Chocolate lovers rejoice! This cake is not for the faint-hearted. Moist chocolate cake, coconut pecan filling, and a decadent chocolate buttercream frosting. This vegan german chocolate cake is so indulgent.
Okay so I may have just posted a strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe but Summer is birthday season in our family!
My dad’s birthday is coming up and I decided to make a vegan version of his favorite cake – German chocolate!
Full disclosure, no one in my family is vegan but they all loved this cake!
What is German Chocolate Cake?
Traditional German chocolate cake is a chocolate cake with a sticky coconut pecan icing and chocolate buttercream.
This cake recipe includes all the delicious elements but dairy-free and eggless!
Now I know a three-step cake can be rather overwhelming but we’re going to break it down step-by-step so you can make this fool-proof cake with ease!
Make the vegan chocolate cake
I love this chocolate cake recipe because not only is it vegan (duh), but it is oil-less too! Yup, no oil or butter is required to make this super moist cake!
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. That includes flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
Tip: Sift flour and cocoa powder to eliminate any large clumps (as you can tell from the photos I did not do this with the cocoa powder!) But whisking the dry ingredients together helps with this too.
In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Vegan “buttermilk”, applesauce, flax “eggs”, and pure vanilla extract.
Vegan Buttermilk: This is simply almond milk combined with apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow it to curdle.
Flax Eggs: Combine ground flax seed with water and let sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. The flax egg will be a slightly gelatinous texture – just like an egg!
Applesauce: Applesauce is a common ingredient in vegan baking. It helps bind the cake, is a substitute for oils and butter, and helps create a moist cake!
I love using applesauce in vegan chocolate cake because the cocoa powder will mask any trace of apple flavor!
Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined. Then mix 1 cup of hot water to the batter. The cake batter should be thin and pourable.
Fill 9-inch cake pans 3/4 full with cake batter. This recipe is enough to fill 2 pans.
Make vegan coconut pecan icing:
This icing is crunchy, sticky, and thick. Follow these steps to achieve this texture!
Tradtional coconut pecan frosting includes butter, egg yolks, and evaporated milk. With some easy substitutes, it’s so easy to vegan-fy this!
Combine all the ingredients (except shredded coconut and chopped pecans) into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, whisking consistently until the liquid gets thick and syrupy.
Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to thicken up. Stir in pecans and coconut!
Make vegan chocolate frosting
Vegan butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and a splash of almond milk is all it takes to make a delicious vegan chocolate “buttercream” frosting.
Mix melted butter and cocoa powder together until well blended. Add powdered sugar and milk. Whisk together to achieve desired consistency.
Tip: To give the frosting a more glossy sheen, try adding a small amount of oil. Olive, grapeseed, vegetable, or canola oil will do!
Assemble the cake
Once all the components are done, it’s assembling time!
Spread 1/2 of the coconut pecan frosting onto one of the cakes. Place the second cake on top and frost both cakes with the chocolate frosting.
Spread the remaining coconut pecan frosting on top.
Okay, so a cake with three elements can be daunting, but with a little planning, it’s really not bad!
- Make the cakes a day in advance
- Ensure cakes and coconut frosting are completely cool before assembling! Can’t stress this enough. Baking the cakes a day in advance will help with this!
If you want to get really fancy with this recipe, use icing bags and cake tips to pipe along the edges of the cake.
I personally like the raw more natural look of using just a frosting spatula.
Variations of this vegan German chocolate cake:
- Substitute flour with a GF blend for a gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake
- Make cupcakes instead of a cake! You can hollow out the center and fill with the coconut pecan frosting and frost the top with the chocolate frosting
If you tried this vegan German chocolate cake, let me know in the comments below and share a photo using #mindfulavocado. I’d love to hear from you! Want to see more recipes? Let’s get social! CONNECT WITH ME on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to see what I’m currently cooking up!
If you liked this recipe, you’ll LOVE
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Vegan German Chocolate Cake
For the Chocolate Cake:
- 2 flax eggs 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed + 5 Tablespoons water)
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1+3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups cane sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot water
For the Coconut Frosting:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut milk canned
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1.5 cup chopped pecans
- 1.5 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
For the Chocolate Frosting:
- 1/2 cup vegan butter melted
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
- mixing bowls
- icing spatula optional; can use a butter knife
- cake pans
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray.
