Soft and moist German Chocolate Cupcakes made with homemade chocolate and coconut pecan frosting are the stuff of dreams. 

It’s no secret that I have a major sweet tooth and easy (yet fancy looking) cupcakes are always one of my favorite things to take to a party.   Don’t miss my Reese’s Peanut Butter cupcakes or Pumpkin cupcakes.

German Chocolate Cupcakes with a bite taken out of one.

Our “Special Occasion” dessert growing up was always my Mom’s famous German Chocolate Cake. It’s what everyone requested for their birthday cakes (except me…I was the outcast who wanted Carrot Cake).

I wanted to make my mom’s version into cupcakes because sometimes they are more fun for parties with a lot of people because everyone can just take one and there’s no mess involved– no plates, knives, forks, and all that.

How to Make German Chocolate Cupcakes:

1. Make chocolate cupcakes.  Any chocolate cupcake recipe will do and you can even make them in advance and store them in the freezer for several weeks.

2. Make coconut pecan frosting.  Combine sugars, butter, egg yolks, and evaporated milk in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium heat. Stir constantly for several minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, nuts and coconut.

Two process photos for making coconut frosting for German Chocolate cupcakes.

3. Make chocolate frosting.  Melt butter, stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.  Stir in vanilla.

4. Frost cupcakes.

Two process photos of adding chocolate and then coconut frosting to German chocolate cupcakes.

MAKE AHEAD AND FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS:

To make ahead: Bake cupcakes one day in advance.  Allow to cool completely and store in refrigerator until ready to frost. Or make cupcakes several days in advance and freeze.

To freeze frosted: Make chocolate cupcakes and allow them to cool completely. Top with coconut filling and frost with chocolate frosting and place cupcakes on a sheet pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours. Once well frozen, transfer them to an airtight container and freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw at in the fridge overnight.

Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 3 months.

German Chocolate Cupcakes on a board with chopped pecans scattered around.

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Recipe

German Chocolate Cupcakes with a bite taken out of one.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 12 mins
Total 27 mins
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Ingredients
  

Coconut Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

For the coconut frosting:

  • In a medium saucepan add brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, egg yolks, and evaporated milk. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a low boil over medium heat. Stir constantly for several minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, nuts and coconut.

For the chocolate frosting:

  • Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. 
  • Pipe chocolate frosting along the outside edge of a chocolate cupcake. Spoon coconut frosting in the center.

Notes

Make ahead Instructions: Bake cupcakes one day in advance.  Allow to cool completely and store in refrigerator until ready to frost. Or make cupcakes several days in advance and freeze.
Freezing Instructions: To freeze frosted cupcakes, Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, Add frostings and place cupcakes on a sheet pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours. Once well frozen, transfer them to an airtight container and freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw at in the fridge overnight.
Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 475kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 5gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 270mgPotassium: 190mgFiber: 2gSugar: 48gVitamin A: 385IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 122mgIron: 1.6mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

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I originally shared this recipe February 2016. Updated March 2020 with process photos and freezing instructions.

HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love to bake. I have never made german chocolate cake. And whenever I make cupcakes they are always dry. But these were the best cupcakes!!!! I made them for my sons birthday and took the rest to my doctors office. Everyone was so complimentary. A definite keeper!!!

  2. 5 stars
    These are delicious, but when I made them, they fell. None of my ingredients were expired, and I baked them for probably 25-26 minutes, because the toothpick kept coming out wet. Any idea why they would fall?

  3. 5 stars
    Made these and they turned out great- very rich & delicious! Doubled the recipe for 4 dozen cupcakes.

  4. 5 stars
    I bake cakes for the folks a work when they have birthdays—their choice. I am repeatedly asked for this very cake—they love it. I bake it in a 9 x 13 pan because it makes more sense for a crowd. I am gluten-free, so I have never tasted the cake, but I get rave review every time I bake it. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Hi there,

    My coconut ftosting didn’t thicken up as much as I think it should it’s still not really spreadable, could I put it in the fridge? Thanks!

    1. Cook it in the saucepan until thickened, and then it will thicken more as it cools in the fridge.

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious! I used a high quality cocoa that really kicked it up a notch. They are not too sweet which is good because it offsets the frosting. It’s delicious but sweet.

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks SO much for this recipe – it is absolutely delicious! This recipe came just in time, as I was looking for a dessert to make for a son-in-law’s birthday this week. I used your “Hershey’s ‘perfectly chocolate’ Chocolate Cake” recipe for the cupcakes – perfect!

  8. 5 stars
    I made these cupcakes for my son’s 16th birthday and they were SENSATIONAL! Definitely recommend following the recipe to make the chocolate cupcakes from scratch, if time allows, as the cake flavor and texture is just perfect (much better than boxed mix). I once made a German chocolate cake, which I adored, but was looking for smaller sized portions and this recipe piqued my curiosity. Also saw the YouTube video on frosting tips which helped.
    Thanks Lauren. Will make them again and share with friends.
    Elizabeth

  9. 5 stars
    Thank you! I ended up using your mom’s recipe and it came out great! So easy! And my coworkers absolutely loved this!

    Ended up getting 30 cupcakes out of this recipe and all 30 of them were gone by the end of the day lol.

  10. If I’m using your mother’s recipe for the cupcakes, what would you recommend for a baking time? Hoping to make these for a coworker’s retirement party 🙂 Looks delicious!

        1. Hi Julie, I use 1 chocolate cake mix + 4 eggs, the same amount of oil called for on the box, milk instead of water (same amount called for on box), and a small spoonful of sour cream.