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This sugar-free keto German chocolate cake is a stunner, with three layers of rich chocolate cake and classic coconut pecan filling. While it’s made with keto-friendly ingredients, this cake could fool anyone. Add it to your list of keto dessert recipes to try!
Unlike my popular keto chocolate cake recipe made with cocoa powder and sugar-free chocolate frosting, this one gets its chocolate flavor from my favorite ChocZero Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips and has a coconut pecan frosting. The result is less dark, but makes up for it with richness. I use these chocolate chips for dozens of keto chocolate desserts, because they check all the boxes: low in carbs, natural ingredients, soy-free, no aftertaste, and absolutely delicious.
What Is German Chocolate Cake?
German chocolate cake, which actually originated in the U.S. by a man named Samuel German, is a chocolate layered cake with coconut pecan frosting [*]. Unlike most regular chocolate cake recipes, German chocolate cake uses actual baking chocolate instead of cocoa powder. The “frosting” is a custard, made with condensed or evaporated milk, shredded coconut, and pecans.
As you might guess, this dessert is not normally keto friendly, but it can be with this keto German chocolate cake recipe!
Why You’ll Love This Keto German Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Light and fluffy cake with rich chocolate flavor
- Sweet, caramelized coconut pecan filling
- Tastes like the real thing!
- Easy to prep components ahead
- Keto, low carb, and gluten-free
- Less than 4 grams sugar per slice
Ingredients You’ll Need
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for easy keto German chocolate cake, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
For The Chocolate Cake:
- ChocZero Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate Chips – These sugar-free dark chocolate chips are my favorite… and you would never know they are sugar-free! I also tested the cake using their milk chocolate chips, which is delicious if you like milder chocolate flavor.
- Butter – Use unsalted butter. Coconut oil is fine to substitute if you like, but you’ll also need dairy for the filling and substituting there won’t work as well.
- Besti Monk Fruit Allulose Blend – This keto sweetener is what I use in all my cake recipes, because it makes them super moist and won’t crystallize. Plain allulose is fine to use instead, but you’ll need 33% more. If you want to use something else, check my sweetener conversion info here. But, be aware that the result with most other sugar substitutes, including erythritol and most brands of monk fruit or stevia, will be more dry.
- Eggs – Use whole, large eggs. Flax eggs may work as a substitute, but I haven’t tested to confirm.
- Vanilla Extract – For flavor.
- Wholesome Yum Blanched Almond Flour – This super-fine almond flour ensures the best texture in your keto-friendly German chocolate cake (many brands are too coarse or inconsistent). Unfortunately, coconut flour won’t work as a substitute here, and making this cake nut-free is not realistic since pecans are also a key component. If you need nut-free options, browse my nut-free keto recipes here.
- Baking Powder – I like this non-GMO brand.
- Sea Salt – Balances out the sweetness.
For The Coconut Pecan Filling:
- Keto Sweetened Condensed Milk – Gives the filling luscious flavor and thickens it. Just be aware that this doesn’t exist in stores, so don’t go looking for it there. Simply make this sugar-free condensed milk recipe instead (using butter, heavy cream, and Besti Powdered), then use it for your cake filling.
- Butter – Again, unsalted.
- Besti Brown Monk Fruit Allulose Blend – My low carb brown sugar substitute; I haven’t found anything else that comes close in terms of flavor, moisture, and sweetness. More importantly, unlike other brown sugar substitutes, Besti Brown will dissolve completely, so your filling will be smooth. If you can’t get your hands on it, it’s best to opt for a powdered sweetener, but you’ll lose that brown sugar flavor.
- Egg Yolks – Yolks only, no whites for this part. (You can use the leftover whites to make keto bread, coconut macaroons, or sugar-free angel food cake.)
- Vanilla Extract – Same one used for the cake.
- Shredded Coconut – Make sure it’s unsweetened coconut, like this brand.
- Pecans – We’re using chopped pecans for the filling and whole pecan halves for the topping, so I just buy halves and chop what I need for the filling.
How To Make Keto German Chocolate Cake
This section shows how to make German chocolate keto cake with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Melt chocolate. Use a double boiler or microwave to melt the chocolate chips.
- Cream butter and Besti. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream butter and Besti together until it is light and fluffy.
- Add eggs. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
- Add chocolate. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients. Beat in almond flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
- Bake. Divide the cake batter into 3 prepared pans (line them with parchment paper and grease the sides), smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick comes clean. Cool completely before flipping to release.
- Make sugar-free sweetened condensed milk. (Use the link for instructions.)
- Add butter and brown sweetener. Whisk butter and Besti Brown into the condensed milk, until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Temper egg yolks. Add the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Cool. Let the mixture cool for at least 10 minutes (this is important to avoid separation later).
- Add nuts and coconut. Stir in shredded coconut and pecans. Let the frosting cool completely.
