work great! It may have more of a reddish hue instead of a darker chocolate, but it’s just a matter of preference. thanks for reading ABK <3
Have you ever tried making these in cupcake or muffin form? I wondered on bake time just made the cake for Father’s Day and it was the best cake I’ve made so far! Thanks!
I made this for my mother in laws birthday! It was a hit! I made the cake in the AM, the topping in the afternoon, and I made the icing and decorated it in the evening before the event! I grabbed some flowers on clearance and popped them in the middle to hide my less than perfect decorating capabilities;). The cake was delicious!
My sister requested German Chocolate for her birthday. This was by far the best cake I have ever made. Thanks for the recipe.
Do you have a favorite cocoa powder?
What if you use milk instead of water?
no need to use milk, it is already in the cake mix!
Milk makes for a denser cake. Whole milk is my preference especially with a bundt cake.
I’m excited to try this cake for the holidays!! But I’m confused when you say ½ cup unsweetened cocoa and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder? Is it the same thing? Or what do I need to buy?
Hi Ciji, I adjusted the recipe to avoid confusion, the cocoa powder is unsweetened cocoa powder for both the cake and the frosting. Happy baking!
What flavor of instant pudding
Hi Janet, the flavor is chocolate. Hope you love this!
I was wondering if the coconut pecan mixture will stay on top of the cake (not slide off) if I decide not to use the frosting?
Yes it will stay on top with or without the frosting. The cake is much more appealing with the frosting! Happy baking 🙂
I made this for our Christmas dinner. It’s great! I love German chocolate cake. Have never had it with frosting just the coconut pecan and always a layer cake. I didn’t use as much frosting as you show on the picture, but it was still very good. I mean what could be better than chocolate cake, coconut pecan, and more chocolate in the frosting, right. The cream cheese in it made it super delicious. I was excited to see a bundt version as at the present I don’t have layer cake pans. Only thing was I accidently got regular pudding not instant. It was still very moist and one of the best cakes I’ve had. I will be making this one again! Thanks for the recipe, I shall be passing it along to friends and family.
Pam, So happy you loved this cake! I developed this recipe specifically so it would be simple to make and without layer pans. Thanks for reading ABK! hugs, Si
German Chocolate is my absolute FAVORITE!
If the cake mix is labeled with pudding already in the mix, do you still add the instant pudding to the mix?
Yes, still add the box of pudding!
This is the best thing we’ve ever eaten!! My fiancé’s family is from Brazil and are all very world traveled and foodies. I’m always nervous taking food to them and they all went nuts over it. NONE was left and it’s very filling.
I used the German Chocolate mix and condensed milk instead of buttermilk (accidentally lol). I also used coconut flavoring instead of vanilla in the icing and that was fabulous too!
We were eating the coconut mix right out of the pot!
We decided we need one of these a month from now on lol
Annie, I’m glad you loved this recipe! It is one of our favorites. Im sure the coconut flavoring was delicious! Ill try that next time. Thanks for reading ABK!
I made this cake tonight. I do a “cheaters” version for the topping. One can dulce de leche and one can cream of coconut mixed. Split in half and mix in 1 1/2 cups coconut and 3/4 c cup pecans. Store in fridge and spoon on chilled cake. The ‘cocomel’ sauce is great over ice cream as well.
Oh wow! what a great substitute in a hurry. Thanks Jeni for sharing this!
The way the recipe is written, the advertising comes in at the end of the cake ingredients but after the advertising there is an additional cake ingredient…sour cream. Easy to miss…so don’t make the mistake I made and leave it out. I’ll let you know how the cake is without it.
Thanks for the heads up! So sorry about this. I will look into the ad covering the recipe!
This cake looks fabulous! Because of timing I was wondering if this cake can be frozen once baked and then taken out to add the coconut mix and frosting before serving?
Claire, Absolutely, this cake freezes well and can be prepared ahead, cooled completely then frozen.
When making this cake.. can I assemble the whole thing and keep it out on the counter until it’s ready for candles if so how many hours
Yes, it will be fine on the counter for a few hours, maybe 6? I try to assemble it before hand and the refrigerate for best results while cutting. That said, if you don’t have enough room in your fridge, a few hours on the counter will not hurt!
I made this for a dinner party. It was very good, but I felt the frosting needs a tweak. It’s just probably a preference, but following the recipe I thought the frosting was a bit bitter. I added more butter(unsalted) more salt and 2-3 teaspoons of vanilla. With that, I’d say this was a big hit. Thank you for the bunt version!
