If you love chocolate and coconut, this delicious German Chocolate Cheesecake recipe is for you! Inspired by the famous German Chocolate Cake! This rich and decadent chocolate and coconut cheesecake is topped with chocolate buttercream and the iconic German Chocolate Cake filling, made with custard, coconut, and pecans. The cheesecake crust is made with a graham cracker and coconut for even more coconut flavor. And the cheesecake itself is so rich, silky smooth and delicious! The perfect cheesecake for the chocolate lover!
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Ingredients for German Chocolate Cheesecake
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for making this cake:
- Graham Crackers: the crust is made with classic graham crackers combined with butter and grated coconut.
- Grated Coconut: for the coconut graham cracker crust and for the German chocolate cake topping.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate: I use a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate for creating a rich, chocolate cheesecake.
- Cream Cheese: soften the cheese for about 1 hour prior to making the cheesecake. This will make it easier to beat the cheese.
- Eggs, sugar, butter
- Diced Pecans: for making the cheesecake topping.
- Evaporated Milk: this type of canned milk is used for making the topping. It helps thicken the mixture as it cooks.
Making the Coconut Graham Cracker Crust
I start my German Chocolate Cheesecake with the most delicious coconut crust.
- For the crust, I’m using 8 graham crackers and 1/3 (35 g) cup sweetened coconut flakes. I love the light hint of coconut in the crust, it adds even more flavor!
- Pulse the crackers and coconut together in a food processor until fine crumbs form, then add the melted butter.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch (23-cm) spring form pan. I like to use a potato masher to press the crumbs firmly and evenly into the bottom! Try using a masher for this recipe! You’ll thank me later!
How to Make German Chocolate Cheesecake
The chocolate cheesecake batter for this recipe is so luscious, thick, creamy and smooth! You’ll want to eat it with a spoon; resist the urge – raw eggs! For the best chocolate flavor, I use a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate for the batter.
- Prepare the coconut graham cracker crust and press it firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.
- Next, prepare the simple cheesecake batter: cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla and a bit of coconut extract. Once you have the base ready, then add the melted chocolate and cocoa.
- The secret to getting a smooth cheesecake is to beat the cream cheese for at least 7 to 10 minutes on its own, until there are no clumps. Make sure to scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl often so no bits remain!
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust and level the top with an offset spatula. Prepare the water bath: place the cheesecake into a large baking dish or pan and fill the pan with water.
- Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven at 300F/150C for 2 hours. When done, the center of the cake will be slightly wobbly. Turn the oven off and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to cool slowly for several hours until it’s at room temperature. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight until it’s set.
- Once the cheesecake is set, remove it from the spring form pan and onto a cake stand. Add the prepared German chocolate cake filling on top and garnish the sides with chocolate buttercream.
Using the Water Bath Baking Method
I always, always use a water bath for all my cheesecake recipes! Using a water bath ensures the cheesecake bakes more evenly and the extra moisture helps prevent any cracks from forming on the top.
- Make sure to wrap the outside of your springform pan with foil when using a water bath. I recommend going with extra-wide or grilling foil; this way, you won’t have any seams for the water to leak through!
- Just place the finished cheesecake onto a large baking sheet and fill the pan with water. Add more water during the baking process as needed.
How to Make Coconut Pecan Topping
Once you have the chocolate cheesecake baked and set, it’s time to prepare the German Chocolate Cake filling! This iconic filling is made with a simple custard, sweetened coconut and pecans. Make sure to let the filling cool before adding it to the cheesecake, otherwise it will melt the chocolate buttercream!
- First, combine the melted butter, evaporated milk, egg yolks, sugar and extracts in a small saucepan.
- Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until a thick custard forms.
- Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the coconut and pecans. That’s it! Super easy and delicious!
Chocolate Buttercream for Topping
To garnish this German Chocolate Cheesecake and to keep the coconut pecan filling secure, I used my ‘Chocolate Buttercream’! I have a separate video recipe for this incredible buttercream; it’s one of my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series recipes. Make sure to check out the video recipe for all the details on how to make it!
Just transfer the prepared buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip. I used French Star tip #4. Pipe generous dollops along the edge of the cheesecake, then add the prepared (and cooled!) filling into the center! Now, you’re ready to enjoy the cake!
Enjoyed this incredible cake recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- German Chocolate Cake – the original recipe behind the inspiration for this one! Classic chocolate cake with coconut pecan filling and chocolate buttercream!
- Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake – another decadent and rich cheesecake recipe, inspired by the famous chocolate candies!
- Triple Chocolate Cheesecake – three layers of indulgence, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate cake layers!
- Triple Coffee Cheesecake – one of my all-time favorite recipes! Made with coffee cheesecake, coffee mousse and coffee whipped cream!
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German Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe (video)
- 8 graham crackers
- 1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 32 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp EACH: vanilla extract, coconut extract
- 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 5 oz evaporated milk
- 3 egg yolks
- ¼ cup white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups sweetened coconut flakes
- ¾ cup diced pecans
For Chocolate Buttercream:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- ½ tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
For Chocolate Cheesecake:
- Preheat the oven to 300F/150C. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan tightly with wide foil in preparation for the water bath.
- Prepare the crust first. Place the graham crackers and coconut flakes into a food processor and pulse for a minute until fine crumbs form. Pour in the melted butter and pulse again just until the crumbs are well coated. Transfer the crumbs into the prepared springform pan and using a potato masher or the back of your hand, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan, creating an even layer.
- Next, prepare the cheesecake: place the softened cream cheese into a mixer bowl and using the flat beater attachment, mix the cream cheese for 7 to 10 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often; the cream cheese needs to be smooth and creamy.
- Next, add in the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and coconut extract. Mix for another 3 to 4 minutes until the batter is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often! Add in the cocoa powder and melted chocolate last and mix for a few more minutes, until the batter is smooth and uniform.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust and level the top with an offset spatula. Prepare the water bath: place the cheesecake into a large baking dish or pan and fill the pan with water. Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven at 300F/150C for 2 hours. When done, the center of the cake will be slightly wobbly. Turn the oven off and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to cool slowly for several hours until it’s at room temperature. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight until it’s set.
For German Chocolate Cake Filling:
- For the German Chocolate Cake Filling: melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add in the evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla and whisk for about 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth. Continue cooking the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until it thickens into a custard, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not boil the mixture! If clumps form, strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer. Remove the custard from heat and stir in the coconut flakes and diced pecans. Allow the topping to cool completely before using.
For Chocolate Buttercream:
- For the Chocolate Buttercream: place the softened butter into a medium mixing bowl and whisk on high speed for about 5 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt to the butter. Continue whisking for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add in the confectioner's sugar. After its incorporated, turn the mixer to high speed and whisk for 3 to 4 minutes, or until frosting is light and fluffy.
Assembling the Cheesecake:
- Assembling the cheesecake: Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and onto a cake stand. Transfer the buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used a French Star tip #4. Pipe dollops of the buttercream around the edge of the cheesecake. Add the prepared filling into the center and fluff it up with a fork. The cheesecake can be enjoyed right away or refrigerated for up to 1 week.