Even after being married for over 18 years my husband still takes me by surprise. He's been telling me for years how much he dislikes chocolate desserts and quite frankly he never craves anything chocolate besides the very occasional Resse's Peanut Butter cup. So, imagine my confusion and surprise when I asked a couple of days ago what sweet treat I should blog about next and he answered very quickly: "German chocolate cake, I love that!" Huh, did he just say chocolate cake? He swiftly let me know that this cake is not really a chocolate cake because of the frosting. Really, who am I to argue this logic? Since I had just made a big triple layer cake I was looking for something more portable and portion controlled (meaning something that I could easily distribute to friends and neighbors) and with that in mind, I found these cupcakes in my Martha Stewart's: Cupcakes book.
For the record, German Chocolate cake has nothing to do with Germany. It is one of my pet peeves when people assume that just because I was born and raised there I should be an expert on this cake. I'm sorry to disappoint, but I didn't even know such cake existed till a few years ago when I ate it at a party. In case you wonder how the name came about, it traces back to Bakers sweet German chocolate which was invented by Samuel German for the Bakers brand in 1852. Traditional German chocolate cake is a layered chocolate cake filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting.
Today's recipe is pretty close to some of the traditional ones out there, but veers slightly by using melted semi-sweet chocolate instead of the German chocolate baking bars which makes it a little less sweet. Cake flour and buttermilk ensure that the cake part of this cupcake is wonderfully moist and light. The frosting is cooked on top of the stove out of egg yolks, butter, brown sugar and condensed milk. Once the mixture is thick, it is removed from the heat and strained into a bowl where vanilla, salt, sweetened coconut, and toasted pecans finish it off. When the frosting is cooled and firmed up, you are ready to frost your cupcakes. I decided to go against Martha's instructions and only top the cupcakes with the frosting (she had you cut them apart and add filling in the middle as well). I decided to add a little classic touch by drizzling the finished dessert with a quick chocolate ganache.
How did this mini-cake measure up to the traditional? Everyone loved this portion controlled version of the original. One is plenty rich and leaves you perfectly satisfied without being overly full. My daughter, the chocoholic thought the ganache drizzle is what made this cupcake. My boys didn't talk, they just inhaled, and my husband, well, he gave me a big sticky sweet kiss right after he finished his. I take that as a compliment!
German Chocolate Cupcakes
~makes 24 cupcakes~
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted, plus more for tins
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Coconut-Pecan Frosting (recipe to follow)
Chocolate Ganache, optional (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush stand muffin tins with butter; dust with cake flour, tapping out excess. whisk together cake flour, baking soda, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in chocolate until combined.
Divide batter evenly among prepared cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes Run a small offset spatula of knife around the edges to loosen; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.
To finish, spread frosting on top of each cupcake. Drizzle with ganache (if desired).
Adapted from: Martha Stewart's: Cupcakes
~makes about 4 cups~
3 large egg yolks
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (7 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Heat egg yolks, evaporated milk, brown sugar, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 10 minutes (it should reach the consistency of sour cream). Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.
Stir vanilla, salt, coconut, and pecans into frosting. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally, Frosting can be refrigerated up to 1 day in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature and stir with a flexible spatula until smooth.
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream
Stir heavy cream by the tablespoon into the melted chocolate until combined and it reaches desired "drizzle" consistency. Use immediately.