What a non-stop weekend we had! It began on Thursday, with E’s friend J. coming to stay with us for the weekend while her parents were out of town, continued Friday night with an emergency trip to the optical shop to replace E’s glasses (which the dog chewed up), followed on Saturday with an overnight trip with friends to a camp a couple of hours away, and ended Sunday with E. opening her birthday presents at home. That’s right: my “baby” is officially ten years old! Unless you have kids, it’s hard to understand how quickly those 10 years can go by. But I have to say that though I miss my baby E. a little, I really enjoy the funny, smart, and interesting person she’s becoming.
Here she is in the woods at the camp we were visiting. Though it looks as if she’s costumed for a Harry Potter movie, she was actually wearing one of my shirts because she was cold.
Since we were away most of the weekend, I made E.’s birthday cake on Friday and brought it with us to share on Saturday night. I didn’t originally intend to make a German chocolate cake, but I had problems with the new cake recipe I used, and German chocolate icing hides a multitude of sins. I can’t recommend the cake recipe, but the frosting turned out delicious, and better yet, it uses no oil or margarine. That’s not to say it’s even close to fat-free—it contains coconut milk, coconut, and pecans—but at least it avoids processed oils and the evaporated milk and eggs that traditional German chocolate recipes include.
Vegan German Chocolate Frosting
- 1 cup plain soymilk
- 1/3 cup coconut milk may use lite coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water until smooth
- 2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- In a medium saucepan, mix the soymilk, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla together. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Cook for one minute after it boils. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans.
- Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (mixture should still be warm) before spreading on cake.
Nutritional info is approximate.
UnaJune 14, 2010 at 3:45 pm
Thanks for this. My sis’s fave cake is german chocolate and was looking for a vegan version, and this one is even healthier. All the other recipes had egg yolks, and evaporated milk. I am going to use light vanilla soy, and the light coconut milk. May even try it with almond milk. I so appreciate this.
ErinJuly 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm
My lactose intolerant dad was so excited to have this frosting on the last cake made him. I only changed two things: extra vanilla, and I saved some of the pecans and scattered them on top to keep them really crunchy. It went beautifully with No Pudge Fudge mix (I used the applesauce version, but in a cake pan). God it was delicious! Going to try the beet cake next!
Amy-LeeJuly 23, 2010 at 9:52 pm
My birthday’s tomorrow and I just finished making this cake. Struggling to not eat it. Looks DELICIOUS.
SusanVJuly 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm
Happy birthday! Hope it tastes as good as it looks!
BridgetOctober 19, 2010 at 11:31 am
My mom (who isn’t vegan) loves German chocolate cake, so I’m going to make this for her…do you think I could substitute arrowroot for the cornstarch?
BridgetOctober 21, 2010 at 12:10 am
The cake was delicious! I used your crazy cake recipe. Mom loved it 🙂
AmyJanuary 1, 2011 at 11:37 am
Thank you for this wondreful recipe! I’m throwing a New Year’s party this evening for a horde of friends who mostly aren’t vegan and plan to wow them with this cake (made as a two-layer cake). On the suggestion of someone else, I augmented the cake recipe a little by replacing the water with two cups of (arguably weak) coffee–which, combined with the sugar content, may have me climbing the walls after one bite. But my friends drink coffee more than I do, and I figure the cake comes at the end of the meal and after the champagne toast so the caffeine may be helpful. Wish I could post a photo of the finished cake…. (PS Have you heard of the “mock” coconut cake, where the coconut flakes are replaced by sauerkraut? Apparently it was a depression-era cake, when coconut was difficult to purchase. But it seems as though there would be health and calorie benefits by making that substitution.)
Anu rangaFebruary 17, 2011 at 10:04 am
I want to try this for my husband 30th birthday. I have a son who is allergic to milk-egg and soy. So for the frosting recipe, what I can susbtitute for soy milk? I have tried rice milk and it is pretty watery. I can use a little of the coocnut milk itself?
Looking for suggestions. Love your site.
SusanVFebruary 17, 2011 at 10:07 am
Coconut milk (the kind in the can) may be too rich if you use only it. You could water it down or try the kind that comes ready to drink. Almond milk would also be a good substitute. Hope your husband has a happy birthday!
toferFebruary 18, 2011 at 3:57 pm
I used this to top some vanilla cupcakes today and it’s absolutely wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!
JulieApril 15, 2011 at 8:53 am
This is my favorite birthday cake and most all the frostings called for dairy, which doesn’t agree with my spouse. Now I can have my cake… and he can eat it too!
CassandraJuly 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm
I made this cake for the family party celebrating my mom’s wedding. My non-vegetarian, non-vegan family loved it! They said it was really good. The frosting came out perfect. I made the Crazy Cake and it tasted wonderful and was moist but didn’t hold together well. I must have done something wrong… regardless, it tasted awesome! Thanks for sharing the recipes!
GoldibugMarch 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm
Thanks so much for this! My son is allergic to dairy, eggs and nuts but Hubby would love German chocolate cake for his bday. Now I can create something they both can enjoy! With omitting the pecans that is 😉
KathyApril 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm
When you say coconut milk, do you mean in a can, the thicker version?
Susan VoisinApril 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm
Yes, the kind in a can.
PatriciaMay 20, 2012 at 6:42 am
This frosting was absolute genius! I love coconut. This was a great alternative to the vanilla/chocolate icing that I normally make for cakes. Would it work with fresh grated coconut?
LauraSeptember 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm
Do you think this would work without the pecans? I want to make this for my birthday but I don’t like them.
Susan VoisinSeptember 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm
Sure, you could just leave them out or use walnuts if you like them.
JohnaNovember 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm
This cake is AMAZING! German Chocolate is my husband’s favorite cake so I made this yesterday for his birthday. Oh…my!!! I can’t stop eating it! We all love, love, love it! Delicious beyond words! Thank you!