- Make flax eggs: Stir ground flax seeds and water together. Place in the fridge.
- Combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Mix and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
- Remove flax eggs from the fridge and in a small mixing bowl, combine "buttermilk", applesauce, flax eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Pour wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Add hot water and whisk. The batter should be thin and pourable. Pour the batter into cake pans about 3/4 full.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes. To check doneness, insert a toothpick in the center and it should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Flip cake pans upside down and the cakes should come out with ease. Let cool on cooling rack until completely cooled (about 20-30 minutes).
Coconut Pecan Frosting:
- In a medium saucepan add brown sugar, coconut oil, cornstarch, vanilla, and coconut milk. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat. Whisk constantly for 10 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken and get syrup-like.
- Remove from heat and stir in chopped pecans and shredded coconut. Add more coconut or chopped pecans if frosting is liquidly. It should be thick. (see step photos above)
- Allow to cool completely before assembling the cake.
Vegan Chocolate Frosting:
- Pour melted vegan butter and cocoa powder into mixing bowl. Whisk together until well combined.
- Add powdered sugar and milk. Whisk together until desired consistency is reached. Add more milk if frosting is too thick or more powdered sugar if frosting is too runny.
- Place one of the cake rounds on your serving stand or plate.
- Spoon 1/2 of the coconut pecan frosting on top and spread evenly.
- Place the second cake on top. Frost entire cake with the chocolate frosting.
- Spoon remaining coconut frosting on top of the cake.
This recipe was adapted from Taste Better from Scratch
Please note this post may contain affiliate links which do not impact the cost to you but gives me a small commission. Thank you for your support!
50 thoughts on “Vegan German Chocolate Cake + VIDEO!”
OHMYGOSH!! I’d love to have this right now!! What an incredible cake recipe. SO pretty too.
Thanks, Julie! I hope you enjoy!
This looks so delicious! German Chocolate cake is my fave!
It’s one of mine too, Beth!
Definetly this recipe looks great and i really wanna try it but as a German i wonder what is “German” here? We hv traditional chocolate cakes but this recipe is Not one of them. Can anybody explain? Peace 😉
Hi Salome! Ironically, German chocolate cake is an American tradition. It typically calls for German baking chocolate which is where it gets the name from!
WOW is all I can say about this decadent vegan chocolate cake! I love the photos showing each step. It really breaks it down so it doesn’t feel daunting.
I’m glad you find the process shots useful! This might seem like an intimidating cake, but it’s not so bad once you break it up!
I absolutely must give this cake a go. It is amazing. I also love the addition of applesauce – it is great and keeps the cake moist – what a great recipe. Soooo appetising and yummy!
Yes applesauce is GREAT in vegan baking! Hope you enjoy, Ramona!
Hello, This is a fantastic recipe, thank you for sharing it with us. I am a good food lover and We like baking chocolate cake.
Glad you enjoyed, Bettie!
I made the coconut pecan frosting and followed the directions exactly. The amount of nuts/coconut was FAR too much and my “frosting” turned into a dry, crumbly mixture that resembled nothing like frosting! If I could go back I would use 1/3 the amount mentioned! I am so bummed and wasted so many ingredients!
I’m SO sorry this did not turn out for you! I’ve tested this recipe several times and I have had others claim it turned out great for them. Did you maybe pack the coconut flakes and pecans? Also, if the mixture from the stove does not get thick enough, it will not bind to the nuts and coconut. The consistency should be a thick/syrupy mixture.
I made this and it turned out great! The cake was amazing and worked out really well! It was moist and firm and actually came out of the pan as promised. I was lazy and used some remade vegan chocolate frosting and just added coconut shreds and some oat milk to in the Cuisinart. I didn’t have enough, so I used Trader Joe’s reduced sugar cherry jelly in the middle. It was wonderful. I will definitely make this again!!!!
Sounds like a great improvise! So happy you enjoyed it!
