German Chocolate Cupcakes Filled with German Chocolate Frosting
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German Chocolate Cupcakes

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These German chocolate cupcakes are decadent and irresistible! They start with a milk chocolate version of my best ever chocolate cupcakes. They are then filled with German chocolate frosting and topped with a chocolate buttercream, desiccated coconut, and chopped pecans.

German chocolate cupcake

How to Make German Chocolate Cupcakes

First, if you are new to making cupcakes, be sure to read my guide to cupcakes before starting.

These cupcakes have three different components. Let’s take a look at each one!

German Chocolate Frosting

German chocolate cupcake cut open showing the inside
German chocolate cake is traditionally frosted with coconut pecan frosting.

In the case of German chocolate cupcakes, the coconut pecan German chocolate frosting is used as a filling for the cupcakes.

To Make German Chocolate Frosting:

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and egg in a small saucepan on medium heat.

Whisking eggs and other ingredients on stove
Mix until it all starts to bubble.

It is very important to stir CONSTANTLY. If you don’t, you will end up with scrambled eggs in your frosting!!

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in desiccated coconut. Desiccated coconut is the shredded (not flaked) coconut that is typically found in the baking section of grocery stores.

I prefer to use unsweetened coconut, but sweetened coconut will work as well (and it is more traditional).

Adding coconut to pot
Next, mix in chopped pecans and vanilla extract.

Adding chopped pecans to pot
Cool in the refrigerator while you make the cupcakes. As it cools, it will thicken up and be easier to scoop.

Milk Chocolate Cupcakes

Pulling chocolate cupcakes from the oven
You can really use any chocolate cupcake recipe to make these cupcakes. But, for a classic German chocolate cake flavor, use milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate. The recipe below is my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe made with milk chocolate.

Chocolate Buttercream

chocolate buttercream being piped onto chocolate cupcakes
Frosting the cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream adds to their chocolaty goodness. My easy, from-scratch recipe is also below.

How to Fill Cupcakes

Filled cupcakes are extra special because of the surprise treat inside.

The easiest way to fill the cupcakes up with German chocolate frosting is to use a knife to cut circles in the centers of the cupcakes going almost all of the way down to the bottom. Pull the little cupcake pieces out.

Removing a piece of a cupcake to fill it
Use a spoon, scoop, or piping bag to fill the holes with the frosting.

German chocolate cupcake right after being filled
Then, pipe the chocolate buttercream right over the filled holes. No one will ever know the filling is there until they bite into a cupcake!

Piping chocolate buttercream over filled cupcake

Best Tips for Making German Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Always make the German chocolate frosting first. This will allow it time to chill before you use it as a filling.
  • Be careful not to overmix the cupcake batter. Overmixing can make the cupcakes gummy.
  • Top the cupcakes with extra coconut, chopped pecans, and some chocolate syrup.

German Chocolate Cake is Not German

Two German chocolate cupcakes on the counterGerman chocolate cake is not actually German. According to Kitchen Project,

A recipe for German’s Chocolate Cake first appeared in a Dallas, Texas newspaper in 1957. That it was sent in by a Dallas homemaker is all we know. According to Patricia Riso, a spokeswomen for Kraft foods, it used a brand of chocolate bar called German’s which had been developed in 1852 by an Englishman named Sam German, for Baker’s Chocolate Company.

german Baker's chocolate bar
Use Baker’s brand chocolate in the cupcakes for the most traditional German chocolate flavor.

If you want to try some authentic German desserts, try spritz cookies or pfeffernusse cookies.

If You Like Chocolate and Coconut, You May Also Like…

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Two German chocolate cupcakes on a counter decorated with chocolate frosting swirls, coconut flakes, pecans, and drizzled with chocolate syrup
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4.75 from 16 votes

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Decadent German chocolate cupcakes recipe filled with German chocolate frosting and topped with rich chocolate buttercream.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes
Servings 16 cupcakes
Calories 466kcal
Author Stefani


Coconut Pecan Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg thoroughly beaten
  • 1/2 cups desiccated coconut sweetened or unsweetened; have a little extra for decorating the cupcakes
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans plus a little extra for decorating the cupcakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder natural or Dutched will both work with this recipe
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 9 tablespoons vegetable oil This is the same as 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon - measure in a liquid measuring cup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water room temperature, measured in a liquid measuring cup

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar add more if needed to get desired stiffness
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • chocolate syrup to taste, for decorating cupcakes


Coconut Pecan Frosting Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and egg.
  • Cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to lightly bubble. Stir CONSTANTLY!! or you will end up with scrambled eggs in your frosting!!
  • Remove from heat immediately and stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate while you prepare, bake, and cool cupcakes.

Cupcake Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder into a separate medium-sized bowl. Use a fork or a whisk to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well after sifting. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until fully combined. The end result should look like wet sand.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.
  • Once the melted chocolate is cool enough to touch, add it to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Mix in eggs and egg yolks one at a time until just combined.
  • Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream until just combined.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three additions, mixing until just combined after each addition.
  • Mix in water until just combined.
  • Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and put in the oven.
  • Check for doneness at 18 minutes - a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean. If they are not done, check again every three minutes until they are done.
  • Immediately remove cupcakes from the cupcake tin and place on a cooling rack or on the counter to cool to room temperature.
  • Cut out a cone in the center of each cupcake going almost all of the way to the bottom. Go ahead and eat the removed cones. You won't be needing them!
  • Fill the holes with German chocolate frosting using a spoon, scoop, or piping bag. They can mound over the top of the hole just a little bit.

Chocolate Buttercream Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter at high speed for three minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in cocoa powder.
  • Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time.
  • Mix in vanilla and salt.
  • Pipe over filled cupcakes.
  • Optionally, decorate with pecans, coconut, and chocolate syrup.


Always make the German chocolate frosting first. That way it has time to chill and thicken while the cupcakes are baking.
You may have a little extra German chocolate frosting. If you do, it's wonderful to spread on toast or mix into ice cream.
These cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container and will stay good for three days at room temperature or five days in a refrigerator.


Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 226mg | Potassium: 164mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 628IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg
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German Chocolate Cupcakes
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