German Chocolate Cake Frosting

You know, German Chocolate Cake from the store is okay, but once you’ve had homemade, it’s really hard to go back. So many of our family members’ birthday photos over the last few decades feature this cake. Because it is so amazing. It does take a fair amount of time and skill to frost the cake, but it’s so delicious!

Some tips: Stir constantly at the beginning so the egg doesn’t cook into small bits. If for some reason the egg does start looking like little scrambled egg bits, you can strain them out. And I have found if the frosting is still warm when you frost the cake, it’ll fall off the sides of the cake more easily. Of course that wouldn’t be an issue if you made the cake in an oblong cake pan, but we always make it as two round layers. And German chocolate cake seems especially soft and easy to rip, so frosting it is always tricky. But I’ve found that if I let the frosting cool in the fridge before I frost the cake, it’ll stay on the sides of the cake better once it is frosted. It’s best if it’s still a little spreadable, not totally cold and hard. But if it does get too cold, I’ve found that if I scoop out small spoonfuls of frosting and place them close to each other on the cake, I can use an offset spatula dipped in hot water to spread the spoonfuls into each other without ripping the cake. I never bother trimming the cake so it’s level because that seems like a waste of perfectly good cake. Here’s a picture of the whole cake:

Fun fact: German chocolate cake isn’t German. Haha, of course a cake with coconut wouldn’t be German. It’s just named after Samuel German, who invented the baking chocolate used in the cake.

If you’re making this one gluten free, of course the frosting itself is naturally gluten free (just check your nuts to make sure they don’t say, “May contain wheat” like a lot do)–you’ll just need a gluten free German chocolate cake.

German Chocolate Cake Frosting

  • Servings: 1 double layer cake
  • Difficulty: medium-hard
  • Print

The best German Chocolate Cake frosting you’ll ever have.


  • 2 c. Walnuts (use walnut halves and chop slightly)
  • 2 c. Shredded Coconut
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 2 c. Evaporated Milk
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • ¾ c. Butter
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla (add after cooking)


Before cooking, chop walnuts slightly on cutting board and chop shredded coconut in food processor so strands aren’t long and stringy. Set aside.

In heavy pan, whisk egg yolks and milk well before turning on heat. Mix in sugar and butter. Then place on medium heat. Cook and stir 12 minutes after it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Then stir in walnuts and coconut. Beat until thick enough to spread. Let cool in fridge for stiffer frosting.




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