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Not just for cake, this rich, nutty German Chocolate Cake Frosting is loaded with coconut, pecans, and caramel notes with a balanced sweetness that has so many uses it deserves it’s own post! Use it to top brownies, fudge, cheesecake, or chocolate cookies to create a decadent dessert with amazing texture and flavor!

Love coconut? Be sure to visit some of our other popular coconut-forward posts like Toasted Coconut Pancakes or 7 Layer Bars!

A container filled with homemade coconut pecan frosting.

Coconut pecan frosting is probably the reason why you eat German chocolate cake, right? But what if I told you that it tastes great on other chocolatey desserts as well? Enjoying this thick and creamy German chocolate cake frosting over my delicious fudgy brownies or some chocolate cookies can change your life. 

What is coconut pecan frosting?

German chocolate cake frosting is a light brown, slightly caramelized frosting with shreds of sweetened coconut and chopped pecans throughout it. It’s so delicious, and one I’m very familiar with as a number of my family members claimed German chocolate cake as their traditional birthday dessert while I was growing up.

While it is easy enough to pick up a premade container of frosting from the store, using this German chocolate cake frosting recipe to make your own at home is approximately 1 million times better! The flavors are more complex and pronounced, and the store-bought version just can’t compare!

Believe it or not, making this coconut pecan frosting at home is incredibly easy. It’s as simple as spending a few minutes in front of your stove and melting some ingredients together in a pot. If you can do that, what’s stopping you?

German chocolate frosting in a pot.

How to make the BEST German chocolate cake frosting

  1. Cook the frosting: In a saucepan over medium heat, stir and melt together your sugar, milk, butter, and egg yolks until it thickens and turns golden brown. This should take about 5 minutes, and you’ll want to make sure to stir constantly so that the egg yolks don’t become scrambled eggs. 
  1. Add vanilla, coconut, and pecans: Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients until they are all coated in the sweet, sticky base.
  2. Let it cool: Cool for at least 30 minutes or until it’s thick enough to spread on our cake layers. The frosting will continue to thicken and set up a bit as it cools. You can even be make it a day or two in advance and keep the frosting in the fridge until it’s ready to use.
Coconut and pecans in a pot.

Can you freeze coconut pecan frosting?

You can freeze your frosting for up to 4 months in an airtight container. Just bring it back to room temperature and stir before using. This is great if you make a double or triple batch and don’t need to use all of it. Store the remaining frosting in your freezer and wait for the chance to use it.

What to do if your coconut pecan frosting doesn’t fully thicken

If your frosting doesn’t fully thicken, you may not have cooked it long enough to evaporate out the excess liquid and get it to thicken on its own. In this event, try adding a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar as a thickening agent and chill the frosting in the fridge to see if you can get it to come together. Keep in mind that the powdered sugar may cause the frosting to taste a little different than intended.

A layer of chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting spread on top.

More Frosting Recipes

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German Chocolate Cake Frosting
Yield: 16 servings

German Chocolate Cake Frosting

This rich, nutty German Chocolate Cake Frosting is loaded with caramel notes and a balanced sweetness that has so many uses it deserves it's own post! Use it to top german chocolate cake, brownies, fudge, cheesecake, or chocolate cookies to create a decadent dessert with amazing texture and flavor!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Heat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and add coconut, pecans, and vanilla. The frosting will continue to thicken as it cools. Cool for at least 30 minutes until thick enough to spread before assembling the cake.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 141mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 24gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.