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German Chocolate Banana Cake

This recipe for German Chocolate Banana Cake features the traditional light chocolate cake with a coconut-banana filling. The filling alone is good enough to eat with a spoon!

German chocolate banana cake on a yellow cake stand

I’ve never been a huge fan of German chocolate cakes. I don’t exactly know why. It’s just a cake that I never gravitated to. I prefer light and fruity flavors when it comes to cake. Nothing too dense or too rich.

I recently discovered a German chocolate cake with coconut, banana, and macadamia filling from Cooks Illustrated and knew that it was going to be a great choice. The recipe calls for a mix of baking chocolate and cocoa powder. This cake is full of chocolate flavor.

Angled view of German chocolate banana cake on a yellow cake stand

I smashed the bananas and mixed them right into the filling instead of laying slices across the cake. There’s plenty of banana coconut flavor in each bite! I also opted for rum extract instead of alcohol, so even the youngsters can enjoy this delectable cake.

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German chocolate banana cake on a yellow cake stand

German Chocolate Banana Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

This recipe for German Chocolate Banana Cake features the traditional light chocolate cake with a coconut-banana filling. The filling alone is good enough to eat with a spoon!


For the filling

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana, about 2 medium bananas
  • ¾ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut

For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • ½ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • ¾ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and ¼ cups sour cream, room temperature


Make the filling

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks until frothy. Gradually whisk in the evaporated milk followed by the smashed banana. Add the sugars, butter, and salt. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Cook for 6 to 10 minutes, until boiling and slightly thickened. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and rum extracts. Stir in the coconut. Transfer to a mixing bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Make the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray 2 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper cut into a circle to fit the pan. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray and dust the pan lightly with flour. Shake out any excess.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk and set aside.
  3. Combine the baking chocolate and milk in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted completely. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth and lump free. Set aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer set to medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Add in the chocolate and mix until well incorporated. With the mixer set to low speed, gradually mix in half the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture. Beat until just combined. The batter will be thick. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Spread the batter evenly to the edges of the pan, smoothing out the surface. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Peel the parchment paper off the bottoms. before filling.
  6. Once the cakes have completely cooled, use a serrated knife held parallel to the cake and saw the top of the cakes off to even out the layers. Place one cake on a serving platter cut side up. Spread half the filling in an even layer over the cake. Place the second layer cut side down over the filling. Spread the remaining filling in an even layer over the top.


When you assemble the cake, the filling should be cold or at room temperature. It is wise to make the filling first and then bake the cake while the filling chills. The cake can be served immediately or refrigerated for up to 4 hours. Let the cake stand at room temperature just before serving if it has been refrigerated.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 662Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 358mgCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 5gSugar: 63gProtein: 7g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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Tuesday 26th of July 2016

I am so excited to make this cake for my hubby's birthday! Banana, chocolate and coconut?! Yes, please! Do you have an opinion or thoughts on on using sweetened vs unsweetened coconut? Do you think it would be too bland using unsweetened flakes?


Wednesday 27th of July 2016

I used sweetened coconut but think unsweetened would do as long as the bananas are super ripe. You can always taste the filling and add a little sweetener if needed.


Tuesday 14th of June 2016

Jen, when you going to invite me over so I can eat this cakr? Just kidding never thought of putting my to favorite deserts together banana bread and German Chocolate cake. Now I'm starting to think maybe banana bread maybe add layers of peanut butter and chocolate mixed between the layers of banana bread ! Ho ho ho! I would smash this cake !


Sunday 21st of February 2016

Hi Jen

I made this cake over the weekend, and it was delicious. Thanks for sharing


Monday 22nd of February 2016

I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! It's one of my favorite cakes.


Monday 19th of October 2015

Can you help. In the recipe for the filling it says 4 egg yolks but in the method it states whisk the egg whites but the recipe asks for egg yolks? Can you clarify which. I want to make this cake at the weekend so thought I would check before starting. Thanks


Monday 19th of October 2015

Hi Karen! Thank you for pointing that out. It should be 4 egg yolks. I have corrected the recipe to reflect that. Enjoy the cake!

Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron

Tuesday 23rd of June 2015

What a gorgeous cake! Love all those flavors in there, bet it tastes amazing!

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