You’ve probably seen it as the star of a German chocolate cake, but you can enjoy this coconut pecan frosting on other cakes and bars as well. Most classic recipes are made with butter, evaporated milk and eggs. But this vegan German chocolate frosting skips them all and uses coconut milk instead. It works without a problem because coconut is already a highlight in this recipe!
It’s vegan German chocolate frosting and so much more!
This vegan coconut pecan frosting recipe was originally shared with us over fifteen years ago. He was paired with Isa and Terry vegan baked coconut chocolate cupcakes. We recently updated this recipe and added nutrition facts, additional tips and options in the FAQ below.
Does this frosting work on any German chocolate cake?
Definitely yes! The recipe is enough to cover 12 German chocolate cupcakes or the tops of a two-layer cake. This means it works as a coconut pecan filling and as a topping on a two-layer cake. If you want to use it on the sides of the cake or are frosting multiple layers, I would double the recipe.
If I double, can I use a full can of coconut milk?
That’s what I would do! If you want to be precise, pour the coconut milk into a glass measuring cup. Add enough milky drink to make 2 cups. Pour some of the milk mixture into a separate bowl (about 1/2 cup) and whisk in the starch. Use the remaining milk mixture in the first heating with brown sugar.
What milk alternative should I use?
For recipes like this, I use an unsweetened coconut milk drink (the kind in cartons). But you can use your favorite milk alternative for baking. Most will work just fine. Terry and Isa tested this recipe with rice milk and almond milk works great on the stove. I would be careful with soy milk and oat milk – some brands don’t work well when cooked. If you have any separation, just whisk to smooth it out.
What can I substitute for cornstarch?
For a corn-free frosting, substitute arrowroot starch. You can use tapioca starch in a pinch, but we prefer the results with corn or arrowroot.
Help, my frosting won’t thicken! What is wrong?
You may have passed the point of no return. Once the starch is added, Isa and Terry keep it at a simmer. If not cooked, it takes about 5 to 7 minutes to thicken enough. If it is boiling, you only want to bubble it for 2 to 3 minutes. Any longer and the starch will begin to break down and the frosting will thin out. Keep in mind that the frosting will thicken quite a bit as it cools, and even more so with the added coconut and pecans.
What else can I use this vegan coconut pecan frosting for?
In addition to the German chocolate cake, you can enjoy this topping Chocolate coconut cupcakes, Yellow cake without milk, Coconut cupcakes, Date cakeor Vegan pancakes. It’s also a delicious topping for dairy-free cookies and apple slices.
Special Dietary Notes: Vegan Coconut Frosting
In terms of ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / milk-free, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan and vegetarian.
Vegan coconut frosting
Author: Isa Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Recipe type: Dessert
- ¼ cup of plain milk drink without milk
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk (regular, full fat)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- In a small bowl, mix the milkshake, starch and salt.
- In a large stainless steel saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Whisk the milk-starch mixture and slowly drop it into the coconut milk mixture while stirring constantly.
- Stir the mixture constantly as it cooks until it darkens and thickens and softens, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and whisk in bourbon (if using) and vanilla. Stir in the coconut and pecans until coated and completely combined.
- Let the frosting cool to room temperature before frosting the cupcakes.
Serving Size: 2 tbsp Calorie: 157 Thick: 11 g Saturated fat: 7.5 g Carbohydrates: 13.1 g Sugar: 10 g Sodium: 22 mg Fiber: 2.1 g Protein: 1.4 g