Luscious coconut pecan frosting provides an ideal counterbalance to German chocolate cake, just a touch drier and not as sweet as regular chocolate cake. This gooey brown frosting also adds texture and crunch, with its flavor and richness similar to sweet pecan pie filling derived from sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. Make extra frosting to use as filling between cake layers.

Gathering Your Ingredients

For a yield of 3-1/2 cups of coconut pecan frosting, you’ll need 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of evaporated milk, 1 stick or 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 3 egg yolks, a standard 7-ounce package of flaked coconut and 1 1/2 cups of pecans. This ratio serves as a good guideline, but feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. For example, increase the amount of coconut or pecans to add even more texture to the topping. In some recipes, the amount of liquid stays the same, but the sugar, butter and vanilla are increased by 50 percent for a richer frosting with an even higher yield.

Calculating Frosting Amount

The amount of frosting you’ll need depends on the size of the German chocolate cake and the number of layers in the cake. Plan for roughly 2 1/2 to 3 cups of frosting for a 9-by-13-inch rectangular cake, or 8- to 9-inch round and square cakes, plus another cup of frosting for each layer. Half sheet cakes, usually 12 by 18 inches, need 4 to 5 cups of frosting, plus 2 cups per layer. The exact amount needed varies depending on the thickness of frosting on top and between layers, as well as whether you prefer to cover the entire cake or leave the sides bare.

Making the Frosting

Combine all ingredients except the coconut and pecans in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 10 to 14 minutes or until the sauce thickens to a consistency similar to caramel. Toast the pecans in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, if desired. Chop to a fine consistency. Stir the pecans and flake coconut into the syrupy mixture, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the hot frosting onto a large sheet pan or cake pan and allow it to cool to room temperature, stirring every few minutes to keep the ingredients moist and to aid in cooling. A bowl also works for cooling, but the frosting cools faster in a shallow, wide pan.

German’s Chocolate Variation

German chocolate cake and coconut pecan frosting forge a classic pairing, but you have another option for German chocolate frosting. The original recipe for German chocolate cake was made with German’s sweet chocolate, named for its creator, Sam German. Due to some confusion and a misprinted advertisement, the possessive “S” at the end was dropped, leading to the name German chocolate cake. Use German’s sweet chocolate in your favorite chocolate frosting recipe for a sweetness somewhere between milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate. Try melting butter and German’s sweet chocolate over a double boiler, using 2 cups of butter for every 12 ounces of chocolate. Allow the mixture to cool, then whip to make smooth, creamy frosting.