Thanks you for your tips on improving the frosting. I’m so glad you liked this German Chocolate Bundt Cake.
Thanks for reading ABK!
I just made this for our Sunday dinner and I got a 10/10 from the “judges!” 🙂 Thanks for the recipe, we all loved it!
I’m always so glad when a recipe receives such positive reviews! Thank you for letting me know and thank you for reading ABK!
This was so delicious! If I can come up with a yellow/vanilla cake version, this will be my go-to cake base!
I would like to make this as a three layer cake. Do you think I should double the coconut frosting then? I always like enough frosting. Then as far as the icing, I’ll use the same amount. This sounds wonderful. Making it for my sister’s 60th. German chocolate is her favorite. Going to use German chocolate cake mix. Appreciate your help. Thanks Rita
yes, if I were making this into a three layer cake, I would double the coconut filling layer. If as a two layer cake a single recipe will be sufficient. What a nice sister you are! Let us know how it turns out!
This was so incredibly delicious! A big hit. Thank you!!
Thanks so much Jodi! We love this cake too.
Oh wow. This was the absolute best German chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever made. I made it in 2 9inch pans. Doubled the Pecan frosting used it in the middle and top of cake. Then I iced the sides with the dark chocolate icing. Everyone raved about it. I will make this again. Thanks so much!
Loved hearing how you turned this into a layer cake! Thanks for leaving detailed alterations to the recipe. Im going to give it a try soon.
Thanks for reading ABK,
I was thinking of making it in round 8in pans to make a layered cake, how long would you cook it for?
Also would the same amount of cake batter be sufficient for two 8in by 3 in pans? And how full would you fill each pan?
8 inch pans usually cook from 25-35 minutes depending on your oven, so keep an eye on your cake! Try filling the cake pan half full. Let me know how this recipe works for you! Thanks for reading ABK.
I want to give this recipe a shot as a white cake. The chocolate was so amazing. Have you done that already? I love the pudding and sour cream in the mix. It just makes the cake so moist and the right anount of dense! Thank you!
Gina, I’d love to hear how that turns out if you try it as a white cake. I agree, the sour cream helps keep the cake moist and the perfect texture. It’s one of our family’s favorite cake recipes ever! Thanks for reading ABK,
Use Cake Release instead of vegetable spray to coat your Bundt cake pans. You will be so glad you did. Here’s the recipe I use: 1/2 cup of solid shortening (like Crisco), 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. Mix until thoroughly combined. Use a pastry brush to spread in cake pan instead of greasing and flouring your cake pans This will keep up to 3 months , unrefrigerated, on your pantry shelf.
Thanks for the baking tip Sharon!
This cake was amazing. I made this for a girlfriend’s birthday at work. Not a crumb left! I had people going for seconds, and scraping up the topping and frosting. I like that you can use your favorite chocolate cake mix. I of course am a chocoholic, so I bought a triple chocolate cake mix…YUM!
Thanks for sharing, Tammy! This is one of our favorite cake recipes hands down. The more chocolate the better! Thanks for reading ABK,
What size of bundt pan do you use?
Hi Mark, I usually use a 12 cup bundt pan. Thanks for asking!
What do you mean by “small” box of pudding? I saw a few different sizes at the store, & I wanted to be sure I got the right amount!
Jello pudding is usually sold in two sizes, 3.4 oz and 5 oz. This recipe calls for the 3.4 oz size. Thanks!
This was so delicious and SO MOIST!!! I LOVED IT! I was wondering if I could make the cake in two 9″ rounds? I haven’t had a lot of homemade chocolate cakes turn out well – they always seems to sink in the middle and since this was so great in a bundt, I was wondering if this would be the answer? I’m actually planning on making a “Ding-Dong Cake” for my MIL and I usually use a boxed mix, but would much prefer this…
Hi Angie, I think it would turn out great using two 9″ rounds. I haven’t tried it that way, but it may bake through a little better. Thank you for asking and for reading ABK!
This was amazing! I made it for hubby’s birthday and he loved it! Everything came together beautifully because of the tips and directions included. And just absolutely delicious!
We LOVE this cake too, Hannah. It’s perfect for the whole family and I’m so glad you found the tips helpful. Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK!
This cake was a show stopper— I followed the instructions and it turned out perfectly! I even got distracted and it baked for an extra 5 minutes and it didn’t matter— such a moist cake! We shared it with neighbors and friends and everyone loved it. The only change I made was to pulse the pecans a few times so the nuts were a little bit finer but still had the pecan flavor. My kids requested this cake for birthdays from now on too!
