Friends! Minimalist Baker just turned TEN! Can you believe it? That’s 10 whole years on the internet. This feels big.
An astute reader recently reminded us of our 10th anniversary and suggested we celebrate with a birthday cake (GREAT IDEA, Caroline!). And so we’re doing just that!
How to Make Vegan Gluten-Free German Chocolate Cake
Now, this isn’t your classic German chocolate cake. In fact, we think it’s even better. This inspired version has similarly decadent layers of chocolate cake filled with a dreamy date-sweetened coconut pecan frosting. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened. But nobody will know!
For the cake, you can use any recipe you prefer, but we highly recommend this recipe! It’s the BEST chocolate cake we’ve ever had, and we’re not talking best vegan, gluten-free cake — we’re talking best chocolate cake EVER.
The hardest part is letting the cakes cool fully before devouring completely.
Once your chocolate cake is almost fully cooled, it’s time to start making the coconut pecan frosting. Start by toasting pecans and shredded coconut to enhance their richness.
To mimic the caramel-like sweetness of classic German chocolate cake frosting, we couldn’t help but lean on nature’s caramel: dates. When you combine them with coconut cream and vanilla, the result tastes like frosting. Thank you, mother nature!
When you stir the toasted coconut and pecans into the date caramel, you’ve got a rich, beautiful, easy-to-spread frosting.
P.S. We tested this cake with the addition of chocolate ganache frosting. While it was also delicious, we preferred letting the coconut-and-pecan frosting be the shining star.
Top each cake with frosting for a three-layer beauty.
All that’s left to do is slice it up and join us for the party!
We hope you LOVE this German chocolate cake! It’s:
& SO delicious!
It’s a crowd-pleasing dessert for any special occasion, including birthdays, anniversaries, and even Chocolate Cake Day. (Did you know that’s a thing? Mark your calendar for January 27th!)
More Chocolate Desserts
- 3-Ingredient Chocolate Fudge (Dairy-Free)
- Fudgy Vegan Brownie Cookies
- 1-Bowl Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- Double Chocolate Shortcake (Vegan)
Thank you to each and every one of you for your support, encouragement, and celebrating delicious food with us over the last 10 years! We truly could not have made Minimalist Baker what it is today without all of your support. We’re SO grateful for you all. Now, let’s make some cake!
Gluten-Free German Chocolate Cake (Vegan)
- 1 batch BEST Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake (or your favorite chocolate cake mix for ease! // see notes for other options)*
DATE COCONUT PECAN FROSTING
- 3 cups pitted medjool dates (30 large dates yield ~3 cups or 540 g)
- 1 ⅓ cup raw pecans
- 1 ⅓ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (also called dessicated coconut)
- 1/3 cup canned coconut cream (we like Savoy brand)
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 healthy pinch sea salt
- Prepare chocolate cake according to recipe instructions. If using one 8-inch round cake pan, follow baking instructions in the recipe. If using three 6-inch round cake pans (our preferred method), bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake has slightly pulled away from edges of the pan, and a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean.
- Once baked, remove your cake(s) from the oven and let rest in the pans for 15 minutes. Then carefully invert onto cooling racks to let cool completely (~2-3 hours).
- Once the cake is nearly cooled, start your frosting. Soften the dates by placing them in a heatproof bowl and covering with boiling water. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and add pecans to a bare baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, then add the coconut and bake for another 3-5 minutes (watching closely to avoid burning), until both are fragrant and slightly darkened in color. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then chop the pecans and set aside.
- Drain the dates and place them in a food processor. Add the coconut cream, vanilla, and salt, and turn the food processor on. Pause a few times, scraping down the sides, until the mixture is lightened in color and very thick and smooth (see photo). Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and add in the toasted coconut and chopped pecans. Mix well to combine.
- To frost the cakes, evenly divide the frosting between the layers and the top of the cake. If you made one 8-inch round cake, cut it in half horizontally to create two layers. We find this easiest to do by placing the cake on a plate or lazy susan (so it can rotate). Place one hand on top of the cake and, using a large serrated knife in the other hand, cut into the cake while slowly rotating, until you have gone all the way around the cake. Then divide your frosting between the two layers of cake.
- We chose to leave the sides of the cake bare, but you could also use chocolate frosting for an extra sweet and chocolaty touch!
- Slice and serve at room temperature. Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. To extend the life of your cake, it can be refrigerated, just make sure to remove from the refrigerator a few hours before serving for best texture!