Chef AJ’s World-Famous German Chocolate Cake

Enjoy my guilt-free World-Famous German Chocolate Cake—layers of chocolatey goodness and coconut bliss, no added oil, sugar, or salt! A guilt-free treat for any occasion!

chef aj german chocolate cake feature

Why I Love This Recipe

Hey there, plant-based enthusiasts! It’s Chef AJ, your guide to quick-and-easy, healthy eating. When I’m not busy creating oil-free, refined sugar-free, and salt-free recipes, I’m interviewing incredible plant-based experts for my YouTube show. With my busy schedule, I need recipes that are not only delicious but also quick and simple to prepare. Today, I’m excited to share one of my most popular dessert recipes: Chef AJ’s World-Famous German Chocolate Cake.

Did you know that German Chocolate Cake is not German? It was named after an American baker named Samuel German who created a new type of dark baking chocolate while working for Baker’s Chocolate Company. In his honor, it was called Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate. More than one hundred years later, a homemaker in Texas created a recipe that she called “German’s Chocolate Cake” because she used the baking chocolate from Baker’s Chocolate Company that was named after Samuel. That recipe was published by the Dallas Morning News. And today that cake is known as German Chocolate Cake.

This recipe was created out of a request from C.H.I.P founder, Dr. Hans Diehl, and I am so thankful he suggested it because it was the best-selling cake at the restaurant where I worked. I once made 30 of these cakes for a PCRM event and had to enlist the help of her neighbors to store them!

This German Chocolate Cake combines the rich flavors of chocolate and coconut with wholesome, plant-based ingredients, making it not only delicious but also free from added oil, refined sugar, and salt. It’s a perfect choice for any occasion, whether you’re celebrating a special event or simply treating yourself to something sweet!

Key Ingredients

  • Gluten-Free Baking Flour: Ensure to use gluten-free baking flour such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour or King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour for the best texture.
  • Cocoa Powder: Provides rich chocolate flavor without added sugar.
  • Date Syrup: Adds sweetness and moisture to the cake.
  • Unsweetened Plant Milk: Enhances the batter’s consistency and creaminess.
  • Applesauce: Acts as a natural binder and adds moisture.
  • Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips (optional): Intensifies the chocolate flavor, if desired. These can be found at Whole Foods.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Essential leavening agents for a light and fluffy texture.
  • Vanilla Bean Powder: Adds depth of flavor.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Reacts with baking soda to help the cake rise.

The Process

Cake Preparation:

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).
  2. Blend Wet Ingredients: In a high-speed blender, briefly blend the date syrup, plant milk, cocoa powder, applesauce, and vanilla bean powder until fully combined. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, mix these ingredients in a large bowl using a whisk.
  3. Incorporate Dry Ingredients: Add the gluten-free baking flour, baking powder, and baking soda to the blender or bowl. Process briefly until the flour is fully incorporated. Be careful not to overprocess.
  4. Add Vinegar: Pour in the apple cider vinegar and briefly process again until just mixed.
  5. Prepare Cake Pans: Evenly distribute the batter into three 8-inch silicone baking pans. Optionally, sprinkle 1⁄3 cup of chocolate chips over the batter in each pan.
  6. Bake: Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, invert the cakes onto a plate to prepare for assembly.

Filling:

  1. Melt Chocolate: Using a double boiler or carefully in a nonstick sauté pan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips and date syrup until smooth, stirring constantly.
  2. Blend Filling: Transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a high-speed blender or food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Add the Mori-Nu Silken tofu, cocoa powder, plant milk, and vanilla bean powder. Blend or process until smooth and creamy. Transfer the filling to a bowl and refrigerate until firm.

Frosting:

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the Date Paste, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, and vanilla bean powder. Mix well until all ingredients are fully incorporated. If not assembling the cake immediately, cover and refrigerate the frosting until ready to use.

Assembly:

  1. Layering: Place half of the prepared filling on top of one cooled cake layer, spreading it evenly. Repeat with another cake layer and the remaining filling.
  2. Frost the Cake: Using latex-free food service gloves if desired, evenly spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Start with the sides and work your way up to the top, ensuring the frosting is smooth and even.
  3. Final Touches: Sprinkle unsweetened coconut over the frosted cake. Optionally, garnish with whole pecans by lightly pressing them into the frosting using a bit of additional Date Paste to help them stick.
chef aj german chocolate cake slice

Chef’s Tips

  • The flour used in this recipe must be gluten-free baking flour, not simply the flour of any gluten-free grain like rice or millet. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour or King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour.
  • For best results, allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
  • Store any leftover Date Paste frosting in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use. If you have any leftover frosting, use it to make an incredibly decadent Caramel Apple!
  • Date-sweetened chocolate chips can be found at Whole Foods or purchased online.
  • Vanilla bean powder can be purchased online.
  • Using the high-speed blender to mix the cake batter is a time-saver.
  • I use dark cocoa powder for the cake recipe.
  • I use 8-inch silicone baking pans. If you cool the cakes completely, they pop out of the pans very easily. If you want to make two layers, you can do that. I like doing three layers because it’s a little more spectacular when you cut into it.
  • A double boiler works well to melt the chocolate for the filling layer. You must be very mindful when melting the chocolate in a pan on the stove. It can scorch quickly.
  • The tofu for the filling must be the aseptic shelf-stable silken tofu and not the version that is water-packed and found in the refrigerated section of the store. Medium or firm tofu works for this recipe as well.

