Nope, Germany does not have palm trees

I recently learned that TD is a fan of german chocolate cake.   That got the wheels turning.  And, in true pink-peppercorn style I thought; ‘he says he likes german chocolate cake, how about if I make deconstructed german chocolate brownies.’  In my defense, I discovered his affinity because he chose german chocolate cake ice cream at Baskin Robbins.  So…I learned about one thing from another thing and then made something else entirely.  Sounds about normal.

It wasn’t until I was making the dulce de leche that it struck me as odd that something from Germany included coconut as an ingredient.

Now, I’ve never been to Germany, but, I am fairly certain the Bavarian Forest is not home to palm trees.  So, no German coconuts.  Which begs the question–how did the German chocolate cake get its coconut?

The answer?  It didn’t.

The name is actually a bastardization of a recipe that utilized a chocolate by Bakers Chocolate called German’s (after the man who created it).  The original cake (at least according to every source I could find) was created by a Dallas housewife in 1957 and was called German’s Chocolate Cake.  This confection calls a milk-chocolate cake its base and is filled and topped with a pecan, coconut and caramel icing.  In addition to coconut my nod to the original uses dulce de leche and walnuts.  Because, that’s the beauty of baking.

A note on the dulce de leche.  You can buy it if you want.  Even my local understocked grocery store (you know, that one without the mushrooms) carries dulce de leche.  It just happens to cost about $10 a jar.  Do your wallet a favor.  Buy a $1.50 can of sweetened-condensed milk and follow one of the two recipes listed below.  Or, better yet, send me $10 and I’ll make the dulce de leche for you :).

If you like this you might like these

Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche Brownies


The Lads.  I’ll explain later

German Chocolate Brownies


  • 12 ounces chopped milk chocolate
  • .5 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1.5  C sugar
  • scant 1/8 C high quality cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 C toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 C (or more to taste) shredded coconut
  • 1 C mini bitter or semi sweet chocolate bits
  • 1 1/2 C dulce de leche (store bought or make your own here or here)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 9X13 pan with parchment and butter entire pan
  2. Using a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt butter on low.
  3. Once butter is melted, add chopped milk chocolate, remove from heat and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk chocolate and butter until smooth.   Allow to cool to room temp.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa and salt.
  6. Whisk-in eggs one-at-a-time, combining fully between each.
  7. Whisk-in milk chocolate mixture.
  8. Gently fold-in flour until just combined.  Fold-in walnuts, chocolate bits and coconut.  Transfer to prepared pan.
  9. Using a spoon, add dollops of dulce de leche at regular intervals (3 rows of 5 dollups should do you). Run a skewer through the caramel and batter to distribute.
  10. Bake for 34-45 minutes or until an inserted tester or toothpick comes out with moist crumbs when inserted.