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.
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 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.
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).
Next, mix in chopped pecans and vanilla extract.
Cool in the refrigerator while you make the cupcakes. As it cools, it will thicken up and be easier to scoop.
Milk Chocolate Cupcakes
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.
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.
Use a spoon, scoop, or piping bag to fill the holes with the frosting.
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!
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
German 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.
Use Baker’s brand chocolate in the cupcakes for the most traditional German chocolate flavor.
If You Like Chocolate and Coconut, You May Also Like…
- Chocolate coconut macaroons (or just regular coconut macaroons or coconut clusters)
- Triple chocolate coconut cookies
- Chocolate coconut truffles
German Chocolate Cupcakes
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
- 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.
- 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.