Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck
Hands-on Time
25 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 38 Mins
Makes about 5 cups

If you are a fan of pecans and coconut, you are going to love this decadent and delicious frosting that takes german chocolate cake to the next level.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes).

Step 2

Meanwhile, cook evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a heavy 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cook, stirring constantly, 12 to 14 minutes or until mixture becomes a light caramel color, is bubbling, and reaches a pudding-like thickness.

Step 3

Remove pan from heat; stir in coconut, vanilla, and pecans. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes or until cooled and spreading consistency.

Ratings & Reviews

May 01, 2016
sounds good I'm going to do that what you said is to make the frosting along with the cake as it is cooking also i like to toast the pecans the day before because the flavor is better thank u for good tip.

LadyEllaJane's Review

March 28, 2014
This is the DEFINITIVE German Chocolate Cake Frosting. It has the perfect and most DELICIOUS richness and was very simple to make. The only thing I would change on the next time I make this frosting is to increase all the ingredients by 1/2 to have enough frosting for the cake sides. It was still VERY delicious even with just frosting between the cake layers. I would also suggest making the frosting while the cake is baking to synchronize the cooling times of the cake layers and frosting. By the time the frosting is made the cake should be ready to be taken from the oven. The layers rest in the pan for 15 minutes before they are removed and completely cooled on the wire racks, therefore making both perfect to assemble in a timely fashion.

Revronb's Review

March 12, 2013
This is best cake I've ever baked scrumptious !!

michelleangel1's Review

July 15, 2014
I've been making this cake for years and this is the best full proof!!!!!

sistermae7247's Review

November 14, 2012
I love this cake. I make this cake every Thanksgiving, the cake is really moist and the frosting is so good I have to stop myself from eating it before I put it on the cake.

littlejosie's Review

September 28, 2011
This frosting came out great. However next time I will make the frosting before I make Mama's German Chocolate Cake, my cake cooled before the frosting was cool enough to apply to the cake.

JenniferRice's Review

March 28, 2013
This has got to be the best cake I've ever made! It's so moist, probably due to the buttermilk. The first time I made it though, there wasn't enough icing to cover the cake so now I always make a double batch of it! I recently brought it to a fund raising event & have been told that they need to come up with another reason for me to make it again. It was a big hit!

Was intimidated at first, but turned out great!

April 24, 2016
First time making any layer cake and it was a success! The cake turned out perfectly moist and the icing was delicious. I doubled the icing like people have said and Im glad I did because the edges of each cake ended up having this uneven wavy appearance that covered up nicely with the extra icing. I guess the batter didnt press flush to the edges of the pans and parchment paper caused a wavy pattern. Ah well..tasted good :) 


June 23, 2016
I made this cake for the first time and will be making it again tomorrow. I didn't think I was as big a fan of German Chocolate cake as my husband (who LOVES it) however this recipe made me a fan too! This is a keeper for sure. Southern Living has the best recipes and being a Georgia girl I knew that I have found the only GC cake I will ever make...

Awesome frosting

June 03, 2017
My sister loves German chocolate cake so for her birthday I made this cake but I used walnuts ( her favorite) instead of the pecans. Our family now calls it crack cake. Lol