Extra-Decadent German Chocolate Cupcakes

We are pretty much German Chocolate Cake addicts. That’s the long and the short of it. It’s that fabulous frosting made with toasted pecans and coconut in a thickened brown sugar custard that is so hard to resist! But, we like it best with a darker chocolate cake rather than the traditional light Baker’s German’s Chocolate. This recipe also has an extra touch of decadence with a dark chocolate buttercream frosting in addition to the German Chocolate Frosting! Then, we toss on a sprinkling of toasted coconut just for grins! Happy grins at that!

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Decadent German Chocolate Cupcake with Two Frostings

We use Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate, Ghirardelli 60% cacao, or Guittard’s 63% Extra Dark chocolate chips in place of the traditional Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate in this cake and we love that taste because the Baker’s is such light chocolate at only 48% cacao. It’s barely chocolate, really! 

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Servings 24 Cupcakes
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes


  • 2 cupcake tins (12 cupcakes per tin)
  • 24 cupcake paper liners
  • 1 cake decorating bag
  • 1 couple for either an 822 or 824 cake decorating tip
  • 1 open star decorating tip (822 or 824)
  • Heavy saucepan



  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (between 54% and 70% cacao)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut toasted and 24 pecan halves

German Chocolate Frosting

  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (4 oz.)
  • 3 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temp (4 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup your favorite (unsweetened) cocoa powder
  • 4-5 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk



  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners. Lightly spray insides of liners with cooking spray.
  • Melt chocolate and water together in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in cooled melted chocolate to integrate
  • Add dries and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with dries, until all is used up.
  • Spoon batter into prepared cupcake tins. 
    Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean or the cupcake springs back when touched in the center.
    Remove from oven and cool completely.

German Chocolate Frosting

  • Combine evaporated milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, white sugar, salt and vanilla in a saucepan.
    Whisk to combine. Add butter.
    Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
    Remove from heat and stir in toasted pecans and coconut.
    Cool until thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. 

Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat butter in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. (Can also certainly use your standing mixer for this, but I still love using handheld beaters!) 
    Sift cocoa powder into beaten butter. Continue to beat on low speed until integrated.
    Add vanilla and beat well.
    Add powdered sugar and milk, a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until you have the desired spreading consistency. Add a smidge more powdered sugar or milk as needed.

Assembling the cupcakes

  • Spread German Chocolate over tops of cooled cupcakes, dividing equally among the 24 cupcakes.
    Using a #822 or #824 open star cake decorating tip, make a big swirl of the dark chocolate buttercream frosting over the top of each cupcake. Sprinkle with *toasted coconut and one pecan half. 
    *To toast the pecans and the coconut, spread each out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F for about 5 minutes, or until the coconut looks toasted and the pecans are toasted with a nice rich aroma. Be sure to keep an eye on them, because it’s easy to burn nuts and coconut if you walk away and forget about them!


This cake keeps really well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, but it tastes best if you take it out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving it because the flavors are more pronounced at room temp. 
In addition to using two (yes two!) different frostings for these amazing cupcakes, we also toasted some coconut for an added garnish along with a toasted half pecan for the final exclamation point!
Also, if you prefer, you can make two 8 or 9-inch layers for a layer cake.
Author: Suz
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Dark Chocolate Cake, German Chocolate Cake
Treks zz
A swirl of dark chocolate buttercream on top of German Chocolate Frosting makes these cupcakes extra-special and delicious!
Treks xx
If you prefer to stick with just the German Chocolate Frosting, double the recipe and using an ice cream scoop make a big mound of frosting on top of each cupcake!

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