How to Store Chef AJ’s World-Famous German Chocolate Cake

Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving for the best taste and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use regular flour instead of gluten-free baking flour?

Yes, you can substitute regular flour, but for a gluten-free version, stick to gluten-free baking flour for best results.

Can I omit the chocolate chips?

Yes, you can omit the chocolate chips if desired. The cake will still turn out delicious without them.

Can I use a different type of nut for the frosting?

Yes, you can substitute pecans with other nuts like walnuts or almonds for a different flavor profile. Adjust quantities as needed.

Serving Suggestion

Chef AJ’s Plant-Based German Chocolate Cake is delicious on its own or paired with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream. Garnish with shredded coconut and whole pecans.

Summary

Chef AJ’s German Chocolate Cake is the ultimate blend of chocolate and coconut flavors, crafted without added oil, refined sugar, or salt. It’s a wholesome treat that’s both delicious and satisfying, ideal for sharing with loved ones or enjoying on your own!

If you tried this recipe, I’d love to see your results! Share your culinary creation on social media and tag me. As the Queen of Quick and Easy, nothing makes me happier than seeing how my convenient plant-based recipes inspire your kitchen adventures. Let’s celebrate the love of cooking and enjoy the deliciousness together!

chef aj german chocolate cake feature

Chef AJ’s World-Famous German Chocolate Cake

Enjoy my guilt-free World-Famous German Chocolate Cake—layers of chocolatey goodness and coconut bliss, no added oil, sugar, or salt! A guilt-free treat for any occasion!
Servings: 12

Equipment

  • High-speed blender optional
  • 3 8-inch silicone baking pans
  • Double boiler or nonstick sauté pan

Ingredients 

The Cake

  • 3 cups (approx. 12 oz.) gluten-free BAKING flour (see Chef's Tip)
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • cups date syrup
  • 2 cups unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 5 ounces (about 1 cup) unsweetened or date-sweetened dairy-free chocolate chips, optional
  • tsp. aluminum and sodium-free baking powder
  • tsp. sodium-free baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean powder
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Filling

  • 1 (12.3-ounce) package Mori-Nu Silken tofu, extra firm
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 5 ounces (about 1 cup) unsweetened or date-sweetened dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup date syrup
  • cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean powder

Frosting

  • 3 cups Date Paste
  • 5 ounces (about 2 cups) unsweetened coconut, medium shred
  • 10 ounces (about 2½ cups) chopped, raw, unsalted pecans
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean powder
  • whole pecans, for garnish
  • unsweetened coconut, fine shred, for garnish
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Instructions 

The Cake

  • Preheat oven to 325℉.
  • Using a high-speed blender, briefly blend the date syrup, plant milk, cocoa powder, applesauce, and vanilla bean powder until ingredients are fully incorporated. If you do not have a high-speed blender, then mix ingredients together in a large bowl using a whisk.
  • Next, add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and process briefly until flour is incorporated.
  • Then add the apple cider vinegar and briefly process again. Do not overprocess.
  • Pour batter evenly into three 8-inch silicone baking pans. If desired, divide the cup of chocolate chips and sprinkle 1⁄3 cup over the cake batter of each pan.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. Then invert cakes onto a plate for assembly.

Filling

  • Using a double boiler, or very carefully in a nonstick sauté pan, melt the chocolate chips and date syrup over low heat until melted and velvety smooth, stirring constantly.
  • Place the mixture in a high-speed blender, or a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, along with the remaining filling ingredients and blend or process until smooth.
  • Place in a bowl and refrigerate until firm.

Frosting

  • Place Date Paste, coconut, pecans and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well until all ingredients are fully incorporated. If the rest of the cake is ready to be assembled, you can use this immediately. If not, place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use.

Assembly

  • Place half of the filling on one of the cooled cake layers and half of the filling on a second layer. You are making a 3-layer cake, so the order is: one cake layer, half of the filling, the second cake layer, the other half of the filling, and then the third cake layer.
  • Using your hands, place the frosting evenly on the cake. I start on the sides and build my way up until the frosting is evenly distributed on all sides and the top. You can wear latex free food service gloves to do this if you prefer.
  • Pat the top and sides so that the frosting is evenly distributed over the layers and is smooth and not lumpy.
  • Sprinkle unsweetened coconut over the cake. Garnish with whole pecans if you like. You can get them to easily stick to the cake by using a bit of additional Date Paste.

Notes

The flour used in this recipe must be gluten-free baking flour, not simply
the flour of any gluten-free grain like rice or millet. I use Bob’s Red Mill
Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour or King Arthur’s Gluten-Free
Multi-Purpose Flour.
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About Chef AJ

Hey there, I’m Chef AJ, the Queen of Quick and Easy plant-based recipes. I’m the culinary wizard behind delicious dishes that are oil-free, refined sugar-free, and salt-free. As a chef, author, and host, I’m passionate about creating convenient and easy recipes that make healthy eating fun and incredibly tasty!

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