German Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Don't want to get stuck with the tiny slice of cake? With these cupcakes, you can have your own mini German chocolate cake! Our Test Kitchen absolutely loved the texture and flavor of these German Chocolate Cupcakes. "These German Chocolate Cupcakes are moist and tender with a rich, chocolatey frosting, gooey coconut custard, and touch of crunch from the glazed pecans," one Test Kitchen Professional said. Between the soft cake, creamy frosting, rich custard, and touch of pecan, you can have all the flavor of a classic German chocolate cake in a sweet little package. Even though these German chocolate cupcakes look beautiful, baking shortcuts like store-bought cake mix and purchased glazed pecans make this recipe quicker and easier than it looks. We think these decadent cupcakes would pair perfectly with a big glass of cold milk or warm mug of coffee. If you love German chocolate cake, you have no reason not to try out this simple but gorgeous cupcake recipe!

German Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe
Photo: Photographer: Alison Miksch Food Stylist: Erin Merhar Prop Stylist: Prissy Lee
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 40 mins
24 cupcakes



  • 1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. German chocolate cake mix (such as Duncan Hines)

Coconut Custard

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 large eggs, beaten

  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting

  • 3 cups (about 12 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 cup glazed pecans, chopped


  1. Prepare the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 (12-cup) standard-size muffin pans with paper liners; set aside. Prepare cake batter according to package directions. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin cups. Bake cupcakes in preheated oven according to package directions until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Leave cupcakes in trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  2. Prepare the Coconut Custard: Stir together brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, eggs, and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium. Cook, stirring constantly using a rubber spatula and scraping down sides of pan constantly, until mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. (The mixture should have a gentle boil. Do not let eggs scramble. If mixture becomes too hot, remove pan from heat, while stirring constantly, until cooled down slightly. Then return to heat.) Remove from heat, and stir in toasted flaked coconut and vanilla. Transfer custard to a medium heat-proof bowl, and chill, stirring occasionally until completely cooled, about 1 hour.

  3. Prepare the Chocolate Frosting: Beat powdered sugar, cocoa, and butter with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and beat until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, and beat in evaporated milk and vanilla extract on low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a star attachment.

  4. Assemble the Cupcakes: Pipe 1/4 cup chocolate frosting in a circle around tops of each cupcake, leaving an opening in center. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut custard in center of each circle, and top with 1/2 tablespoon glazed pecans. Serve immediately. Cupcakes can be chilled without glazed pecans up to 24 hours. If chilled, remove cupcakes from refrigerator 30 minutes before topping with glazed pecans.

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