Gluten-Free German Chocolate Cake (Vegan)

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Lighting a candle on our vegan gluten-free German chocolate cake to celebrate our 10 year blogging anniversary

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!

Salt, coconut cream, shredded coconut, vanilla, pecans, dates, and chocolate cake mix

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.

Whisk in a bowl of chocolate cake batter

The hardest part is letting the cakes cool fully before devouring completely.

Spreading chocolate cake batter into a round cake pan

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.

Toasted coconut and pecans on a baking sheet

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!

Creamy date caramel in a food processor

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.

Date-sweetened coconut pecan frosting for German chocolate cake

Top each cake with frosting for a three-layer beauty.

GIF showing spreading coconut pecan frosting between chocolate cake layers

All that’s left to do is slice it up and join us for the party!

Knife slicing into a three layer German chocolate cake

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

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!

Fork cutting into a slice of vegan gluten-free German chocolate cake

Gluten-Free German Chocolate Cake (Vegan)

Decadent and divine German chocolate cake with a caramelly, date-sweetened coconut pecan frosting! Gluten-free, vegan, and naturally sweetened, yet SO indulgent and crowd-pleasing for any celebration.
Author Minimalist Baker
Using a fork to cut into a slice of vegan gluten-free German chocolate cake
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 (Slices)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days




  • 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!



*Other chocolate cake options: Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake (Oil-Free), 1-Bowl Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (Vegan + GF), or 1-Bowl Vegan Chocolate Cake.
*Prep time includes cooling the cakes.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with our Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake recipe.

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)

Serving: 1 slice Calories: 412 Carbohydrates: 47.4 g Protein: 5.3 g Fat: 25.9 g Saturated Fat: 11.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 8.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 300 mg Potassium: 410 mg Fiber: 7.4 g Sugar: 31.8 g Vitamin A: 44 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 122 mg Iron: 1.8 mg

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  1. tamminatorx says

    This is actually “German’s” Chocolate cake, not German chocolate cake. It has nothing to do with Germany, but rather the brand of baking chocolate called “German’s”. It’a a common misunderstanding.

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I’ll be keen to see how it stacks up to the original, as I haven’t had that for decades!

  2. Brenda says

    Long time MB fan! Going to order some chocolate cake mix- have a couple questions:

    In the German cake recipe description it says to add plant milk to the cake mix, but on the box it says water. Does it come out differently with plant milk vs water?

    Also German cake recipe says you can use 3 six inch cake pans. Does one box of mix make all three?

    Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Great catch! Dairy-free milk and water both work well. Yes, we used 1 package cake mix for three 6-inch pans. Enjoy!

  3. Cathie Street says

    I tried to order your chocolate cake mix, but you don’t deliver to Canada. Is there somewhere in Canada that i can get this mix. Or, do you have a recipe that I can use instead? I love your site and the cake looks so delicious.


    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Cathie, it’s not available in Canada at this time, unfortunately! We have a couple chocolate cake options in the notes section below the recipe. Hope that helps!

  4. Sherri Neil says

    Just have to tell you how delicious this was. I made it for a friend’s’ birthday. It was a success, it got raves reviews from all who ate it. I was just dying to try the german chocolate frosting after asking you if you could do it a couple of years back and boy was it a hit along with the cake itself.

    Thanks again for all your wonderful work in creating these wonderful recipes.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We love a full circle moment. Thanks so much for the lovely review and your continued support, Sherri!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ana, you could do almonds or walnuts. Hazelnuts could be delicious if you like them!

  5. Kate Farrell says

    My question is…what would we do without you? Haven’t made the german chocolate cake yet but had to tell you that I’m drooling already! GCC is a favorite of our best buddy so we’re going to make it for her birthday. Since going gluten free, I don’t think she’s had one. It being vegan as well means we can enjoy it too! Thanks for all your wonderful creations and congrats on the product line. Kate & GG

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Katharine, sorry for the trouble! We had a temporary issue with the discount, but it should have been resolved. Let us know if you weren’t able to place an order with the discount.

  6. Pavitra says

    Happy 10th Anniversary! Thank you for the amazing recipes you have shared all these years!
    Will definitely buy the cake mix.. it will be super convenient! Congratulations!!!

  7. Jesse-Gabriel says

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
    Deutscher Kuchen?
    Ich kenne den Kuchen nicht, nicht als Deutscher Kuchen.
    German cake?
    I don’t know the cake, not as a German cake.
    Jesse Gabriel

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jesse-Gabriel, this seems to be a common question! German chocolate cake isn’t German in terms of originating from Germany. It gets its name from its creator, a chocolate maker named Samuel German. Hope that clears up the confusion!

  8. Chris Bray says

    I enjoy your recipes and congratulations on your new baking mixes. I don’t want to receive emails with recipes which include mixes as the recipe, unless you offer the scratch recipe also
    For the German chocolate cake I would like a vegan recipe. I don’t want to make a different basic chocolate cake recipe because I used to make German chocolate cakes frequently before I became vegan and they taste very different than plain chocolate cake. The chocolate is special, and the eggs separated to give light tender moist cake when the stiffly beaten egg whites are folded into the batter, make it taste very different than plain chocolate cake
    Thanks, Chris

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy our recipes, Chris! Thank you for your helpful feedback. We’re currently working on a feature that will allow you to unsubscribe from product-related emails. You can always check the recipe notes section to see what we suggest for a DIY alternative.

  9. Diane says

    Happy 10th anniversary and congratulations on the launch of your new baking products. I am hoping they will be available in Canada sometime in the near future? I have been following and cooking from your blog for years and it is my absolute favourite! I really want to make this cake. What should I use in place of the cake mix? Wishing you continued success and thank you for all the amazing recipes you share each week. Cheers to you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Diane, Thanks so much for your support and kind words! We hope to be in Canada at some point, but international shipping with food is tricky so we need a little time to make it happen. Check out the recipe notes section for recommendations of other recipes you can use for the cake. Hope that helps!