Coconut Pecan Frosting Recipes

Image courtesy of Beth Hyzy.

Coconut pecan frosting recipes aren't just for German chocolate cakes. They're more versatile than you might have imagined, making them ideal choices to add texture, sweetness, and visual interest to white cake, vanilla cake, carrot cake, and even angel food cake. Before you pull out your frosting spatula, however, you'll need to find the best recipes out there.

Three Versions of Coconut Pecan Icing

The Internet is a bounty of cake decorating information and resources, and it doesn't disappoint when it comes to recipes. Try plugging "coconut pecan frosting recipes" into your favorite recipe website or search engine to see what comes up; you'll be able to quickly sift through the results and evaluate them. If you prefer more old-school methods, go to the library and pore over dessert cookbooks in the nonfiction section. There, you'll almost certainly be able to find at least one classic German chocolate cake frosting recipe and potentially even a few modern versions.

Thick Coconut Pecan Frosting

The below frosting, modified from an version for German chocolate cake, uses flaked coconut and chopped pecans to lend a chewy texture.


Image courtesy of Geni Mermoud.
  • 1 c. evaporated milk
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 1 1/4 c. sweetened, flaked coconut


  1. Whisk the evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat on the stovetop, and add the butter. Stir every minute or two until the butter has melted and incorporated.
  2. Raise the heat slowly if necessary, whisking regularly until the frosting thickens. Once it does, remove it from the heat and stir in the chopped pecans and coconut.
  3. Pour the frosting over your cake or in between layers while it is still warm. If you need to wait, warm the frosting slightly before applying it later.

Coconut Pecan Meringue

Alternatively, try an egg white free recipe that isn't as sweet. The below recipe is one option. It's adapted from the version that features simple, classic ingredients.


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1 c. finely chopped pecans


  1. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar, if using, in the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl wide enough for a powerful hand mixer.
  2. Turn on the mixer, and beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until they hold stiff peaks.
  3. Sprinkle in the brown sugar, and continue beating until the frosting is smooth.
  4. Put away the mixer, and fold the coconut and pecans into the frosting with a spatula.

Coconut Pecan Buttercream

Buttercream frosting is wildly popular among kids and adults alike, but it's kept plain too often. The traditional vanilla flavor is retained in the following version, but adding flaked coconut and pecans gives the frosting a thicker texture without sacrificing sweetness or that classic taste. Dashes of salt and lemon juice keep the powdered sugar from overwhelming the flavor of all the other ingredients.


Image courtesy of Christina Payne.
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c. unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 c. finely chopped pecans


  1. Place the butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a bowl that is large enough for a powerful hand mixer. Cream the two ingredients together.
  2. Add 1 1/2 c. of the powdered sugar and 1/2 T. milk. Beat at high speed until the ingredients are combined.
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and add the rest of the powdered sugar and milk as well as the vanilla and lemon juice. Beat the frosting well until it is thick and fluffy. Add a small amount of milk if it seems too dry; if it's too wet, add more powdered sugar.
  4. Fold in the coconut and pecans with a spatula. You can use the frosting immediately or refrigerate it for several days. If you chill the frosting, let it return to room temperature before using it.

Frosting Tips

Coconut pecan frosting is much thicker than most frosting varieties, so it can be tough to spread with a knife or flat spatula. One strategy is to apply it with a large spoon and smooth it over the top and sides of the cake with the back of the spoon. You can also fill a thick piping bag with the frosting and fit the bag with a frosting tip. Pipe borders around the edge of a cake, or pipe filling in between layers. Make sure your tip is wide enough to handle the chopped pecans in the icing.

Delicious Any Way You Make It

Each of these recipes yields a tasty frosting that will really boost the flavor or your cakes. Give them all a try and decide which texture you like best. Chances are you might have a difficult time choosing just one, but that problem is easily solved. You'll just have to bake more cake!

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Coconut Pecan Frosting Recipes