German Chocolate Cupcakes

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As I write this post, I must admit I can’t believe it’s almost the end of January. Seriously, time is just whizzing by. But, I always look forward to Valentine’s Day and planning fun treats for my cookie business (which I’m terribly behind on…just f.y.i.) and for my family and friends. Evan calls Valentine’s day a “Hallmark Holiday” and doesn’t get quite as giddy over it as I do, but we still celebrate in some small way nonetheless.


Now, even though it’s very true that I’m currently waist-deep in Valentine’s decorations, heart-shaped cookie cutters and lots of red and pink stuff, I’m a gonna share a naughty, little secret with you all… my Christmas tree is still up. Shocking! I know. 

Yep, we are feeling super festive here! And our house is starting to resemble the lobby of a craft store… and I really need to take care of that before the end of the week. 



So, even though I’m dragging my feet on that tree, as usual I could hardly wait to get busy with some baking and these German chocolate cupcakes are seriously delicious. So, I’m pretty sure no one will disagree with a bit of extra, post-Christmas procrastinating so I can make them. But, if anybody happened to complain, I’m just going to ask them to eat a cupcake and enjoy it. Quietly.


Anyhoo, these German chocolate cupcakes were the first recipe to come to mind when I decided to get crackin’ on a Valentine’s Day treat post. (At least something is happening in a timely fashion around here, right??!) 

This recipe comes from one of the older Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks I own. The original recipe calls for regular sugar, shortening and sweet baking chocolate, but I’ve adapted it slightly by exchanging those ingredients with three of my favorite things on the planet: light brown sugar, butter and semi-sweet chocolate.  


When I first started out with this post, I planned to top the cupcakes with only the Coconut-Pecan frosting and it just seemed like something was missing. Then, I remembered that German chocolate cakes are always iced with some chocolate frosting too! So, even on a small scale, chocolate frosting had to happen with these cupcakes and I surrounded the coconut frosting with a pretty chocolate border. 

Since the chocolate border was an afterthought, I did use canned chocolate frosting here and it really worked out better that way for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was a huge time-saver and secondly, I only needed a tiny bit of it to make these borders. That coconut-pecan frosting is really the star of the show anyway, if you ask me. 🙂  
I used a disposable piping bag and a number 21 star tip to make the borders. But, if those aren’t items you normally have around like I do, you can clip the end of a plastic storage bag, such as a Ziplock, and pipe them that way too.

I’ll just throw in my 2¢ here and say that if you bake often, it’s worth it to invest in some of the Wilton disposable piping bags to keep around. You can use them for easy jobs like this one, even without special metal tips, and as a bonus they are recyclable! 
These cupcakes are super flavorful and pretty, and I think they are a perfect Valentine’s day sweet for your sweetie!

And, just in case you’ve ever wondered, the recipe for German chocolate cake does not come from Germany. The recipe is American and the cake is named after a brand of chocolate called German’s chocolate. It was a type of sweetened chocolate created by a man named Samuel German in 1852 for the Baker’s Chocolate Company. The first recipe for German Chocolate Cake was published in a newspaper in Dallas, Texas back in 1857.  

Historical references used for this post:



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German Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe by Marcelle at A Little Fish in the Kitchen Course: cakesDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



These chocolate cupcakes with their famously rich coconut-pecan frosting are a real treat for your sweeties, any time of the year!


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4  teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1 (4 oz) package semi-sweet baking chocolate (I used Baker’s brand)

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

  • Coconut-Pecan Frosting (recipe/instructions follow)

  • homemade or store-bought chocolate frosting, optional (I used Betty Crocker brand chocolate frosting)

  • For the Coconut-Pecan Frosting
  • 1 large egg

  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup salted butter

  • 1-1/3 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted pecan pieces (cookie pieces)


  • Pre-heat oven to 350° and line a muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners and set it aside. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium-size bowl and set it aside.
  • Break the chocolate bar into pieces and in a small sauce pan combine the chocolate with a 1/2 cup of water. Warm and stir the chocolate mixture over low heat until it’s melted. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and set it on a wire rack. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool slightly in the pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add in the brown sugar and beat until fluffy (about 2 min). Add in the eggs and vanilla then beat on low speed until all ingredients are combined. Stir in the melted chocolate and mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternately to the bowl with the egg mixture, beating on low speed until the cake batter is just combined (careful not to over mix the batter!) Use an ice cream scooper or a small ladle to fill each paper liner to 2/3 full. Bake for 13 -15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  • Remove pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow cupcakes to cool completely. Top the center of each cupcake with a heaping teaspoon of Coconut-Pecan Frosting. Pipe a simple border around the edge of the cupcake with chocolate frosting if desired.
  • Coconut-Pecan Frosting
  • In a medium saucepan, beat the egg slightly then stir in evaporated milk, sugar, and butter. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring often with a whisk until it thickens (mixture should be about the consistency of glue, about 12 minutes).
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the coconut and pecan pieces. Allow it to cool thoroughly (and try not to eat it all before you put it on the cupcakes!)


  1. I LOVE German Chocolate cake! Such a great flavor. And these cupcakes? They look wonderful. Can't believe February is already here — this year is moving at warp speed!

  2. Love how moist and delicious these little German Cakes look.

  3. Beautifully innovative. GREG

  4. these are perfect, especially since i always seem to cut myself a mega slice of german chocolate cake. built-in portion control!

  5. Hi Marcelle your cupcakes look so pretty. Love the piping. I need to add this to my list of cupcakes to make, because I love the flavor. Thank you for sharing at DI&DI. Have a great week.

  6. Hi Susan, thank you! I didn't realize the recipe was quite so old before I looked into it. I thought it was definitely information worth sharing 🙂

  7. Hi David! Finally got that tree put away over the weekend, but I'll admit I always miss the lights at night. Thank you 🙂

  8. Hi Cheri! Yes, sometimes shortcuts are just good ideas! 🙂 Thank you!

  9. Thank you for the background on German chocolate! Something I never knew.

  10. These look fantastic, Marcelle- and it is nice to see what your chocolate, butter, and eggs (from Instagram) became! Love German chocolate cake, and a cupcake is the perfect serving size! And, by the way, I love that your tree is still up! 🎄

  11. I love German chocolate anything!! Your cupcakes look fantastic!!!

  12. Hi Marcelle, these are absolutely gorgeous, you are such a great baker. Love that you used canned frosting for this (shortcuts are good). I will have to pick up a piping bag. Take care.

  13. Hi Angie! Yes…I have to make myself walk away from a whole bowl of that coconut topping! 🙂 Thank you

  14. I love the idea of making German chocolate cake into the cupcakes. I love esp. that coconuty topping!

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