- Assemble. Place one layer of cake onto cake stand and top with part of the coconut pecan filling. Top with second layer of cake and filling. Repeat with third layer and remaining filling.
- Garnish. At this point, you can leave the cake as-is, but I like to dot the perimeter with pecan halves, sprinkle more chopped pecans and shredded coconut over the center, and finish with a drizzle of melted chocolate.
Tips For The Best Sugar-Free German Chocolate Cake
- Use the right ingredients. I selected the flours, sweeteners, and chocolate used in this recipe to achieve the richest, moistest result. Some substitution options are outlined in the ingredients section above, but the result may be worse.
- Use room-temperature ingredients. This helps the batter mix and rise better, and prevents the butter from solidifying when adding the eggs.
- Rotate the cake pans if needed. If you bake all three pans at the same time, rotate them on the racks for even cooking, and make sure that they all have the same amount of batter.
- Use a large saute pan for the filling. A medium saucepan will take a long time to make condensed milk, and the larger surface area of a saute pan will make the process go much faster.
- Cooling the filling is crucial. Allowing the caramel mixture to cool before adding the nuts and coconut will ensure that the frosting doesn’t separate. (Trust me, I learned the hard way during testing!)
- Also cool before assembly. Let the cake and filling cool completely before you start to assemble. This ensures that the cake won’t tear or get soggy.
- Use a cake stand. It’s not required, but makes assembly much easier.
- Store: Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze: You can freeze this sugar-free German chocolate cake recipe by wrapping it tightly with plastic wrap and storing in freezer for 2-3 months.
- Thaw: Let the cake come to room temperature on the counter, or thaw in the fridge overnight.
More Keto Cake Recipes
If you like this keto German chocolate cake recipe, you might also like some of these other keto cakes:
- ChocZero Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips – The star of the show!
- Hand Mixer – This one has lots of speeds and includes convenient storage for the attachments.
- Saute Pan – For making the condensed milk and filling.
- 9-Inch Cake Pans – You’ll need three round cake pans to make this layered easy sugar-free German chocolate cake.
Keto German Chocolate Cake
Keto German Chocolate Cake
This beautiful, sugar-free keto German chocolate cake recipe tastes as good as it looks! Made with simple ingredients, it's hard to guess that this is low carb.
Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Coconut Pecan Filling:
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Line 3 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the inner sides.
In a medium bowl in the microwave, or a double boiler on the stove, melt the chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter and Besti together for 2-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract, until smooth.
Beat in the almond flour, baking powder, and sea salt, until smooth.
Divide dough among the 3 prepared pans, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top springs back and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cake layers completely in the pans, then run a knife along the sides and flip to release.
Coconut Pecan Filling:
Add the butter and Besti Brown. Cook for 1-2 minutes over low heat, whisking frequently, until smooth.
Whisk in the egg yolks. Cook for about 5 minutes over low heat, whisking frequently, until it starts to thicken.
Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Stir in shredded coconut and pecans. Let the frosting cool completely (it will thicken more as it cools).
Place one layer of cake onto a cake stand or platter. Top with about 1/3 of the coconut pecan filling.
Place the second layer of cake on top. Top with another 1/3 of the filling.
Place the third layer of cake on top. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the filling. If desired, garnish with more coconut and pecans, and/or a drizzle of melted chocolate.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
Share your recipe picture by tagging @wholesomeyum and hashtag it #wholesomeyum on Instagram, or in our free low carb support group, too – I’d love to see it!
Serving size: 1 slice, or 1/16 entire cake
(Serving size might sound small, but it’s a big, tall cake that’s very rich and filling.)
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂
Hi Maya all your stuff is amazing. I bought one of the cookbooks, and almost all the products a few times. I am a disabled Vet and so after 43 years and 13 surgeries its time to try to trim the added weight. So I found you.I have made so many of your recipes for my wife and self and I am doing great. Lost 20lbs in 3 months. Wanna go for another 20-30 if I can by 2024. It’s our 42 anniversary today and I wanted to make the Keto German Chocolate Cake. I am really good at doing recipes (Chemical Engineer by trade). So I follow directions well and as an Executive I know how important directions are. So anyway… I made the 3 pans of cake no problem came out fantastic. I was making the Icing and after 40 minutes of making the Sugar-free Sweetened Condensed Milk recipe. I added the butter, BestiMonk Fruit Brown, the egg yolks at room temp and the icing was thickening nicely. Took it off the stove and I added the Vanilla extract. I started to stir it and the whole thing separated/changed in appearance the butter seemed to leach out and it just did not look right. I let it cool and added the coconut and chopped pecans. It has thickened after cooling further as that butter fluid cooled. Not sure it looks correct but maybe that separation was okay? Just wanted to know if I blew this icing and need to toss it or go ahead and ice the cake. Thanks so much. Love all your stuff, so this gets 5 stars I am thinking I probably thickened it too much and it broke down. But wanna know if I messed up, so I get it right next time. Bob K
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Bob, Sorry to hear that your icing separated. It’s hard to say what exactly went wrong without standing next to you in the kitchen. Overheating while cooking will cause separation, so you could try lowering the heat.
