I think you'll all agree that this picture of my Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake is not going to win a prize. You're not going to see it go viral on pinterest. In fact, when the cake was finished, since the top layer was baked in a smaller cake pan than the rest, it kind of had a Leaning Tower of Pisa look. I wondered if it would make it! The truth is, this cake was never intended to go on my blog. It was simply meant as a gluten free version of my hubby's favorite cake--a treat for his birthday. But, when we tasted it, I quickly snapped some pictures because it was sooooo good!
If you came for the recipe, keep scrolling. If you came for the story of why the super easy cake that should have taken 1 hour actually took four, read on! (Don't worry. It won't take you four hours to make this cake. Two tired women plus an incredibly long day and a series of unfortunate events added up to one crazy cake baking story!) If you have ever baked with a house full of kids and guests on very little sleep, you will relate to this story. If you haven't, you will probably leave thinking that my mom and I are both completely nuts.
This post is a deviation from what you'll usually find on my site. Instead of posed pictures and perfected instructions, you'll find a candid look into my crazy everyday life. (Yep. My life is full of messes, failed recipes, and crazy days--just like yours!) That pretty cake stand? It's not mine. If I had been at my house, the cake most likely would have been served on a dinner plate!
Here we go! This cake starts with 2 cake mixes. What could be easier than that, right? Wrong!
Here's what happened on the baking front while kids ran in and out of the kitchen, my sister peppered my mom and me with questions about an event she was planning, and our sleepy brains tried to double recipes while our hands dirtied almost every dish in the kitchen:
- Started one cake mix, but somehow only added half the butter.
- Carefully cut waxed paper into circles and lined the baking pans.
- Poured cake batter into two of the nicely lined pans.
- Realized half the butter was missing.
- Poured batter back into the mixing bowl and scraped as much as possible off of the waxed paper.
- Licked fingers (can't waste the chocolate).
- Washed and dried the baking pans and relined them with waxed paper.
- Opted to mix both cake mixes together (adding the correct amount of butter).
- Made a mess melting chocolate.
- Added secret ingredient.
- Poured into baking pans and put into oven to bake.
- Started batch number one of coconut-pecan filling and frosting.
- Discovered that evaporated milk had separated in the can, but didn't know how it would effect the frosting. (Shook it up really well.)
- Cooked and stirred, and cooked and stirred, and cooked and stirred, but the frosting never set up.
- Hummed and hawed with Heidi for ten to fifteen minutes over whether or not to start over.
- Tried adding powdered sugar to the frosting to make it set up. Didn't work.
- Decided to start over.
- Out of eggs! Sent Heidi home to get more.
- Started batch 2. Looked good.
- Cooked and stirred, and cooked and stirred, but it wasn't setting up--again!
- Oh, no! We forgot to add the sugar!
- Added sugar.
- Cooked and stirred
- It worked this time!
- Finished frosting. Let it cool.
Heidi and Mom
- Laughed hysterically as Heidi put the layers together and frosted the cake.
- Laughed more as Heidi put frosting along the outside edges and then scraped it off because it didn't look good.
- Laughed even more when Mom innocently said, "I wonder why the frosting doesn't taste the same as it usually does."
Crazy day. Fantastically yummy cake. Happy Birthday boy.
I'm sure you want to skip the four hours part, so here's the easy way to make this delicious cake!
Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake
- 2 Boxes of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil's Food Cake Mix
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 6 eggs
- 3-4 squares of Baker's German Sweet Chocolate
Preheat oven to 350°.
Prepare cake according to box directions, combining both mixes. Melt chocolate and allow it to cool slightly before adding it to the mix.
Prepare three 8" or 9" round pans by lining them with waxed paper.
Pour batter evenly into the three pans.
Baking time depends on your pans. Start with 20 minutes, but it will most likely take 30. (Cake is ready when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. A few crumbs are okay.)
Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting (Recipe from Baker's German Sweet Chocolate)
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
- 1 ½ c sugar
- ¾ c butter or margarine
- 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ⅔ c angel flake coconut
- 1 ½ c chopped pecans
Mix milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla in a large saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat for 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown. Remove from heat.
Add the coconut and pecans and mix well. Cool until it is spreadable.
Now just put it all together!
I use a serrated knife to carefully slice a bit of the rounded top off of each layer. The more you slice off, the nicer your layers will lay. I didn't slice off very much, so my layers were pretty messy. Spread frosting between each layer and on top, and you're all done.
No, this is not a sponsored post for Betty Crocker. I do have some recipes for gluten free chocolate cake. I'm sure they are really good. I haven't tried any yet because this cake mix is really good, and it's quick and easy. When I have time to get fancy, maybe I'll branch out and bake a chocolate cake from scratch. For now, I'll stick to jazzing up this tasty and simple box cake.
