Decadent chocolate cake, a sweet caramel pecan coconut filling, and rich chocolate buttercream make up this super dreamy Vegan German Chocolate Cake. This cake is incredible and undetectably vegan!

Close up on a frosted chocolate cake with a pecan caramel sauce on top.

Calling all chocolate, caramel, and coconut lovers! This Vegan German Chocolate Cake is for you.

Every decadent German chocolate cake​​ recipe comes with three delicious layers:​​

  1. Moist chocolate cake
  2. A caramelly coconut pecan filling
  3. And chocolate frosting

Every slice is loaded with sweetness and just the right amount of chocolate. While Vegan Chocolate Cake is rich and chocolatey, German chocolate cake tastes more like caramel and is always super moist. It’s a real indulgent dessert that would be welcome at any celebration or around the holidays!

Fork cutting into a slice of frosted chocolate cake.

German chocolate cake vs. regular chocolate cake

Did you know that German chocolate cake doesn’t actually come from Germany? The recipe was invented in the United States by the baker, Samuel German!

German chocolate cake is moist, sweet, and rich. Sounds like a regular chocolate cake, right? The major difference between the two is that German chocolate cake has a layer of caramel-like coconut pecan filling on the inside and on top. It’s also traditionally made with a little less cocoa powder, allowing more room for the coconut and pecan flavors to shine through.

How to make vegan German chocolate cake

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

To start, bake the two layers of chocolate cake:

  1. Pour the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together in a bowl. Leave it for a few minutes to curdle (this acts as a substitute for buttermilk).
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined.
  3. Finish by slowly whisking in the boiling hot water. You’ll know it’s ready when the batter looks runny.
  4. Pour the batter into your cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Prepare the coconut pecan filling and chocolate frosting while you wait for the cakes to cool:

Whisk the coconut milk and cornstarch together in a bowl or measuring cup.

Whisking milk in a glass measuring cup.

Melt the vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Next, add the sugars and coconut milk mixture. Stir until it’s bubbling and looks like a thin caramel.

milk, butter, and brown sugar in a black saucepan.

Don’t worry that it seems thin; it thickens up considerably as it cools.

a thin golden brown sauce in a black saucepan.

Take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla, chopped pecans, and coconut flakes.

coconut shreds and chopped pecans in top of a caramel sauce in a black saucepan.

Transfer to a bowl and leave it to cool (you can stick it in the refrigerator to speed this up).

a brown caramel liquid with pecans in a black pot.

Look how thick and caramelly it gets after chilling. Try not to eat it all by the spoonful!

A spoon stirring a thick caramel sauce with pecans in a glass bowl.

The vegan chocolate frosting is a breeze to make:

To make the frosting, beat the butter in a bowl until it looks creamy. Add the cocoa, powdered sugar, vanilla, and soy milk. Mix until everything is combined and the frosting looks fluffy. Yum!

Whipped chocolate frosting in a glass bowl.

It’s assembly time! You’re minutes away from enjoying decadent eggless German chocolate cake:

  1. To the first layer of chocolate cake, add a smooth layer of chocolate frosting on top. Spoon on half of the coconut pecan mixture and spread it into a smooth layer. 
  2. Stack the second cake layer on top. Spread some frosting on top and over the sides of the entire cake. Pipe some frosting around the top of the cake, if desired.
  3. Spoon the rest of the coconut pecan filling on top, then slice and enjoy! The cake is a little messy when sliced right away. For cleaner pieces, refrigerate the whole cake for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
A layer of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a pecan caramel sauce on top.

Can it be made gluten free?

Use my Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake as a base layer to turn this into a vegan and gluten free German chocolate cake. The coconut pecan filling and chocolate frosting are both naturally gluten free.

Tips and substitutions

  • Is the frosting too thick? Stir in another tablespoon or two of soy milk. 
  • Is the frosting too thin? Keep adding powdered sugar until you have a spreadable frosting.
  • Decorating – To help contain the coconut pecan mixture on top of the cake, use a piping bag to pipe some frosting in a circle around the edge.
  • Make it ahead of time – Feel free to bake the cakes, frosting, and filling 1 to 2 weeks ahead of serving. Wrap the cakes in plastic and refrigerate or freeze. Store the frosting and filling in covered containers in the fridge.

Freezing chocolate cake

The unfrosted baked cakes freeze very well on their own when wrapped in plastic. Alternatively, you can freeze the assembled slices and enjoy them as a quick freezer dessert later on!

Close up on a frosted chocolate cake with a pecan caramel sauce on top.

