German Chocolate Cupcakes
These German Chocolate Cupcakes are made with a deliciously moist and rich chocolate cupcake base, filled with a thick and smooth chocolate mousse frosting and topped with a homemade Coconut Pecan Frosting. These are the best German Chocolate Cupcakes you’ll ever have!
Did you know that each year for my birthday I make some form of a German chocolate dessert for myself? (And yes I make it for myself!) If you’re a big German chocolate fan too, then you should definitely check out my Small German Chocolate Cake, German Chocolate Brownies, and my 8-inch layered German Chocolate Cake recipe!
Why This Recipe Works
- Every element is perfection. The chocolate cupcake base is so moist and tender, the toasted coconut pecan frosting has a perfect consistency, not too stiff and not too runny, and the chocolate mousse is light, rich and fluffy!
- Rich chocolate flavor. The German Chocolate cupcake recipe uses the cocoa blooming method. This means we add hot water to the mixture which helps to bring out a richer chocolate flavor.
- Perfectly delicious coconut pecan frosting. Not only is this frosting made from scratch, but we use toasted coconut and toasted pecans for the frosting which makes a big difference.
- Dutch Process Cocoa Powder: This is different than your classic unsweetened cocoa powder. Dutch process cocoa powder is darker in color and richer in flavor. Learn more about the Best Cocoa Powder for Baking and why we use the different kinds!
- Buttermilk: You want the buttermilk to be at room temperature to help incorporate into the German cupcake batter better. The buttermilk is an acid which will react when combined with the baking soda, providing a light texture (while also providing moisture!).
- Hot Water: The hot water blooms the cocoa powder. Blooming cocoa powder is what happens when you add hot liquid to the cocoa powder. It brings out a richer and deeper chocolate flavor.
- Vegetable Oil: The best fat for cakes and cupcakes is oil! This keeps the cupcakes much more moist than if the batter was made with butter.
- Homemade Coconut Pecan Frosting: You’ll need a 1/2 batch of my Coconut Pecan Frosting. The frosting is made with heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, toasted pecans, and toasted coconut. The toasted coconut pecan filling found in German chocolate cakes will top our cupcakes.
- Unsalted Butter: This forms the base of the chocolate frosting mousse. I prefer using unsalted butter since there isn’t any salt called for in the recipe.
- Powdered Sugar: If you sift the powdered sugar, you’ll get a smoother texture.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate: Use a baking chocolate bar instead of chocolate chips. Chocolate chips include stabilizers to help them keep their shape. This makes the chocolate harder to melt smoothly.
- Whisk the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until combined.
- Combine the wet ingredients. Add the egg, buttermilk, hot water, oil and vanilla extract to a large liquid measuring cup. Whisk until combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Increase to medium speed and mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Fill the cupcake liners. Line a cupcake pan with liners and fill each liner 1/2 full with the German Chocolate cupcake batter.
- Bake the German chocolate cupcakes. Bake at 350°F for 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center most cupcake comes out clean with a few moist crumbs. Remove and let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Core the German Chocolate cupcakes. Using a cupcake corer or a piping tip (see recipe tips for details) remove the center of each cupcake.
- Make the Coconut Pecan Frosting Recipe. Make a 1/2 batch of my coconut pecan frosting recipe. You’ll want to make some Toasted Coconut for the frosting.
- Make the whipped chocolate mousse. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the butter for 4 minutes until smooth. On low, add the powdered sugar. Once combined, add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate. Whip for 1 minute on medium speed. Add the heavy cream and whip for 1-2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and whip for 30 seconds. Place in a piping bag.
- Fill with mousse and top with frosting. Fill the centers of the cupcakes with the chocolate mousse and spread some of the coconut pecan frosting on top. Enjoy!
I used hot water for these German Chocolate cupcakes, however hot coffee is a great alternative. Coffee is known to accentuate chocolate flavor, so if you’re a coffee drinker, you can use coffee! I don’t drink coffee so I used hot water.
Only fill the liners half full. The cupcakes will rise quite a bit in the oven so to avoid any muffin tops, refrain from overfilling the liners.
If you have a cupcake corer, you can use that to remove the cores. If you don’t, use a large piping tip. Place the larger end on top of the cupcake in the center. Turn the piping tip in a circle while you gently press down until you reach about halfway down the cupcake. Remove the piping tip and you’ll have the core of the cupcake in the piping tip. I suggest you eat the cupcake core! It’s good! I like to spoon a little of the mousse and coconut pecan frosting and top it with the cupcake core and eat it right away 🙂
Use toasted coconut and toasted pecans for the frosting. I’ve made this frosting without toasted coconut and it didn’t work. The texture was way off! Toasting coconut is really easy, I have an easy and straight forward guide to toasting coconut so be sure to check it out. The coconut-pecan frosting is the classic German Chocolate frosting!
Make the frosting while the cupcakes are in the oven. This way the coconut pecan frosting and the cupcakes can be cooling at the same time.
My cupcakes baked for 14-15 minutes. If your oven temperature is a bit off, you may have to bake them longer, about 18 minutes. Check the cupcakes to make sure you don’t over bake them. Over baking cake will make them dry. Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is at the right temperature.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
You can make each of the elements in this German cupcakes recipe ahead of time and store them to make or frost later.
Store German Chocolate cupcakes in the fridge for 3-4 days. Mine never last past 1 day. We devour these delicious cupcakes the same day! But you can store each element as instructed below.
The chocolate buttercream mousse will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 5-6 days.
Coconut pecan frosting will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight.
To freeze the cupcakes (unfrosted) let cool completely and then wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. These will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge, core, fill with mousse and top with frosting.
To freeze filled and frosted cupcakes, flash freeze until the frosting is firm. Wrap each cupcake individually in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. These will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight.
Yes. If they have the chocolate mousse/frosting and the coconut pecan frosting on top then they need to be refrigerated. If it is just the German Chocolate cupcake base, then those can be stored at room temperature in a ziplock bag.
Yes you can! See my Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing section above.
The key to a moist cupcake is the type of fat that is used. Using oil will give you a much more moist crumb texture because oil is a liquid at room temperature. Another thing that makes these super moist German chocolate cupcakes is the buttermilk!
It comes from Samuel German who invented a type of baking chocolate that was used in chocolate cakes, according to NPR.
More Chocolate Cakes
- Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Cake Pops
- Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
- Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake
German Chocolate Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg - at room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk - at room temperature
- 1/2 cup hot water - or hot coffee
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Coconut Pecan Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with liners and set aside.
- In bowl of an electric mixer whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large liquid measuring cup whisk the egg, buttermilk, hot water (or coffee), oil and vanilla.
- Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix for another 30 seconds.
- Scoop (pour) the batter into the cupcake liners, the batter is very very thin, filling only halfway full, or up to 2/3 full but no more!
- Bake for 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. **
- Remove from the oven and allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Coconut Pecan Frosting
- In a saucepan whisk the cream sugar, egg yolks, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occassionally. Bring to a low simmer and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla, toasted coconut and pecans. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Whipped Chocolate Mousse
- With the whisk attachment, whip the butter on medium speed for 4 minutes.
- Reduce speed and slowly add the powdered sugar. Once combined add the vanilla and melted chocolate. Whip at medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and whip for another 1-2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and whip for another 30 seconds.
- Place the frosting/mousse in a piping bag.
- Remove the center of the cupcakes with a cupcake corer***. Fill the centers with the chocolate mousse. Spoon a generous amount of coconut pecan frosting overtop of each cupcake. Enjoy!