*3/17 Update: I have to laugh. This cake--which I thought was so ugly with the picture that was taken at the last minute in horrible lighting with no staging--was accepted to Food Gawker! I have never had a picture accepted to Food Gawker--ever. I had to laugh! I guess maybe I'm trying too hard.
Thanks for stopping by today. While you're here, check out some of these yummy gluten free recipes. (Images below are linked to posts. Click the image to visit the post.)
German Chocolate Cake reminds me of my childhood. My Mother stood over the stove and made this scrumptious dessert a few times a year and I could never get enough. This post brought back wonderful memories, I can't wait to try it.
What a fun memory, Mary! My mom made it growing up, too. It's my dad's favorite, and now it's my hubby's too.
You may say this isn't the prettiest but let me tell ya, I'm drooling all over my keyboard!
Thanks, Marilyn. It's actually my first and only picture to be accepted to Food Gawker! I guess I'm trying too hard!
I think the cake looks delicious! And I loved reading about your cake-making fiasco. I'm the queen of kitchen disasters, so it's good to know I'm not alone!
Thanks, Heidi. I thought I was the queen of kitchen disasters! Glad to know I'm not alone. (It must be the name!)
Alyssa @ Simply Quinoa
I just love how ooey and gooey German chocolate cake looks. Just dreamy! Pinning and can't wait to try it :)
Thanks, Alyssa. I hope you love it. It's super easy--if you skip all my mistakes! :-)
Audrey @ Unconventional Baker
Haha. Had to laugh at the first part. Been there, done that so many times. I'm always inclined to pass on a recipe I don't think turned out to look quite good, then we skip straight ahead to eating and regret not having taken the photos after all, then grab a camera quickly and try to salvage something photo worthy after all... I've even been known to "confiscate" plates from my friends as a last resort in order to snap a photo in those situations :). Strangely enough, some recipes this happened to me with ended up being the most popular recipes on my blog :) At the end of the day, it's the taste that counts! And a good gooey German chocolate cake can't be anything but delicious :)
Thanks, Audrey! That's exactly what happened with this cake. I took a picture at the last second, and it got accepted to Food Gawker! (I've never had anything accepted to Food Gawker before!) It's crazy. I guess the cake's not as ugly as I thought! (My lemon cupcakes, however, which I think turned out so pretty, were not accepted. Go figure!)
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts
There's no such thing as bad German Chocolate Cake. Not having even remotely decent photos for some recipes (far worse than yours--yours are great in comparison) that we devoured is one reason some of my best recipes are not on my blog. I always plan to re-make them and get good photos, but often it just doesn't happen. :-( I have to confess I don't always like perfect photos anyway ... I want realism and you've got it this post! :-)
Thanks, Shirley! I may just stop trying to get things so perfect. Who has the time? (Off to check out your bread recipes.)
My husband's favorite cake is German Chocolate! I will definitely have to try out this recipe for his birthday in April. It looks delicious!
I hope he likes the cake. It's kind of a cheat starting with the boxed mix, but it tasted great, and that's what counts!
Sharon @ What The Fork Food Blog
Sometimes the most delicious tasting cakes are not the prettiest. But taste trumps looks any day!
Thanks, Sharon. I totally agree! It's all about the taste (except when you're a blogger!).
Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays Party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest!
Thanks so much, Cindy! I always love your parties.
Thanks for this! I used the generic gluten free HEB brand chocolate cake mix. adding chocolate and altering the ratio of fat/water really was a success. I used your coconut mixture as the inbetween filling and top, then made a chocolate buttercream to dress up the sides.
This was probably the best cake I’ve ever made!
Hi, Aaron. I’m so glad this worked for you! Betty Crocker GF cake mixes aren’t as easy to find anymore. I’d love to hear how you altered the fat ratio for the HEB brand cake mix.
Thank so much. The cake turned out perfectly. And even looked edible. Thanks to your perfect instructions.
I’m so glad it turned out for you! It’s a lot easier than making the cake from scratch. Thanks for coming back to leave a comment.
Hi Heidi! I’m Heidi!!
One quick question....... you said follow box directions, but in the ingredients list it says 6 eggs where boxes would be 4.
I’m making this now I’m trying to determine what to do!!
I know I won’t get the answer in time but I’m gonna do my best thank you for this recipe I making it for my husband also who just found out he’s allergic to wheat. ❤️Thank you again!
Sorry for the confusion about the eggs. It has been ages since I’ve made this. It should be six eggs total (not 6 plus the eggs listed on the box).
I hope you were able to make it work.
There are many yummy treats that can be made without wheat, so I hope your hubby doesn’t get discouraged.