More vegan cakes to try

Close up on a frosted chocolate cake with a pecan caramel sauce on top.
5 stars (29 ratings)

Vegan German Chocolate Cake

Decadent chocolate cake, a sweet caramel pecan coconut filling, and rich chocolate buttercream make up this super dreamy Vegan German Chocolate Cake. This cake is incredible and undetectably vegan!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 16 servings


Chocolate Cake

Coconut Pecan Filling

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk, as needed


For the chocolate cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray two 8-inch round cake pans with oil. I also line them with a circle of parchment paper for easy removal.
  • Measure 1 cup of soy milk and add the tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to it. Stir and set aside to curdle.
  • In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer with whisk attachment), add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk well to combine.
  • To the bowl with the dry ingredients, add the oil, applesauce, vanilla and milk/vinegar mixture. Mix on medium speed, either with a hand mixer or a stand mixer, until well combined. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Lower the speed and slowly pour in the boiling hot water, continuing to mix until combined. The batter will seem runny, which is correct.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 35-37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. After 10 minutes of cooling in the pans, carefully invert the cakes onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the coconut pecan filling

  • In a glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the vegan butter over medium heat, then add the brown sugar, granulated sugar and coconut milk/cornstarch mixture and stir to combine. Stir for 5 minutes. It should be bubbling and look like thin caramel. It will thicken as it cools.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, chopped pecans and coconut flakes. Allow it to cool completely before layering.

For the chocolate frosting

  • Make sure your vegan butter is softened but not at all melted. If it's melted the frosting will be runny and not work.
  • Add the vegan butter to a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer (or stand mixer with whisk attachment) for about 2 minutes, until creamy.
  • Sift in the cocoa powder if clumpy and add the powdered sugar, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of soy milk. Beat on low speed until the powdered sugar starts to incorporate, then increase the speed and beat for 3-4 minutes, until well combined and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add another tablespoon or two of soy milk. If it's too thin, add additional powdered sugar until you have a spreadable frosting.

Cake assembly

  • Place one cake layer on your cake stand or plate. Smooth a thin layer of chocolate frosting over the cake layer, then spoon half of the coconut pecan mixture on top, spreading it into a smooth layer. Leave 1/2 inch between the filling and the edge of the cake.
  • Stack the second cake layer on top, then spread chocolate frosting over and on the sides of the whole cake. I also piped some frosting in a circle on top, which helps contain the coconut pecan mixture.
  • Spoon the rest of the coconut pecan filling on top of the cake. Serve and enjoy!


  1. Freeze – This cake freezes well if needed, though I prefer to cut slices, wrap them well and freeze for a quick freezer dessert!
  2. Make Ahead – Feel free to bake the cakes and make each frosting ahead of time, up to 1-2 weeks ahead of when you plan to serve it. For the cakes, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. Store the frosting and filling in covered containers.
  3. Gluten free – Make my Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cake as the base layer to make this recipe gluten free.


Serving: 1of 16 servings | Calories: 596kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 390mg | Potassium: 312mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 712IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. I made this for my vegan daughter’s birthday party and it was fantastic. It was easy to make and the recipe was easy to follow. We will definitely make this cake again! So moist and rich!

    1. Hi Sue. Happy birthday to your daughter! I’m so glad the cake turned out great! Thanks for your fabulous feedback and review!

  2. I have a bad track record with making vegan layered cakes but gave this one a try for my non-vegan partner’s birthday. It turned out PHENOMENAL! I normally have issues with the cakes leaning and/or the frosting oozing out.

    I baked the cakes the night before and let them cool on a wire rack with a cloth on top over night. I made the caramel pecan filling the day before and refrigerated it. I let it warm to room temp before adding to the cake. I made 3/4 the batch of chocolate frosting because I didn’t have enough vegan butter for a full batch.

    I ultimately ended up using 3/4 of the caramel pecan filling and about 1/2 the chocolate frosting. I love sweets but I think if I had used all of the filling and frosting this cake would have been too rich for even me.

    Overall a win and likely a cake that I will continue to make!

    1. Hi Mar. How fabulous the cake turned out great for you! Happy birthday to your partner! I really appreciate you sharing your baking experience with this recipe! Thank you for you awesome review! Wishing you lots of happy baking!

  3. I just absolutely love this cake it came out and it was delicious but I want to make it to a 10 inch how much batter do I put in there how long do I cook it?