I agree Stephanie, this is one of my all-time favorite cakes to make for any large crowd. Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK!
SO GOOD. Literally the best German chocolate cake. I will be keeping this recipe forever. I am currently eating cake for breakfast after Father’s Day. 😊 super easy to make. Super good. My husband is obsessed!
That’s one of the best parts about this cake, you can save it and the leftovers are sometimes even better! Thanks for sharing, Sydney,
I don’t care for the flavor of desserts that have oil included in the recipe. Have you tried using unsweetened applesauce instead of oil?
I have not tried making this with applesauce in place of the oil. My mom often subs applesauce, and sometimes I think it works and other times it doesn’t. If you try it, Id love to hear your feedback! Thanks for reading ABK,
My husband loves German chocolate cake. This one did not disappoint. So moist and yummy! I made for Father’s Day this year and we left on vacation the next day so I had my sister in law come take the rest. When I got back they ranted and raved as well as how yummy that cake was. Nothing I have tried from ABountifulKitchen has not been good. Love every recipe we have tried!!
The first time I made this cake I took it to a potluck wedding shower. Oh my goodness, it was gone so fast! This is one of my favorite cake recipes! Everything is delicious the cake, the coconut mixture and the buttercream icing. It may take more time, but it’s totally worth it!
I made this cake for my dad’s 70th birthday and it was gone before I blinked. So much easier than the 3-layer version i’ve been making. My 3 year old loved helping me add the frosting, and the finished look was perfect even with her help. So moist and delicious.
Your directions, are the best I have ever seen. They will lead a novice to success. I am 85 years old. This was my first attempt at a German Chocolate Bundt but it was for a very special Birthday….This cake is a winner. And you got me there every step of the way. It’s a keeper.. I was so thrilled..
Looked just like your picture. Thank you ..so much.
You’re very welcome! I’m so glad you found the recipe easy to follow, this is one of my favorite cakes to make ever, especially for birthdays. Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,
I’m not a baker but I gave it a try and baked this cake for my co-workers and it was absolute a hit! I found topping recipe too time consuming and took a shortcut (I’m terrible with measuring and very impatient). So I followed frosting recipe, added evaporated milk (eyeballed it to get the right consistency) and poured over the cake. Then topped with pecans. It looked so pretty! Thank you for this recipe. Definitely a keeper. Enjoy everyone! I’m off to try rum bundt cake recipe next.
This is one of my favorite cakes to make ever, it’s fool-proof enough for anyone to make, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it Aneta! Thanks so much for sharing and for reading ABK,
This is one of my favorite recipes! Thank you so much!
So excited to make this for our Valentine’s Day treat! Just wondering if the coconut filling can be made a day or two before and then stored in the fridge before assembling the cake? Thanks!
Sorry for the late reply, Annie, but yes you can make the filling a few days ahead and then store in the fridge. Thanks for asking!
This recipe was so easy and so amazing. I used a little bit of best foods mayo bc I didn’t have the oil and it turned out soooo moist! I made the cake Part a day before, and made coconut filling next morning, put in fridge to set up a bit for a couple of hours, made frosting and then put it all together. Plenty of filling and frosting! Best German chocolate we’ve ever had! Thanks for ama omg recipe!
Great idea to use mayo as alternative, DeAnn! Thank you so much for sharing and I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe,
We loved this cake! I ended up using a devils food cake mix and it turned out a little more “dark” than a chocolate cake mix. I should have waited a little longer to put the chocolate frosting on top of the warm coconut mix because it kind of slid down. But we still ate it up! So yummy! Can’t wait to try the plain chocolate one!
Hi. I am wondering if Pecans are nuts Because my dad is allergic to nuts. Thanks!
Yes, pecans are nuts!
This is definitely the best German chocolate cake ever!!!! I have made this several times and everyone has loved it and requested the recipe. No need to change a thing, this is perfect just the way it is.
I used a German Chocolate cake mix and followed the rest Of the directions I also poked holes and inserted some of the chocolate frosting inside. So it would be more like a layer cake. It looks much like your photo.
I made the cake yesterday. It was loved by all! I only used about half of the frosting. It seemed like a bit much to use it all. The others agreed that half was enough frosting. The directions were clear and the cake was great, will definitely make it again.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe Judy, this is definitely one of our all-time favorites. Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK!
