These German Chocolate Brownie Tarts start with a rich brownie base, gooey coconut-pecan topping, and a ring of dark chocolate buttercream perfection.

German Chocolate Brownie Tarts |

Growing up, German chocolate cake was always the standard birthday cake. I don’t know what all of you are talking about with your vanilla cakes and vanilla frosting—to us, a birthday cake was chocolate, slathered generously with a coconut-pecan frosting. I haven’t had a slice of German chocolate cake in ages, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for this flavor combination thanks to our birthday tradition.

German Chocolate Brownie Tarts |

I wanted to play around with the standard German chocolate cake a little, so I came up with these small tarts instead. They start with a chewy brownie made with browned butter, baked right into the tart pans. They’re a little crunchy on the edges but soft and a wee bit underbaked in the center—just the way I like them! I think traditional coconut-pecan frosting is pretty much perfection, so I left the recipe alone and just heaped it up in a big mound in the center of the tart. A dark chocolate buttercream adds visual interest, a finishing touch, and of course, one more hit of chocolate for these decadent tarts.

German Chocolate Brownie Tarts |
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Close up of a German Chocolate Brownie Tart.

German Chocolate Brownie Tarts

5 from 1 vote
These German Chocolate Brownie Tarts start with a rich brownie base, gooey coconut-pecan topping, and a ring of dark chocolate buttercream perfection.
Prep15 minutes
Cook25 minutes
Total40 minutes
Yields10 6-inch tarts


For the Brownies:

For the German Chocolate Filling:

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp milk, or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Optional Assembly Equipment:

  • Pastry Bag
  • Pastry Bag Couplers
  • Star pastry tip


To Make the Brownies:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 10 6-inch tart pans with nonstick cooking spray and place them on a baking sheet covered with foil, in case of leaks.
  • Brown the butter: place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook it, stirring frequently, until it darkens to a medium golden brown and has a nutty aroma. (Depending on your pan and your stove, this may take about 5-8 minutes.) Measure out 1 cup of brown butter (7 ounces by weight). If you have extra brown butter, save it for another use.
  • Combine the cocoa powder, boiling water, and chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Whisk together until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the brown butter, and whisk well. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla, and whisk again. Add the sugar, and…you guessed it…whisk until the sugar is blended into the batter. Finally, add the flour and salt, and stir it into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the tart shells. (I used a #10 disher, which scooped about 4.25 oz batter.) Bake the tarts for 17-20 minutes, until puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To Make the German Chocolate Filling:

  • Combine the yolks, evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and whisk together until well-blended. Add the butter and both sugars, and continue to whisk frequently while the butter and sugars melt.
  • Cook on medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 12-15 minutes). Don’t overheat it or overcook it, because it’s not necessary and it’s more likely to separate. Once it’s thickened, remove the pan from the stove and stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool the filling to room temperature, stirring occasionally, before using it. You can make the filling in advance and refrigerate it for up to a week with a piece of plastic wrap pressed on top to prevent a skin from forming.

To Make the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the microwave, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Combine the powdered sugar, butter, milk or cream, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a large mixer. Beat on low with a paddle attachment. Once everything is roughly mixed, scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat everything together on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Add the room temperature melted chocolate, and beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, until well-mixed and light and fluffy. Buttercream can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Allow to come to room temperature and re-whip before using.
  • To assemble the tarts, gently remove them from the tart pans and place them on the serving plates. Top each tart with a generous 1/3 cup of filling mounded in the center. Fit a pastry bag with a coupler and star pastry tip, and fill the bag with chocolate buttercream. Pipe stars or dots around the edges of the tart, and a big star in the center of each. Finish with toasted pecans or coconuts in the center.

Recipe Notes

I love the rich flavor that brown butter provides the brownie base, but if you’re pressed for time or if you don’t like brown butter, you can replace the butter in the recipe with 7 oz of plain melted butter. If you want to make bars instead, use a 9×13 pan to bake the brownies in.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?


Calories: 1381kcal | Carbohydrates: 160g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 82g | Saturated Fat: 47g | Cholesterol: 287mg | Sodium: 683mg | Potassium: 505mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 130g | Vitamin A: 1775IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and hashtag it #SugarHero. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @elabau.

Meet Elizabeth!

Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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  1. Like everything you make these look AMAZING!!!! I saw a recipe for German chocolate cake the other day and for the first time realized that it´s completely different than I imagined the recipe would be.. Your photos are top quality…………… 😀

    Please check out my latest post on my Blog:

    Although my recipes are different I tried to imitate the look of yours cause when I saw it, I absolutely loved it!! Hope you like it 😀

    Greetings from Spain!

    1. Thank you Johlene! I checked out your blog–love the cake! And now I’m craving mint chocolate chip again, too. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

  2. Hey Liz, I switched to when I knew I’d have to lose my beloved google reader. It’s AOK. Bee tee dubs all your creations are amazing looking. No wonder you are a professional. I feel like I’m totally internet stalking you since the reunion now. My apologies.

    1. Thanks Alexis! I hadn’t heard of theoldreader so I’ll definitely check it out. Even after writing this post I still haven’t switched…it’s totally going to be midnight of the last night of reader before I make my move. I’m the worst at procrastination.

      And stalk away! I’m pretty sure that’s how people use the internet 99% of the time. So glad we could reconnect last month!! xo

  3. These look absolutely amazing! I’m going to request these for my birthday now – I just have to convince my husband to make them for me! Pinning! 🙂

  4. I have no idea, why this cake is called German cake. I´m German, I live in Germany, but this is no cake I´ve ever run into here. It is not typical German at all. No harm meant, I just wanted to let you know.

    1. Hi Schnuffi! Thanks for visiting and commenting. German chocolate cake is actually what we call a chocolate cake with coconut-pecan frosting in America. (Weird, right?) There’s a type of sweet dark chocolate called “German chocolate,” and the story I’ve heard is that it was named after a person, not the country. Anyhow, this German chocolate is used to make a chocolate cake, and then it’s decorated with this specific frosting. Over the years the name has come to mean basically any chocolate cake with the same frosting, and that’s why I’ve called this recipe “German Chocolate Brownie Tarts,” even though it doesn’t call for German chocolate OR have any relation to the country!