Thursday, March 4, 2010

German Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a bit  more restrained in the height department than most, a bit sophisticated, with the sweetness kept in check. Hence their popularity.  Don't use a high-percentage, fancy chocolate; so find one that has less than 60% cocoa solids. (Nowadays most packages give that information.) Also note that the original recipe uses natural cocoa. Since it's a relatively small amount, I would imagine that you could give it a try with Dutch-process cocoa powder, although the natural cocoa gives it a slightly devilish red color.

Makes 12

For the cupcakes

2 ounces (60 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (60 ml) boiling water or coffee

8 tablespoons (4 ounces, 115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup (150 g) sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (150 g) cake flour (not self-rising)

1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (125 ml) buttermilk (see Note), at room temperature


1. Preheat the open to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

2. Pour the boiling water or coffee over the chocolate, and stir until melted. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the egg yolks and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Then mix in the vanilla and the melted chocolate.

5. Whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in half of the dry ingredients, then add the buttermilk or sour cream, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until blended.

6. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the two egg whites until stiff, then fold one-third of them in to the chocolate batter, then the rest. Fold just into there are no streaks of white remaining, but don't overfold.

7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes, until the batter feels just set in the center. Remove from the oven, then let cool for a few minutes.

Once cool enough to handle, remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and let cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

For the German chocolate frosting

3/4 cup (180 ml) evaporated milk (whole milk)

1/4 cup (60 g) packed light brown sugar

2 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons (30 g) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature

2 ounces (55 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups (110 g) sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted

1 cup (125 g) chopped, toasted pecans

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: Additional toasted coconut, for a garnish


1. Whisk together the evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, and salt in a medium saucepan.

2. Add the butter, then cook the mixture, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula over medium heat, like a custard, until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spatula. Do not let boil.

3. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the chocolate, stirring gently until melted. Then stir in the coconut, pecans, and vanilla. (If using unsweetened coconut, you can add an additional teaspoon of brown sugar if it's not sweet enough, to your taste.)

4. Let cool to room temperature, then use the frosting to ice the cupcakes, topping the cupcakes with a bit of toasted coconut as a garnish after you ice them, if you wish.

Note: For those of you who can't get buttermilk, you can use a similar quantity of whole milk plain yogurt or sour cream, Or mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk and let it sit 10 minutes.

Adapted from Luscious Coconut Desserts (Chronicle) by Lori Longbotham

Photo David Leibowitz

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