Cake turned out great (I used real eggs instead of flax). But I had The same issue with the pecan / coconut mixture that someone else did above. I follow the directions exactly It definitely did turn into a syrup, but after it cooled it turned crumbly and dry. And the recipe for the frosting has way too much milk.
Thanks so much for the feedback! If the pecan/coconut frosting got dry and crumbly after it cooled it sounds like it was cooked for too long. I’ve never run into this issue before but if it is cooked down for too long, there will be no liquid left. If the frosting is too runny, you can always add more powdered sugar to thicken it up!
Delicious! I made it for my birthday today. Not too sweet but very satisfying. Next time I will put less coconut filling in between my layers. It displays beautifully! Thank you for the recipe.
So happy you enjoyed this cake! Happy Birthday!
Made this yesterday on my birthday. So risky, but the cake couldnt have turned out better. Such a moist cake and tastes better than any german chocolate cake I’ve had!!
So happy you enjoyed! Happy belated birthday!
This vegan chocolate cake looks heavenly! You had me at moist chocolate cake with pecan coconut filling.
My husband asked for german chocolate cake for his birthday, this is perfect!!
My hat off to the recipe developer! This was a super moist delicious vegan cake and I would make it again! It turned out great.
Thank you so much, Heidy!
Wow! What an incredible cake! It looks delicious, thank you for sharing such a great recipe!
OMG drooooling on my keyboard with this cake. Such easy substitutions to make it vegan. I can’t wait to try this frosting!
Thanks, Andrea! The frosting is the best part!
I love trying out vegan recipes in the place of non-vegan recipes. This will be really popular at our next ladies tea and cake morning!
German chocolate is a favorite of mine and this is delicious! I loved the method for the flax eggs because I had not tried it before and it worked like a charm!
This is one of my favorite cakes! and I didn’t even know that you can make it vegan. Definitely will put it on my “to do” list and will try it next weekend!
I love that you can make this vegan and it still turns out so fantastic! Perfect for my vegan friends birthday…
Had never baked a vegan cake before – I made this to drop off at a vegan friends house who’s sheltering alone and it was her birthday yesterday. She was so happy!! Thank you!
Thanks for sharing, Alin! I hope your friend enjoyed!
The coconut pecan frosting turned out beautifully. Not too sweet, delicious taste. I did add a little less coconut and pecans to the mixture because I wanted a more gel-like texture. It’s the only part of this recipe I made because I used boxed vegan/GF frosting and cake mix for times sake.
Sounds delicious! Love the modifications!
Hi! This looks amazing! What could I substitute for the flour with a gluten free option? Almond flour, gf all purpose, oatmeal flour? And what quantity?
Bobs 1-1 GF flour should work best! Other flours are not an equal substitution.
Question could I make this recipe into 3 ”8 inch cakes with the same amount of filling and frosting
Hi Sofia, I’ve never made this recipe with 3 8″ pans. You should have enough filling, but the frosting might be a stretch. You probably do not need to double the frosting, but maybe make one and a half the amount. I hope that helps!
This came out PERFECTLY!!!!!!!!! I followed all the instructions exactly, and everything turned out amazing. I made this for my husband’s birthday, and it was so hard not to dive in and start eating it before his birthday dinner! Thank you for a delicious and clearly-written recipe!
This makes me so happy to hear! Thanks for your feedback, Danna!
how much sugar can i omit without messing up the cake?
I wouldn’t recommend altering the ingredients in a baking recipe!
The only part that came out nicely was the coconut pecan filling part. The chocolate icing required more like SIX cups of powdered sugar and even at that point it was still slightly runny. The biggest problem was the cake itself. It was not thin and pourable, it was not stackable…rather it crumbled apart. I’ve made many cakes, improvised tons of times…this was by far a cake fail. 😩
Oh no Heather. I’m so sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you! I’ve made this cake many times with all positive results. If the cake batter was too thick, maybe there wasn’t enough almond milk? Also, for the frosting, it sounds like there was too much almond milk there as well. Did you use all the same ingredients or make some substitutions?
BEST German chocolate cake ever. Just devoured a piece. It was soooo good. Better than I expected. Thanks so much!
So happy you enjoyed it, Jess! I appreciate you taking the time to review my recipe 🙂