Coconut-Pecan Frosting


Grab a glass of milk.

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins
5 cups

Sure, a moist German chocolate cake is rich and decadent on its own, but no chocolate cake is complete without frosting. Just ask your kids. Or Mama, for that matter.

Our Coconut-Pecan Frosting Recipe is the perfect German chocolate cake icing. Thick, nutty, and delicious, we dare say this icing might be the very best reason to slice into a piece of chocolate cake.

This coconut-pecan icing begins with toasted pecans. While you're waiting patiently for the pecans to toast, it's a cinch to concoct the base of your coconut icing by creating a mixture on the stove using evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, and butter. Once your base is bubbling and becomes caramel in color, remove from heat, stir in your other few ingredients, and let it sit.

The best part? A small amount of this homemade chocolate cake frosting goes a long way, so you won't have to worry about having enough for every bite. You will want to make sure you've got a glass of milk on hand, though.

coconut pecan frosting on chocolate layer cake

Courtney West/Southern Living


  • 2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts

  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

  • ¾ cups butter

  • 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten

  • 2 - 2 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut

  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes).

    pecans on baking sheet

    Courtney West / Southern Living

  2. Meanwhile, cook evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a heavy 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cook, stirring constantly, 12 to 14 minutes or until mixture becomes a light caramel color, is bubbling, and reaches a pudding-like thickness.

    ingredients in sauce pan

    Courtney West / Southern Living

  3. Remove pan from heat; stir in coconut, vanilla, and pecans. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes or until cooled and spreading consistency.

    coconut pecan frosting in sauce pan

    Courtney West / Southern Living

    coconut-pecan frosting on chocolate cake layer

    Courtney West / Southern Living

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