Coconut Pecan Frosting

One of my favorite frosting recipes, if I had to choose, would be this Coconut Pecan Frosting recipe. Not only is it a delicious blend of caramel, coconut and pecans, but it’s also very simple to make and goes great with chocolate cake. This one is a win-win in my books. I love frosting! In fact, I don’t think there is a type of frosting I don’t enjoy. Frosting makes everything better; it can turn even the most basic cake recipe or dessert recipe into a tasty masterpiece.

German chocolate cake is a layered chocolate cake both filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake didn’t actually originate in Germany but was instead invented in 1852 by Samuel German, an American chocolate maker. German developed a form of dark baking chocolate used in the cake recipe. Interestingly, in 1957 Mrs. George Clay, a homemaker from Dallas, Texas, shared the cake and frosting recipe. Clay’s cake and frosting recipe re-introduced the baking chocolate used 105 years prior and popularized it. Sales of German’s recipe for dark Baker’s Chocolate increased by as much as 73% and the cake quickly became a national dessert recipe staple.

German chocolate cake is so popular mainly due to the filling and frosting. Although a truly decadent frosting recipe, Coconut Pecan Frosting is so simple to create. All you need are a few items traditionally found in your fridge or pantry, including milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla. These items are mixed in a large saucepan, cooked and stirred on medium heat (for about 12 minutes, or until thickened and golden brown in color), and then shredded or flaked coconut and chopped pecans are added. This frosting recipe should never be applied to the cake without first cooling to room temperature (which also means it should be a ‘proper’ spreading consistency. (Chantilly cake is similar, but the frosting recipe does not call for any coconut.)

Although subtle, you can certainly taste the pecans in this frosting recipe. Pecans were one of the most recently domesticated major crops. Pecans were known throughout colonial America is a delicacy, and commercial growing didn’t commence in the U.S. until the 1800’s. Today, the U.S. produces up to 95% of the world’s pecans, grown from more than 10 million trees. An interesting little tidbit: the word “pecan” is from an Algonquian word that means ‘a nut requiring a stone to crack.'

The other important ingredient for this frosting recipe is coconut. Although the origin of coconut is debated, the oldest known fossils of the modern coconut date from 37 to 55 million years ago and these were found in Australia and India. Coconuts are known for great versatility, as evidenced in the many uses of its different parts. For this frosting recipe, you want the ‘meat’ from the coconut (the white ‘flesh’). This will be dried and shredded or flaked and will be located in almost every supermarket baking section.

June 11th is National German Chocolate Cake Day in America. So you have plenty of time to practice making a delicious cake topped with this amazing Coconut Pecan Frosting recipe! Once you try this frosting recipe, you’ll never use another. This caramel-y mix of coconut and pecans might just make you forget that there’s a whole dessert underneath your frosting, but that’s not a bad thing!

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