German Chocolate Brownies

So I know these National food days get out of hand, but  bear with me here.  Sunday is National German Chocolate Cake.  It’s also my dad’s birthday.  And German Chocolate Cake is his favorite cake.  Is your mind blown?! Mine was.  But maybe that’s because I’ve known his favorite is German Chocolate Cake for a long time, but only recently discovered that the official holiday is on the same day as his birthday!

I always thought German Chocolate Cake was a flavor combo from Germany. It turns out, German is a type of chocolate developed by a guy named German.  The history of German Chocolate Cake is actually pretty interesting.  I guess that probably sounds boring to most people.  But if you’re not one of those people, here is where I read about it.

I decided to go with brownies instead of cake, but I wanted to keep in the key features of the cake, specifically German chocolate and buttermilk.  Unfortunately my grocery store did not have German chocolate and only had huge bottles of buttermilk, so for both ingredients I used substitutions.  For the German chocolate, I used cocoa powder, butter, and sugar.  For the buttermilk I used milk and lemon juice.  Feel free to substitute the German chocolate and buttermilk back in for the substitution agreements in this recipe.

The brownies end up with that slight hint of sour which is balanced out perfectly by the sweet frosting. If you like German Chocolate Cake, give these brownies a go! I can’t wait to make these for my dad when I see him in a few weeks!

German Chocolate Brownies

Servings: 30 brownies


German Chocolate Brownies

  • 3 1/2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 cup sugar divided in half
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt Diamond Crystal

German Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut


German Chocolate Brownies

  • Grease 9x13 pan and preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a large saucepan put in butter, cocoa powder, and 1 cup of sugar. Melt butter over low heat, stirring with the cocoa powder and sugar frequently. Once the mixture resembles smooth melted chocolate, remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together eggs, espresso, vanilla, remaining 1 cup of sugar, milk, and lemon juice. Stir in melted chocolate mixture, and allow to cool a bit more.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt, and mix well.
  • Pour into greased pan, and spread batter around to edges. Bake at 350 F for approximately 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into batter comes out clean.

German Chocolate Frosting

  • In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except pecans and coconut.
  • Heat over low heat till the mixture becomes thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans.
  • Allow to cool, and then spread overtop of the brownies.
  • Cut into squares and serve.


I would advise not using coconut slivers - the smaller the coconut pieces, the better!


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