Sunday, August 28, 2011

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Coconut + ganache + pecans + chocolate cake = amazingness.

Every weekend I set my tivo to record "Desserts First", a great sweets show on the food channel. The chef, Anne Thorton, is one of my favorite pastry chefs and she makes some amazing desserts. All of which I hope to attempt some day. Back in May I saw an episode where she made this amazing chocolate cake that she used for three different recipes. One of them being German chocolate cupcakes. Right then and there, I knew I would have to make these. I am not sure how I came to like German chocolate cake so much since I didn't eat it that often as a child (maybe it's because it's one of my dad's favorites too), but it definitely has become one of my favorite desserts. There is just something about that sweet coconut and rich chocolate combination that wins me over every time.

The first time I made these was for my awesome co-worker Jen's wedding shower. Our department at work all got together and threw her and her fiancee a BBQ and shower. It was a great time and everyone loved the cupcakes, especially the groom - his cupcake choice was German chocolate! I don't blame him for liking these so much. The cake was light, but full of chocolate flavor. The ganache was rich, but just enough where it was not overwhelming. And the best part of all, the coconut and pecan topping. I could seriously eat this straight from the pot. That good. I think this would also make a great filling for a double layer cake using Anne's chocolate cake recipe. Or you can just forget the cake and dip the topping right into the ganache. I am not afraid to admit I totally did that and if you make these, I bet you will too.

cupcake topping ingredients!

adding in the evaporated milk

topping completed! YUM.

I got too excited and forgot to take a picture of the cake ingredients. Oops.

cooling chocolate cupcakes. try to say that three times fast.

chocolate glaze ingredients. mmm more chocolate

cooling glaze

cupcakes dipped in the glaze and waiting for the topping.

cupcakes completed!

German Chocolate Cupcakes (

Chocolate Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk 

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together onto parchment paper. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 4 or 5 minutes. Add your eggs, 1 at a time, mixing until completely incorporated before adding each additional egg. Mix in the chocolate and vanilla, making sure to combine really well. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Make sure to let it mix thoroughly.

Chocolate Glaze:

3/4 cup heavy cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon prepared coffee


3 egg yolks
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups packed sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (if desired)
1 3/4 cups toasted pecans, chopped

Special equipment: silver/foil-lined muffin cups, 1 (2-ounce) ice cream scoop and 1 (1/2-ounce) ice cream scoop 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 regular muffin pans with muffin cups.

Use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop and portion out the Chocolate Cake batter evenly into the muffin cups. Pop the pan in the oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes, turning the pans halfway through. You'll know it's done when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let the cupcakes completely cool in the pan on a rack. 

For the glaze: Mix the cream, chocolate, honey and coffee in saucepan on low heat. Stir until smooth. Let it cool a bit. 

For the topping: Put the egg yolks, evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter in a separate saucepan. Place it over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until thick, 8 to 10 minutes or so. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, coconut and pecans. Allow to cool. 

Dip the cooled cupcakes in the chocolate glaze. Place on the rack and let the glaze harden. Scoop the topping on the cupcakes with a heaping 1/2-ounce ice cream scoop

This recipe makes A LOT of cupcakes. 24 to be exact, but it is super easy to halve if you want to make just 12. Trust me though, you will want to make the full recipe. These cupcakes last for awhile in the fridge and the leftovers are great to bring to work or give out as a gift. That and although there are quite a few steps, you can make the topping a day or two ahead of time. All you need to do is keep it in the fridge and when you are ready to use it, just pop it out into a pan and warm it through slightly. You want it a little warm so it is easy to scoop on top the cupcakes.

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