MaighenJune 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm
I know this is an old post, but I’m sooooo GLAD that I found it again! I actually made the beet-chocolate cake and your German chocolate frosting for my husband’s 25th birthday several years ago, and now I’m going to use them again (at least the cake part, but mayeb a different frosting) for my son’s 2nd birthday this October. When I made the birthday cake I didn’t tell anyone it was vegan, and I go soo many compliments on it before I revealed the truth! Everyone loved it, and since I knew how good a vegan cake could be first hand I sought out a bakery to make vegan cupcakes for my son’s first birthday, too. This time, though, I’m going to make the cake myself since we’re doing a “cardobaord construction” theme and a messy cake (since I’m no pro!) with chocolate frosting and crumbled cake to look like dirt will be perfect. Just had to share what great cake this recipe and the beet-chocolate cake one made! 🙂
AutumnFebruary 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm
Wow! Holy cow this is super yum! The frosting is sitting on my counter cooling, I have a tummy ache from munching on it already x]. My family and I are vegans but enjoy these kind of fatty treats now and again and I’m sure this one will be an all time favorite! Thanks for creating and sharing 😀
By the way! I substituted vanilla almond milk for soy milk and vanilla and it worked like a charm ;]
jojoFebruary 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm
This was amazing. German Chocolate cake is my husband’s favorite and he was eating it out of the pan. I had to swat him off to make sure I had enough to cover the cake. Thank you!
MicheleJune 17, 2014 at 7:25 am
I made this for my Dad’s birthday this past Sunday; German Chocolate is his favorite flavor. It was absolutely delicious, everyone devoured it! Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂
STEPHANIESeptember 26, 2014 at 8:21 pm
HI SUSAN, 🙂 THAT CAKE LOOKS GOOD, 🙂 AND WANT YOU BEEN SAYING ABOUT HARRY POTTER IT,S CUTE, SHE,S A CUTE GIRL AND YOU ARE TO, 🙂 I LOVE HARRY POTTER I READ ALL THE BOOKS AND I SAW ALL THE MOVIES, 🙂 MY CHARACTERS ARE HERMIONE SNAPE RON HARRY NEVILLE AND LUNA, 🙂 I WISH I GO TO HOGWARTS, 🙂 I LOVE HELPING PEOPLE BEING FUNNY AND PLAYING, 🙂 IM GRYFFINDOR, SO ANYWAY HOW ARE YOU, 🙂 AND YOUR CATS, 🙂 THIS IS MY FIRST TIME DOING THIS, 🙂 WRITE TO YOU SOON, 🙂 TAKE CARE, 🙂
STEPHANIEApril 22, 2016 at 1:38 pm
I MEAN MY CHARCTERS ARE DUMBLEDORE MINERVA MCGONAGALL RUBEUS HAGRID GUNNY HERMIONE HARRY RON NEVILLE SNAPE AND LUNA, 🙂
ChloeApril 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm
ok, I just made this with all coconut (and not the canned full-fat kind) and it. is. perfect. it tastes amazing – I could just eat this straight without and cake – and looks pretty good. I dont know if this is how the non-vegan version tastes but I honestly dont care because this frosting is awesome. Me and my friends will are going to eat this after prom and it will be sooooo worth it
CharityMarch 5, 2016 at 11:26 pm
I made this tonight, substituting pitted dates for the sugar, and blending before cooking, and it was perfect! Thanks for a great healthier German Chocolate topping!
DebraMay 23, 2016 at 7:03 am
Is this enough frosting for a 9×13 pan, or would I need to double it???
Susan VoisinMay 23, 2016 at 7:40 am
I think it would be enough for the top of a 9×13 cake, and probably the sides, too, but I haven’t tried it. It does cover two whole 8-inch rounds, so my guess is it would work.
Carla DowellApril 14, 2017 at 9:49 pm
This frosting was so delicious! I think it is the best I have ever had vegan or otherwise. 👍🏻
JessOctober 8, 2018 at 2:07 am
I know this is old! But… could I use coconut sugar in place of cane sugar?
Susan VoisinOctober 8, 2018 at 8:40 am
I *think* coconut sugar can replace cane sugar in most things, but I haven’t tried it in this.
MariaJanuary 5, 2020 at 6:41 pm
Is there supposed to be cocoa powder to make it chocolate?
Susan VoisinJanuary 5, 2020 at 9:38 pm
German chocolate cakes don’t have chocolate in the frosting, just the cake. This is just the frosting recipe to pair with your own cake recipe.
BrookeJuly 8, 2020 at 1:46 pm
This was delicious! I did cut the sugar down to only 1/4 c and it was the perfect sweetness for me! (There will be a frosting in the cake as well). If it were just this and the cake I might increase the sugar to 1/3-1/2 cup.
The basic custard recipe Km going to keep and use again! 🙂
SheilahOctober 17, 2020 at 8:59 pm
I made this coconut pecan frosting for my birthday and, even knowing how well your recipes always turn out, I am amazed at how good it is! Exactly what I wanted!
The recipe makes a lot, more than I needed for the cake, so we’ve been using the leftovers to sweeten our oatmeal. It’s addictive 😄. I may have to make another smaller batch when this is finished, just for breakfast.
SarahFebruary 9, 2021 at 7:43 am
Thank you so much for this recipe! I replaced the sugar with coconut sugar and it tasted great! I made it for my husband’s birthday and he absolutely loved it! 🙂
KirstenApril 18, 2021 at 7:05 pm
Love the flavor of this and it’s a great vegan substitute. However, my frosting was rather gelatinous and hard to spread. I followed the instructions exactly…wondering if the cornstarch ratio is a bit much? Anyway it’s got great flavor!