German Chocolate Cupcakes

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These German chocolate cupcakes are rich, chocolaty and decadent. Topped with luscious swirls of caramel buttercream frosting, they’re sprinkled with coconut and crowned with Samoas cookies or pecans. An ideal cupcake to make during Girl Scout cookie season.

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German chocolate cupcakes on a serving table.

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🧑🏼‍🍳 Why These Cupcakes are Special

Traditional German chocolate cupcakes are iced with caramel-flavored frosting and garnished with toasted coconut flakes. Classic versions of this recipe call for pecans mixed into the icing or sprinkled on top.

What makes our cupcakes extra special is we garnish them with a twist. Instead of pecans we crown the desserts with Samoas Girl Scout cookies. These cookies have all the classic flavors of German chocolate cupcakes – drizzles of chocolate, toasted coconut flakes and thick caramel.

Our gourmet presentation is adorably stylish. It makes these cupcakes stand out in a crowd. But if you desire a more traditional look and taste – it’s very easy to do. Instead of Samoas, top the treats with a large pecan half inserted upright and slightly slanted in the center of the frosting.

A German chocolate cupcake with its paper wrapper pulled down.

Make these bakery-style treats for birthday parties, Mother’s Day and other fun occasions. They’re fabulous end-of-the year cupcakes for PTA luncheons and graduations. Serve these Samoas-topped desserts at Girl Scout award ceremonies. Enjoy them with milk, coffee or an iced vanilla latte.

A bite taken out of a German Chocolate cupcake.

🛒 Ingredients

For Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Whole Milk: Provides richness and moisture so the cupcakes aren’t dry. If desired, you can use buttermilk instead.
  • Vegetable Oil: Adds richness and tenderness.
  • Large Eggs: Provide structure, richness, leavening and flavor. They help bind the ingredients in the cupcake batter together.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients while contributing a delicious bakery taste and aroma.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Builds structure, and keeps the batter from being too wet.
  • Sea Salt: Perks up the flavors of the other ingredients. It also enhances the flavor of chocolate.
  • Unsweetened Baking Cocoa: I use Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa. It gives German chocolate cupcakes a deep dark color. But you can use any Dutched cocoa. Or use 100% natural unsweetened cocoa instead.
  • Baking Powder: A leavening agent that helps the cupcakes rise so they’re light and fluffy.
Ingredients for German chocolate cupcakes.

For Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • Butter: Is the base of the buttercream frosting. Make sure it’s fully softened so it will combine smoothly with the powdered sugar.
  • Powdered Sugar: Provides structure while adding sweetness. Feel free to add a bit more or less until you reach a desired consistency.
  • Salted Caramel Sauce: Classic German chocolate cupcakes feature delicious frosting with a caramel flavor. The caramel sauce should be thick not runny. You can make it at home or buy it at the market.
  • Toasted Coconut: Buy flaked coconut and toast it in the oven. I prefer unsweetened coconut for this recipe as the caramel buttercream is already sweet. But if desired, use sweetened coconut instead.
  • Sea Salt: If needed to balance the flavors or tamp down sweetness.
  • Samoas Girl Scout Cookies (or Pecans): During Girl Scout cookie season, I top these German chocolate cupcakes with Samoas instead of pecans. If using pecans, crown the dessert with pecan halves.
Ingredients for caramel buttercream frosting.

📖 Recipe Steps

Make Chocolate Cupcakes

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-well cupcake pan with parchment paper-cupcake liners.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, oil, eggs and vanilla until light and frothy.
  2. Add granulated sugar. Whisk to combine. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Mix just until no large lumps remain. This is important 👉🏻 do not overmix.
  3. With a 1/4 measuring cup, divide the batter between the 12 lined wells of the cupcake pan. (Fill each well with 1/4 cup batter.)
  4. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of 2 cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
How to make German chocolate cupcakes, step by step.

Make Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  1. Add softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix until fully incorporated.
  2. Add in thick salted caramel. Mix on low speed until the frosting is smooth – about 30 seconds. Turn the speed to medium and beat until the caramel buttercream is light and fluffy – about 30 to 45 seconds.
Caramel buttercream frosting in the metal bowl of a stand mixer.

