June 23, 2016


This German Chocolate Protein Cake is scrumptious and quick to make! One of my favorite cakes is German Chocolate Cake. Fun fact: I recently learned that “German” chocolate cake actually originated from the States, not Germany! Perhaps its name comes from the four ounces of German baking chocolate in the classic recipe. Yes… it’s probably one of the highest calorie cakes out there (right up there with carrot cake, my other fave). If you love German Chocolate Cake but want something that fits into your daily macros, try this low sugar, protein-packed version (19g protein per slice)! While it doesn’t taste exactly like the original recipe, it’s totally crave-worthy. Think rich chocolate cake layered with gooey caramel pecan coconut frosting… yumm!

Protein recommendations

Of course, I had to add some gains (aka PROTEIN)! For protein baking, I recommend using a whey concentrate or whey blend combined casein and whey isolate. Whey isolate on its own tends to dry out baked goods or give them a weird spongey texture. In this recipe I used Quest protein powder in Chocolate Milkshake. If you use unflavored protein, you will need to use an additional tablespoon each of unsweetened cocoa powder and sweetener to get the flavor right. You should also be able to use a vegan protein, but you may need to add more liquid as plant-based proteins tend to be very absorbent. I have not tested this recipe with collagen or any other protein.

Sweetener substitutions

The sweetener I use for my baking is Pyure Organic Stevia Blend, which is a combination of stevia and erythritol that’s twice as sweet as sugar. Feel free to use baking stevia, granulated erythritol, or any granulated sugar of choice, just use twice as much if you want the same level of sweetness.

Other substitutions

Believe it or not, there is no flour in this recipe! The secret ingredient? Pumpkin! Now stay with me here – I promise this cake does not taste like pumpkin at all, thanks to the strong cocoa flavor. I used the minimum amount of pumpkin for a nice moist texture… not so much that it tastes like chocolatey pumpkin (yuck!). You can substitute butternut squash puree for the pumpkin, but when I tested this I also used nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead of egg white. Feel free to use a flax egg instead of the egg white too!

Oh and I used regular unsweetened cocoa for this recipe, but extra dark or Dutch-process will work (though not as authentic-tasting).

Coconut pecan frosting

The frosting is really what makes this cake epic. It takes a little extra effort (simmering on the stovetop for about 10 minutes), but it is so worth it! I would honestly eat this frosting by the spoonful! The frosting recipe calls for Truvia Brown Sugar Blend (can substitute half as much coconut sugar), vegan buttery spread (can substitute regular butter), cornstarch (can substitute arrowroot starch, potato starch, or tapioca starch), and vanilla extract (not optional!)

I toasted some unsweetened shredded coconut and chopped pecans for the frosting, and oh boy… what a great idea! You can leave out the coconut and pecans if you prefer lower fat, but you’ll be missing a major flavor party (and it won’t be true to German chocolate cake). The melted chocolate is also optional, but highly recommended.

Now, here’s the recipe for this German Chocolate Protein Cake! I hope you love it as much as I did 😉 I’d love your comment below if you try this recipe.

This post contains affiliate links.

German Chocolate Protein Cake

This coconut pecan frosted German Chocolate Protein Cake is gluten-free, low sugar, and packed with protein! Easily made and single- or double-serve.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 servings


  • 35 g chocolate whey blend protein powder I used Quest Chocolate Milkshake protein
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder I used regular, not dark or Dutch-process
  • 3 tbsp. calorie-free sweetener I used one that's twice as sweet as sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt optional
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure pumpkin* or butternut squash puree
  • 2 tbsp. (1 large) egg whites* or yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk* or milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp. Truvia brown sugar blend* or 2 tbsp. coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch* or arrowroot, potato, tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp. buttery spread* vegan spread or unsalted butter
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Dash salt optional
  • 1 tbsp. chopped pecans optional
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut optional

Topping (optional)

  • 1 tbsp. dark chocolate chips melted


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Whisk together dry ingredients (through salt) in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Mix in wet ingredients (through vanilla extract) until smooth.
  • Lightly coat two 4-5″ baking dishes/ramekins, or one 8-9″ cake pan with cooking spray.
  • Divide batter between baking dishes/ramekins or pour into single cake pan.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Set cake(s) aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, make your frosting: add unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice) to a small sauce pan.
  • Whisk in brown sugar blend (or coconut sugar, regular brown sugar) and cornstarch (or arrowroot, potato, tapioca starch) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Simmer until thickened and volume is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in buttery spread (or ghee, butter), vanilla extract and salt (optional), then set frosting aside to cool.
  • For extra flavor, toast shredded coconut and pecans in a pan or skillet over medium heat until coconut is golden brown.
  • Stir coconut and pecans into frosting mixture.
  • Once cake is cooled, layer with frosting and enjoy! Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container (no preservatives).


Calories (half cake with optionals): 209kcal, Fat: 9.7g, Sat fat: 3.8g, Carbs: 24g, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 17g, Sodium: 375mg
Calories (half cake without optionals): 148kcal, Fat: 4.1g, Sat fat: 1.1g, Carbs: 19g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 16g, Sodium: 194mg

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