    1. Hi Diane. This recipe should make enough batter for one 10-inch cake pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

  4. 5 ⭐️ rating on the coconut pecan filling!!! Many other recipes use egg(s) but we have egg sensitivities/allergies so I tried Nora’s recipe. It’s absolutely THE BEST we’ve ever indulged in!!! This will be one of our FAVs forever!!! Thank you very much, Nora!!!

  5. This cake was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life. It’s now a staple, one I’ll be happy to make every single time. Thank you so much, Nora!

  6. Hi. Great recipe. I made this cake and it turned out great. It was my first time trying something like this. When I was making the frosting, I added the 2 tablespoons of soy milk, and then 2 more,but it would not get creamy. I kept adding milk and it finally became creamy and it was great. Is 2-4 tablespoons the right amount in the recipe, or did I do something wrong?

    1. I’m thrilled you liked the cake! Yes, 2-4 tbsp is correct, but the amount can vary depending on the consistency you prefer.

  7. Hello! I’ll be making a 5″ cake and cupcakes out of the rest of the batter (the birthday dude likes German chocolate, but coconut is a divisive flavor in my circle). What time/temp would you suggest for the cupcakes? I was thinking 350 for 15 minutes, but what would you suggest, since you know your recipe best

  8. Using your recipe to have a cake made as a surprise retirement party cake for my hubby. Our baker will be buying the vegan butter; what brand would you suggest?

      1. Thank you! I was thinking that bc it holds together better than Mioko for something like this 😊

  9. I made this cake for my moms 74th birthday as it’s her favorite cake and we’re vegan. She loves it so much – said it was the best German chocolate cake she had ever had! I agree, it’s insanely good! We are making it again this weekend for a birthday party along with the regular chocolate cake and I’m going to try the gluten free chocolate cake recipe for the first time. Thank you for these amazing recipes!!!

  10. I found this recipe on the internet while trying to find a cake that fit the bill for my dairy, soy, gluten intolerant kiddo. I used gluten free flour and almond milk. It was perfect and everyone loved it! Lack of dairy (or top 8 allergens) does not mean lack of flavor and deliciousness! My older non-food allergy tween said it’s the best cake she’s EVER had. Thank you for a great recipe!

    1. Hi Mollie! I’m so glad your children loved the cake! I agree that lack of dairy does not mean lack of flavor! I’m so glad my recipes can be enjoyed by so many! Thanks for sharing your terrific feedback!

      1. To do it sugar free, what can I use to substitute them? It’s for a person who follows an hypoglycemic diet.

        1. Hi Belinda. Unfortunately, you won’t achieve the same results with sugar substitutes. You could try using coconut sugar or date sugar in place of the granulated sugars, but I can’t say if they’ll work well or not. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

          1. Made this today for my birthday, since German chocolate cake is my favorite – it was PERFECT! I used unsweetened coconut flakes and chopped them up; it worked fine.

            My husband and I enjoyed this! Thank you for this recipe, it will be my go-to vegan German chocolate cake❤️

        2. Hey Belinda!
          I use monkfruit as a substitute in all my desserts and don’t have any issues. I typically do a 2:1 ratio which means if there is 2 cups of flour, I do 1 cup of sugar (aka monkfruit) because it can be slightly sweeter than normal sugar. I make desserts for work and no one can tell! I hope you get this and can make this cake. I just made it and it came out delicious!

  11. Very excited to be making this cake for my family. We can’t do soy milk so can I substitute with almond or coconut milk? Many thanks!!!

      1. Thank you so much for this recipe. This cake was amazing!!! My uncle said this is the very best German choc cake he’s tasted (including those with dairy). We love it! Cant wait to try your other vegan recipes!

  12. This is the best German Chocolate Cake ever! I’ve made it several times and no one believes it’s vegan. The taste is amazing! Thank you so much for your recipes. I’m going to make your lemon cake next.

    1. Hi Michelle. You are welcome! Your positive feedback is so uplifting! Thank you for sharing! Enjoy the lemon cake, and happy baking!

  13. I have baked your vegan chocolate cake numerous times for my sister in law with dairy and egg allergies and it’s always a hit! Tried this for my husband’s birthday and it may be all of our new favorites!! Thanks for wonderful, easy to follow, and consistent vegan recipes!!

    1. Hi Kara. How wonderful that the cakes are a hit, and that your husband loved. his birthday cake! I’m thrilled that you are finding my recipes delicious AND easy to follow! Thanks for your wonderful feedback! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  14. Thank you for such a successful vegan cake experience!!

    We also love your other recipes, such as vegan pesto. thanks so much.

    1. Hi Julianne. How wonderful that you are using and loving my recipes! I’m so glad! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful feedback!

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