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German Chocolate Cupcakes

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These German chocolate cupcakes are decadent and irresistible! They start with my best ever chocolate cupcakes made with milk chocolate. Those are filled with a coconut pecan filling and finally topped with chocolate buttercream, desiccated coconut, and chopped pecans.

German chocolate cupcake

These treats are perfect mini versions of the cake! Around here, we like them even better than the cake.

Ingredients

german Baker's chocolate bar

Some of the key ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are:

  • Milk chocolate or Baker’s brand chocolate – The name German chocolate cake comes not from the fact that the cake has origins in Germany but rather because it uses a brand of chocolate bar called German’s. You can use any sweet milk chocolate to make the cupcakes, but use Baker’s brand chocolate for the most authentic flavor.
  • Desiccated coconut – This is shredded (not flaked) coconut that is typically found in the baking section of grocery stores. Sweetened is the most authentic, but I prefer unsweetened.
  • Chopped pecans – Pecans are a must in these cupcakes! You’ll use them both in the filling and as a topping.
  • Evaporated milk – This is really important for the coconut pecan filling.

How It’s Made

Milk Chocolate Cupcakes

You will need to start with 16 milk chocolate cupcakes to make this dessert. I highly recommend that you use my chocolate cupcake recipe with milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate (see the recipe at the bottom of this post), but you can use any milk chocolate cupcakes that you like.

Pulling chocolate cupcakes from the oven

Filling

German chocolate cupcake cut open showing the inside

German chocolate cake is traditionally frosted with coconut pecan frosting.

In the case of these cupcakes, the coconut pecan frosting is used as a filling.

Start by combining 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.

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

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in desiccated coconut. 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.

The easiest way to fill the cupcakes is to use a knife to cut circles in the centers of the cupcakes going almost all of the way down to their bottoms. Pull the little cores out.

Removing a piece of a cupcake to fill it

Use a spoon, scoop, or piping bag to fill the holes.

German chocolate cupcake right after being filled

Frosting

Frosting the cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream adds to their chocolaty goodness. The recipe is repeated at the bottom of this post, and the step-by-step instructions are available on my standalone post about the frosting.

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

Finally, top the cupcakes with extra coconut, chopped pecans, and some chocolate syrup.

Two German chocolate cupcakes on the counter

Expert Tips and FAQs

How can I store these?

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.

You can also freeze excess filling in an airtight container and it should last for several months.

Why did my cupcakes come out gummy?

It’s likely that you overmixed the batter. Overmixing can definitely make the cupcakes gummy.

Do I make the cupcakes or filling first?

If you’re making cupcakes from scratch instead of buying them for this recipe, make the filling first. This will allow it time to chill before you need it.

What should I do with all of the cupcake cores I removed?

Eating them is the baker’s reward! You can eat them plain or cover them with leftover filling and frosting.

Are German chocolate cakes and cupcakes from Germany?

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.”

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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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4.8 from 20 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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

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