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german chocolate filled cupcakes

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In my family, we all have our “cakes”. Which means that every birthday, we each get the same cake made by my Mama. My Dad gets a marble cake. My sister-in-law Aimee gets this amazing banana cake with lemon and raspberry frosting. If you know anything about me, you could have probably guessed what my cake is—German Chocolate Cake.

I think German Chocolate Cake (GCC) is pretty much everything that is right with the world. Deep, rich, bold dark chocolate and a rich, creamy, sticky sweet coconut and pecan frosting. It’s a good thing I think so highly of it, because I get a big honkin’ birthday cake of it every year in June!

Only this year, I won’t be seeing my Mama because of some extenuating circumstances. Of course, I wasn’t going to let my 28th year go by without the traditional coconut and chocolate sugar bomb. So I took matters in my own hands! Instead of doing the traditional birthday cake, I transformed GCC into shareable and transportable cupcakes. On a traditional GCC, the pecan and coconut frosting looks nice smeared all over the cake. But for some reason, a big ole lump of the non-traditional frosting on top of a cupcake didn’t appeal to me. So what’s a frosting fiend like me do? Make some chocolate ganache and pipe in on top of the cupcake and then reserve the coconut-pecan frosting for a specially, surprise filling.

If you are one of those people who like the cake part of cupcakes, go ahead and leave right now. You won’t like the rest of this post, and honestly, I’m not sure we can be friends.

(Okay, that’s a lie. Of course we can be friends, I’ll just mock you forever for liking cake more than frosting.)

To me, in cupcake land, the cake is just a vehicle for the frosting. A more polite way of getting my frosting fix than just sticking my fingers in the mixing bowl. Two frostings in one cupcake? This might just be the best birthday ever.

Time for a bit of food blogger honesty, I really don’t like baking. It’s all exact measurement this and chemical reaction that. Baking is science. Cooking is art. I like to toss a handful of this in or throw that on top. The exact chemistry that is baking is kinda lost on me. But that’s okay, I know my place. And I know that I can make really, really, really good cupcakes thanks to my friends from Duncan Hines.

Shock and awe. Yes, I use cake mixes. I bake cakes so infrequently and I despise the exact measurements so much that cake mixes are pretty much my savior. Plus, thanks to the little pudding trick (add one box of pudding to your cake mix, follow the rest of the directions as written), my cake mix cakes are super moist and gooey. Pretty much every time I make cupcakes, someone says, “Oh my gosh, this is the most moist and delicious cake I’ve ever had!” and I proudly announce it’s from a box. And then their face drops like I just told them Santa Claus is dead. Yes people, food bloggers take shortcuts, too.

Anywho, I’ll leave the cake part of up to (after all, totally the least important part), but what I will share are my recipes for the two frostings I used and my method for filling a cupcake.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Makes about 3 cups (enough to generously frost 2 dozen cupcakes)


  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional, adds shine)


  1. Combine chocolate chips and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  2. Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted, about 10 minutes.
  3. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in corn syrup.
  5. Transfer frosting to metal bowl (a stand-up mixer bowl if you have one) and place in the fridge to cool for about 2 hours or until spread-able.
  6. To fluff the frosting, give it a 2-3 minute whirl with your mixer. As air is incorporated into the frosting, it will turn a lighter color and increase in volume.

Coconut Pecan Frosting (German Chocolate Frosting)

***NOTE: A few folks are commenting that this frosting came out way too soupy for them. I’m not sure what is going on, but the next time I make them, I’ll check the recipe again. In the mean time, make sure the frosting cools COMPLETELY before you take it out to stuff or frost. It should be cold. Overnight would be best.***

Make about 4 cups (enough to frost a large cake)


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter (1-1/2 sticks) cut into pats
  • 1-12 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups toasted flake unsweetened coconut


  1. Combine yolks, evaporated milk, butter, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted and all ingredients are well-combined. Continue cooking for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in vanilla and salt, and then add coconut and pecans and stir until well combined.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool throughout.