I was making the frosting. Had added the eggs and cook 5 min. and let it sit 10 min. I had something to do so I turned off the heated mixture and came back later to finish cooking the eggs. But at this point it separated. Anything I can do to salvage it or just toss it and start over?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Roberta, Unfortunately, that part must be cooked all at one time.
I didn’t like it much. The cake wasn’t sweet at all and was very dry. If someone wants to make it I would recommend milk chocolate chips. The cake doesn’t rise much, just the nature of almond flour I guess. Not sure if subbing in some coconut flour would help.
I won’t make it again. Costs too much to not taste great.
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Hi Loretta, Sorry to hear this didn’t turn out as expected. Did you use the same sweetener as listed in the recipe? This is the most common issue as people assume rhey can substitute but most other sweeteners will make a dry result. Don’t substitute coconut flour, as the cake will be extremely dry in this case, regardless of sweetener used. I have process pictures above showing how the batter should look, so if you did use Besti sweetener as written, I’d be happy to help troubleshoot if you can describe where it looked different from the pictures.
I only had on 9″ cake pan so tried to wing it with another 2 silicone 9″ pans. I didn’t use parchment on the silicone pans and they burned so had to re-do those. Be sure to use parchment paper, I might even suggest it on the sides as well. I needed to trim the edges regardless as they all burned somewaht. Be sure to make extra icing and/or reserve some to cover the sides which I think makes the cake so much more presentable and decadent. My Mother in Law couldn’t believe it was keto!
Full disclosure. My husband and I don’t practice a keto lifestyle, just avoid eating grain after both of us were diagnosed with fatty liver disease. Since then I have tried many grain-free recipes for baked goods and have had mixed results. German chocolate cake is my hubby’s favorite. I have been making a paleo version every year on his birthday and thought it was okay, after trying your blueberry muffins with great success, this year tried your recipe for the cake. I am wary of using erythritol or allulose so I just used regular sugar, although I did reduce it a bit. Oh wow. This is by far the best I’ve ever made, better even than the conventional German Chocolate Cake I’d been making in previous years. It’s moist, rose nicely and took far less time than the original. Making the coconut pecan frosting in a skillet is genius! And the idea for decorating it was masterful. I got compliments on it! Thank you so much!
Absolutely amazing !!! Thanks !
The Besti Brown has been out of stock for some time now. Is there an alternative that can be used in this recipe? Thank you!
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Alice, Besti Brown is now in stock with limited quantities available.
Thanks for sharing this recipe! Can it be kept out at room temperature without refrigerating? Have limited fridge space at the moment 🙁
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Jo, This cake should be refrigerated, but you can leave it out on the counter for about a day.
This cake is moist and fairly easy to prepare. This is a great keto dessert we will be making often.
I love German chocolate cake and I’m so happy to have found a keto version! Thanks for the recipe!
Chocolate, coconut and Pecans. Life doesn’t get better than that. Loved this recipe. Will certainly make it again.
I’m going to add this recipe to my keto cakes to make list! It looks scrumtious. I confess I thought this would be a recipe for a cake from Germany! Interesting to learn it originated in US.
I have this recipe saved and printed out to make this weekend! It looks so delicious! I am a huge German chocolate cake fan! Your presentation is beautiful, as well!
How would you convert this to use coconut flour instead of almond? Almond is the one but I’m sensitive to 🙁
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Jenn, Coconut flour cannot be substituted for almond flour, I recommend macadamia flour or sunflower seed flour.
Can I make this in a 13×9 pan?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Dawn, I have never attempted baking the cake in 9×13 pan. If you try it please let me know the results! You will definitely need to adjust the baking time.
My family had a hard time believing this was low carb, it was just THAT good! Making again soon!
Wholesome Yum A0
What a wonderful cake! I just love German chocolate cake, so it was great to find a delicious version that’s also low in carbs.
Such a beautiful and mouthwatering chocolate cake. I will definitely be going to make this again soon. Thanks
Wow, who needs carbs when you can enjoy this keto treat! So yummy!
German chocolate cake is a favorite around here! I’m excited about this lower carb option!
Amy L Huntley0
We make this quite often and everyone absolutely LOVES it! So moist and flavorful!
This cake recipe is fantastic and I love the texture and moistness of this cake!
You had me at cake! This frosting was everything and more. Everyone loved it!
Love that this is such a healthy cake. Soft, moist and chocolaty.
We love German cake and this was amazing! The frosting! WOW!
This is the most heavenly cake!!! SO thick & gooey, it tastes amazing!!
OMG this cake is absolutely delicious. My guests loved it for dessert!
Sounds yummy, I will try it asap, thanks so much for sharing a gluten free recipe.