Sunday, June 16, 2013


In 1957, a homemaker made history when she sent her recipe for a sweet chocolate cake covered with a rich, coconut-pecan frosting to a Dallas, Texas newspaper.  The cake uses a chocolate that was created by Samuel German, an employee of the Baker Company, in 1852 as a convenience item for home cooks because German mixed the sugar with the chocolate.  It took a century for his chocolate to come to fame with this typically Southern recipe that enjoys almost universal appeal.  Of course, millennial cooks have changed the original recipe to appeal to the modern palate.  Dark Chocolate ganache is usually found somewhere on the cake today because we have a taste for it now.

I adapted this recipe from The Kitchen is My Playground blog.  I was more specific with directions, as I feel baking is pretty much an exact science.  I used 1/4 tsp. salt instead of a pinch, unsalted butter, a bittersweet chocolate ganache instead of chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles and I cut the coconut topping to 1/3 the recipe.  Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly.  My taste testers and I went crazy over these cupcakes.  The cupcakes are very light, moist, sweet and just chocolatey enough, mimicking the difficult-to-make typical chocolate cake associated with this dessert -- but these cupcakes use a quick-mix method that is more baker friendly and harder to mess up.  The homemade cooked topping is very rich and absolutely divine, and the very easy bittersweet ganache balances out all the sweetness.  These make a truly memorable dessert, one that anyone would be proud to offer their guests.  Please do try these soon.  

German Chocolate Cupcakes with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache and Coconut Topping
Adapted from The Kitchen is My Playground
Rating:  10 out of 10

3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour, whisked, then lightly spooned and leveled
3 Tbsp. unsweetened natural cocoa powder
Scant 3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cool room temperature

1/2 cup whole or 2% lowfat milk
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325F.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups.  Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in bowl of a stand mixer.  Using paddle attachment, mix on stir speed until combined and crumbly like sand.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, egg and vanilla.  Slowly pour about half the milk mixture into the flour mixture.  Mix on low speed to combine.  Once combined, turn mixer to high (cake mix speed) and beat for about 10 seconds to remove any lumps.

Return to low speed and pour in remaining milk mixture.  Mix until all ingredients are just incorporated, then beat for about another 30 seconds to one minute, until the batter is smooth.  Remove beaters and bowl and scrape the batter with a spatula, giving it a last few turns to ensure it is evenly mixed.  

Spoon about 2 Tbsp. batter into each cup, to fill cups about half full.  Bake 16-19 minutes, or till cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, or till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.  Cool 5 minutes in pan, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.  You can freeze the cupcakes, once cooled, if you intend to make the other components  at a later date.

1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. unsalted butter
Pinch Diamond kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. finely shredded sweetened dried coconut*
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans

For garnish:  12 pecan halves

*To finely shred coconut, first, measure desired amount.  Place in mini food processor and pulse for several seconds to finely shred.  

Combine all topping ingredients except pecans in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 7-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in chopped pecans.  Let cool to lukewarm.  Refrigerate, covered, any unused portion.

3 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired)

In small microwaveable dish, heat cream on high 6-8 seconds, till steaming (or heat cream in small pan on medium heat till steaming).  Add chocolate and stir till combined and smooth.  

Spread ganache thinly on each cupcake top.  Top with a small cookie scoop (about 1-1/2 Tbsp.) of topping.  Press 1 pecan half onto top of coconut topping on each cupcake.  
Yield:  12 lovely, delicious, decadent, memorable cupcakes

TIP:  If you don't have time to make these all in one shot, then make the cupcakes and freeze them up to a month ahead.  Make the coconut topping and refrigerate for up to a week.  Then, when you want to assemble them, take the cupcakes out to thaw, take the topping out to soften, make the ganache and assemble.


  1. Hi Judy - I wonder if you are okay , just double checked and no new posts since June !

    A fan from Canada ...Kathy

    1. Hi, Kathy, what a sweet comment, thanks so much for caring. Yes, I'm okay. Been spending the last four months grieving (over the upcoming loss of my favorite foods) instead of posting. I'll soon be adopting a new lifestyle that will be ultra-low glycemic and gluten free. Ugh and yea at the same time. Ugh because sweets and baking are so a part of me and I will miss them terribly. Yea because my high cholesterol will drop, my blood sugar will stabilize, I will sleep better and not be so edgy all the time, my leaky gut will be healed and my auto-immune system will stop eating up my thyroid gland. This is a no-brainer, as the good far outweighs the bad, but I expect to be fairly miserable while going through withdrawal. In the meantime, though, I've been frantically trying to use up my store of chocolate, flours, and all goodies associated with baking. I'm munching on a Rocky-road brownie as I type.

      Never is a long time to go without this stuff. Just gluten free I could handle. It's that darned ultra-low glycemic that's worrisome.


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