How to Fill a Cupcake

There are lots of filling cupcake methods out there. If you have a smooth, thin filling (such as lemon curd) you could simply using a filling tip and pipe the filling into the center of the cupcakes. But a filling with big chunks of coconut and pecan takes a little more work.

Step 1: Once your cupcakes have cooled completely, take a sharp knife and insert it at a 45° angle at the to of the cupcake.

Step 2: Work your way all the way around the cupcake until you have a nice little cake cone that comes out of the middle of the cupcake.

Step 3: Fill ‘er up! Spoon in your filling. Don’t be afraid to pack it in there pretty tight.

Step 4: Slice the bottom part of the cone off, pop that into your mouth (quality control) and replace the top part back onto the cupcake.

Step 5: Frost and impress everyone with your mad baking skills.

Step 6: Eat.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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50 Responses
  1. Samm

    I can’t use the chocolate frosting because I need to color it, do you think buttercream or a cream cheese frosting would taste better with these?

  2. Tracie

    I am so glad to see that you use cake mix and pudding!! That is my trick also!! Why make things difficult when there are great tools out there already! I CAN’T wait to make these! They sound amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  3. thebakergirl

    Tried the recipe for my Easter desserts and like other comments, found the filling way too soupy (and that is even after I left it in the refrig overnight as suggested). I ended up adding another package of coconut and even after that it was still too soupy. I eventually drained off some of the liquid and filled the cupcakes. I also found the same with the icing. Made it just as suggested, put it in the refrig overnight and it was way too soupy to use as frosting. I ended up adding a lot of powder sugar (which made it very sweet). I would recommend only using half of the recommended evaporated milk. With my modifications, they turned out great!

  4. Rachel

    The coconut pecan icing needs to be cooked longer before cooling – just heating until melted and combined does not seem to be enough… I got a soupy result too. Main difference I can see between this and other recipes is the amount of time this cooks. Good luck!

  5. Gina

    Hii… Love the blog, I tried this recipe today and I’m not sure what happened but my filling also wouldn’t set properly. 🙁 I was able to thicken it up a bit using powdered sugar (tasting it after each tbsp), but after I filled the cupcakes it was just absorbed into the cake. I’m hoping they still turn out okay as they’re for a birthday party tonight. If you have any other solutions please let me know. 🙂

    1. sarah

      just cook it longer, mine turned soupy to so i just turned up the heat a little and stirred it every few minutes and it turned out great

  6. Sheena

    I made these cupcakes for Mother’s day and they were a huge hit! Both frostings came out perfect. I followed directions exactly and filling was not runny as other posts claimed. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Kate B

    Baaa ha ha…I am also in the camp of “cake is a vehicle for frosting”. I will be making these cupcakes for the MIL this weekend, so god bless you for giving me a way to score some extra brownie points with her!

    1. Cassie

      Kate: A few folks have mentioned that the filling frosting is too soupy for them. I haven’t got a chance to remake it and test out what is wrong, so you might want to try a different recipe instead of mine. This one is well reviewed. Good luck! 🙂

      1. Kate

        Thanks for the heads up, sister! I definitely went with your suggestion of browned sugar and toasted coconut and pecans, though, so you still get all the credit 🙂

  8. gina

    Bad recipe…. After two days of the filling sitting in the fridge, all I have is soup. Total waste of ingreds. Good thing I had a back up!

    1. Cassie

      Sorry it didn’t turn out, Gina! I’m glad you had a backup. I have a note up on the recipe that I’m going to retest it soon.

  9. Issa

    Unfortunately the german chocolate mixture came out soupy. It looked good on the top, but when I started scooping it out its way too much liquid. Sticking it in the freezer hoping it solidifys. 🙁

  10. Issa

    Unfortunately the german chocolate mixture came out soupy. It looked good on the top, but when I started scooping it out its was way too much liquid. Sticking it in the freezer hoping it solidifys. 🙁

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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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