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German Chocolate Upside Down Cake

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This German chocolate upside down cake is an easy and flavorful twist on a classic cake flavor. This from scratch cake recipe has a great coconut and pecan layer and a soft and perfect crumb chocolate cake that bakes it one pan together. Top it with a dollop of whipped cream and you have a perfectly sweet treat ready in a fraction of the time.

slice of german chocolate cake and whipped cream on plate
Have you ever wanted something super amazing but didn’t feel like putting the effort in? Like, you want to eat fancy steakhouse food but you really only feel like ordering a pizza?
Yeah, happens to me all the dang time. As soon as I decide to make a recipe that is complicated and time cosuming, life magically fills up with 18 billion other things.
There is this quote I just love for situations like this. Did you ever watch the show Deadwood? Its an old HBO Series set in the 1870’s in Deadwood, South Dakota. There is this character, Al Swearengen (who was a real person, by the way). In one episode he says “Announcing your plans is the best way to hear God laugh.” Isn’t that just the best? I feel like it pretty much sums up… life!
slice of german chocolate cake with whipped cream on plate
I have been planning on making a german chocolate cake for a few weeks now, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Sure, I suppose I could have woken up early one morning and baked a cake – but who wants to do that when your children already wake up at 6am sharp? Instead I decided to create a cheater cake – all the best parts of a german chocolate cake, but with half the work. And without resorting to a box of cake mix. YES! Now we are talking!
The end result is a gorgeous upside down cake with amazing flavor and texture, topped with a fantastic gooey pecan and coconut layer. Add a dollop of lightly sweetened whip cream and you’ve got one heck of a dessert. It’s perfect for potlucks and parties, and you can make it in a fraction of the time!
slice of german chocolate cake on plate with fork

How to make this upside down cake:

This cake is an easy and delicious dessert. For the full set of ingredients, please scroll down to the recipe card below.

Prep work:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease a 9×13 cake pan, and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper that perfectly fits the bottom. This will help the cake come out of the pan easier.

Make the sauce:

  1. Melt the butter and pour it into the bottom of the pan and spread over the bottom evenly.
  2. Sprinkle on the brown sugar, pecans and coconut as evenly as you can.
  3. Set aside.

Make the cake:

  1. In a medium bowl whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until well combined.
  3. Mix in the boiling water.
  4. Set the cake mixture aside.

Make the cream cheese filling:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue mixing until smooth.

Assemble and bake the cake:

  1. Pour the cake batter over the brown sugar/pecan mixture.
  2. Dollop the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate batter.
  3. Place the 9×13 cake pan on top of a rimmed baking sheet (affiliate link) (sometimes the cream cheese mixture boils out!) and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then invert onto a serving tray or baking sheet
  5. Allow to cool completely and then slice into pieces.
  6. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!
A piece of cake on a plate with whipped cream

Food tastes better when its shared! If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate below!

Yield: 16 Servings

German Chocolate Upside Down Cake

slice of german chocolate cake on plate with fork

This German Chocolate Upside Down Cake has amazing flavor and texture, topped with a fantastic gooey pecan and coconut layer. Add a dollop of lightly sweetened whip cream and you’ve got one heck of a dessert.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup veggie oil
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Topping

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick)
  • 16 ounces powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease 9x13 cake pan, and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper that perfectly fits the bottom.
  3. Pour the melted butter into the pan and spread over the bottom.
  4. Sprinkle on the brown sugar, pecans and coconut.
  5. Set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  8. Mix in the boiling water.
  9. Pour the cake batter over the brown sugar/pecan mixture.
  10. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and cream.y
  11. Slowly add the powdered sugar in and continue mixing until smooth.
  12. Dollop the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate batter.
  13. Place the 9x13 cake pan on top of a rimmed baking sheet (sometimes the cream cheese mixture boils out!) and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  14. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then invert onto a serving tray or baking sheet
  15. Allow to cool completely and then slice into pieces.
  16. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 584Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 431mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 2gSugar: 61gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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Lynn Davis

Sunday 16th of June 2019

I just made this cake today 6-16-19. THIS IS THE BEST CAKE I HAVE EVER EATEN!!! thank you so much for this recipe! I will keep it in my "keeper' stack....wow, just wow!!

pumpkinpie

Friday 2nd of June 2017

Thanks for this incredible cake recipe. I only used 4 ounces of powdered sugar but that means we can eat bigger slices, right?

Jenni

Saturday 3rd of June 2017

haha oh, definitely! :)

Megan @ MegUnprocessed

Friday 12th of August 2016

Gorgeous presentation!

Dan George

Thursday 11th of August 2016

This is a recipe for me, not a baker but I love cakes from scratch!

Ahu @ Ahueats

Friday 26th of February 2016

I'm the same way as well! Some days I'm a tasmanian devil of energies but some days I just want to order in. This cake looks DELICIOUS and I think it's begging for a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

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