Oh my heavens! This is so good. This has to be one of my favorite cakes ever! I made this for a birthday cake (okay, I made my own) and we absolutely loved it. The next day it was even better, I’m not sure what happens overnight, but it just gets better. My daughters birthday is a week after mine and she wanted this cake too. Once again it was even better on the second day. We love our frosting, so the second week we decided to double the chocolate frosting so we could really make sure it was covered (didn’t use it all), but discovered that you really don’t need/want anymore than what you call for. It is the perfect marriage of topping and frosting with the yummy cake.
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Delicious!! And much easier than I thought it would be. The only thing I think could possibly make it any better is toasting the pecans beforehand. So yum!
Great suggestion! Thanks for your feedback and for reading ABK 🙂
I am a beginner baker. I was nervous to make my first Bundt cake, but I love German Chocolate cake so I wanted to try. The entire time I was making the cake I was doubting everything. I made the filling and it had a strong condensed milk flavor. Then I tried the frosting and it just tasted like pure coco powder. I was worried because I told my father in law I would bring it over for Sunday dinner. Once we cut open the cake I was pleasantly surprised that this really was the Best German Chocolate Cake! I had never made one before and apparently all the flavors just needed time to come together. I’m so happy I found this recipe! I will make this for years to come! It really is so easy, delicious and moist. If I could make this anyone can. Thank you!
Where do I incorporate the sour cream!!!?
The sour cream is one of the wet ingredients mixed together at the very beginning of the recipe. Place wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl (oil, water, eggs and sour cream) and mix until blended well. I hope you enjoy this beautiful Bundt cake!
Thank you for reading ABK.
I haven’t tasted it yet, but it’s a beautiful cake.
Thank you! This cake is fantastic. Let me know what you think when you make it!
Thanks for reading ABK.
Super moist and delicious cake. I used a piping bag but only had a small round piping tip. It was super thick to pipe out, so I wish I used a ziploc bag as recommended.
I agree the frosting is quite thick! Next time try the Ziplock, it really does work so well!
Thanks for your review!
This quickly became a family favorite. I get requests to bring it to holiday dinners and birthday celebrations regularly! The chocolate cake alone is amazing, but add all the goodness on top and it’s a perfect combination!
Thank you Melanie! It makes me so excited when my favorite recipes are incorporated in other family’s traditions and gatherings. Thank you so much for your positive feedback, and thank you for reading ABK.
How many servings would the sheet pan version make? Like, if I were to serve it for dessert at a ward Christmas party LOL!
This dessert should make at least 24 servings if cooked as a sheet pan. I make 1 ½ batches of the topping. Whenever I am cooking a new recipe for a crowd, I make one batch, measure and cut in serving sizes and then calculate to know that I’ll have plenty for the event. Give it a try! You can always freeze the trial batch for the big event. Hope this helps. Thank you for reading ABK!
After all the wonderful reviews I am sooo looking forward to making this recipe. I have a couple of questions…The evaporated milk comes in a 5 ounce and then larger…like 12 or something….This recipe says use a 6 ounce can…do I need 6 ounces or is 5 ounce can the correct amount? Second why does the cake need to cool top-side down? It appears from the picture it is frosted with the top-side up? Please clarify and Thank You!!!!!
a 5 oz can will work in this recipe. If the topping seems a little thin, you can add another tablespoon or two of milk. For cooling, this is probably confusing… by top side down, I mean once the cake is finished baking, invert it onto a plate or cooling rack. At that point, the top side of the cake (flat side) will be face down to cool and frost. Hope this helps!
Where to start… if I was choosing my last meal this would be dessert! This recipe takes chocolate cake to a whole new level. If you love all things, chocolate/coconut with a decadent sauce you’ve found your “happy place”! One thing I love about every recipe I’ve tried from A Bountiful Kitchen…not having to change a thing… She’s taken all the brain work out of it…thank you Si😉
What a compliment! Thank you for your kind words, Julie. Happy to have you here!
I made this for this year’s Thanksgiving. For the cake mix, I put in an extra quarter tsp chocolate extract alongside vanilla, split it in the coconut topping, and added an extra quarter tsp into chocolate frosting along side vanilla.
I’ve never had so many compliments of the best German chocolate cake they’ve either ever had, or have had in the last 20 years.
Thank you for this recipe, it was really rich that really was very delicious, and perfect for Thanksgiving.
So happy to hear you loved this cake! Thanks for sharing the adjustments you made as well!