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Cake mix hack: Easy German chocolate cupcakes taste totally homemade

Growing up, German chocolate cake topped with coconut frosting was a favorite in my house. Every time I wanted to make a cake, I would ask my dad what type he wanted, and that was always his answer.

These super-simple cupcakes start with a boxed mix but end with a big bang — super chocolaty and topped with the most delicious coconut frosting ever. Trust me, your whole family will go crazy over these cupcakes.

double chocolate german chocolate cupcakes topped with a homemade toasted coconut frosting
Image: Brandy O’Neill/SheKnows

Easy German chocolate cupcakes recipe

Yields 24

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes


  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 cups toasted coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • Chocolate syrup, for drizzling (optional)


  1. Prepare the cupcakes according to the box directions, and stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Bake the cupcakes according to the box directions, and let cool.
  3. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.
  4. To a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the sweetened condensed milk, unsalted butter and egg yolks. Whisk together, and stir constantly for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is thick and golden in color.
  5. Remove from the heat, and stir in the toasted coconut, pecans and vanilla bean paste. Let the frosting cool.
  6. Once the cupcakes and frosting are cool, top each cupcake with frosting.
  7. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, if desired.

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