Assemble German Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Transfer the caramel buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a metal tip. Frost the cupcakes as desired.
  2. Sprinkle the tops with toasted coconut. Crown each dessert with a Samoas Girl Scout cookie or a pecan half.
German chocolate cupcakes with caramel buttercream on a metal cooling rack.

👩🏻‍🍳 Recipe FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions for achieving the BEST German chocolate cupcakes, and helpful answers for recipe success.

How to bake perfect cupcakes?

Use room-temperature ingredients. Don’t overmix the batter. Use high-quality parchment-paper cupcake liners. Fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake the desserts in the center of the oven. As soon as you smell a bakery aroma, test for doneness. Lightly press down on the top of a cake. If it completely springs back it is done. If not, it needs to bake a bit longer.

How to toast coconut?

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a small baking tray with parchment paper. Sprinkle the coconut flakes onto the tray. Spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until the coconut is lightly toasted and golden.

Does German chocolate cake need to be refrigerated?

No. In a cool room-temperature environment (between 68°F and 76°F) the cake or cupcakes don’t need to be refrigerated. The dessert will stay fresh on the countertop for up to 3 days. But it’s important to store the cake or cupcakes in an airtight container and kept away from direct sun.

German chocolate cupcakes topped with caramel buttercream, toasted coconut and Samoas Girl Scout cookies.

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Get party ready with these delicious hand-held desserts. Each recipe yields perfect results – tender fluffy cupcakes with tasty frosting.

Rate This Recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Flavor testers rated this the BEST recipe for German chocolate cupcakes. They loved the rich chocolate flavor, fluffy texture, and luscious caramel buttercream. They appreciated the classic sprinkling of toasted coconut on top, and the bonus Samoas cookie garnish. Bakery-style perfection.

If you agree these desserts are super tasty, give them a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with friends on Facebook or Twitter. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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A German chocolate cupcake on a serving table.

German Chocolate Cupcakes


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Description

These fluffy German chocolate cupcakes are rich and decadent. Frosted with luxurious caramel buttercream, they’re sprinkled with toasted coconut. Top with Samoas cookies or pecan halves. 


Ingredients

Units Scale

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa Special Dark
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup thick salted caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought

For Garnishing

  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 12 Samoas Girl Scout Cookies or 12 pecan halves

Instructions

Chocolate Cupcakes

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-well cupcake pan with parchment paper-cupcake liners.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, oil, eggs and vanilla until light and frothy.
  2. Add granulated sugar. Whisk to combine. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Mix just until no large lumps remain. Do not overmix.
  3. With a 1/4 measuring cup, divide the batter between the 12 lined wells of the cupcake pan. (Fill each well with 1/4 cup batter.)
  4. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of 2 cupcakes comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  1. Add softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix until fully incorporated.
  2. Add in caramel. Mix on low speed until the frosting is smooth – about 30 seconds. Turn the speed to medium and beat until the caramel buttercream is light and fluffy – about 30 to 45 seconds.

Assemble German Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. Transfer the caramel buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a metal tip. Frost the cupcakes as desired.
  2. Sprinkle the tops with toasted coconut. Crown each dessert with a Samoas Girl Scout cookie or a large pecan half.

Notes

How to toast coconut flakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a small baking tray with parchment paper. Sprinkle coconut onto the tray. Spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until the coconut is lightly toasted and golden.

How to test for doneness without a toothpick: As soon as you smell a bakery aroma, test for doneness. Lightly press down on the top of one or more cupcakes. If the surface completely springs back it’s done. If a dent is left on the top, the cupcakes will need to bake a bit longer.

  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: German
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

German Chocolate Cupcakes 👉🏻 Join the Convo

Will you top these treats with Samoas cookies or pecan halves? Do you prefer frosting the entire surface of the desserts or leaving an unfrosted border along the edges? Join the conversation in the comments.

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