German Vanilla Cake {Lazy Daisy Layer Cake}


I was *this* close to making a traditional (southern) coconut cake for Julie’s baby shower this weekend when I decided against experimenting on a new recipe for a crowd and instead went with a cake that I’m starting to call old faithful. Every time I make this cake it gets the ravest of reviews by coconut lovers. On top of that, it’s relatively easy to make.

The funny thing that happened when I brought this cake over to Jane’s house Saturday was that her husband, Justin, took one look at it and asked, “Is that a German Vanilla Cake?” Although I’ve been calling it German Vanilla Cake for a while, most people look at it and ask one of two things: Is that a German Chocolate Cake or is that some sort of coconut and caramel cake? No one has ever asked if it’s a German Vanilla Cake until this past weekend.

This recipe will make a six-layer cake. You’ll need a sharp knife to cut through it!

cake ingredients.

  • 9 eggs
  • 4 1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 T. butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 c. buttermilk

frosting ingredients.

  • 1 1/2 c. butter, browned
  • 3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 7 1/2 c. flaked coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs well. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat again.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour with the baking soda and salt. Mix the melted butter with the buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk-butter mixture into the egg mixture in a slow stream, beating as you go. Then, slowly add the flour mixture; beat until smooth.
  4. Generously grease and flour three eight-inch layer pans. Divide the batter between the two pans. Bake until risen, golden brown and springy to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool 1 to 2 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack. While layers are cooling, prepare the frosting. Otherwise, freeze for a later date.

frosting directions.

  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat until it bubbles and browns. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the brown sugar. Add the sour cream and salt and beat again. Once creamy, put the mixer on low and mix in the coconut flakes. Slice the cake layers in half using a serrated knife or other mechanism so that you have six equal layers.
  2. Preheat oven to broil, placing the oven rack low enough to accommodate the cake. Place the cake layers on baking pans and frost the tops.
  3. Place the cake layers in the oven for 2 to 4 minutes. Frosting will start to bubble and seethe, then it will brown and caramelize.
  4. Carefully remove and let cool slightly before assembling. Add additional frosting to the sides of the cake. Let cool completely before eating. I like to make this cake at least 24 hours in advance so that the frosting can soak into the cake layers a bit.

Recipe rating: 

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