German Chocolate Cake wouldn't be the same without this delicious frosting.

Pam Lolley

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Credit: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Recipe Summary

active:
25 mins
stand:
40 mins
total:
1 hr 5 mins
Yield:
5 cups
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German Chocolate Cake isn’t any old chocolate cake. Sure, it boasts a rich, moist sponge and intense chocolate flavor, but what really sets this towering layer cake apart is its signature frosting. Coconut-Pecan Frosting is the hallmark of a German Chocolate Cake (we dream about this special frosting more often than we’re willing to admit).

This Coconut-Pecan Frosting combines multiple textures and flavors—it’s chewy and slightly sweet from the coconut, with a wonderful crunch and nuttiness from the toasted pecans. Don’t chop your pecans too finely—they give the frosting body and help it maintain a crunch. A combination of granulated and brown sugar lends the frosting a caramel-like flavor that keeps you coming back for more.

This super-thick frosting calls for a unique decorating technique. You won’t be able to spread the frosting the usual way—it’s too thick. Instead, press the frosting gently into the sides and top of the cake using a small spatula (think of it almost like spackling). You want the frosting to be slightly warmer than room temperature so that it spreads easily and doesn’t tear the cake. But unlike those tricky caramel frostings, this one can be rewarmed if needed.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together evaporated milk, butter, sugars, and egg yolks in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and sugars dissolve, 3 to 4 minutes. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbling and reaches a pudding-like thickness, 12 to 14 more minutes. Remove from heat; stir in coconut, pecans, and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until slightly warm and spreading consistency, about 40 minutes.

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