German Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Glaze15

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate,Coconut,Nuts (Sunday October 9, 2005 at 11:52 am)

I make my husband German Chocolate Cake every year for his birthday. It was his favorite growing up and his grandmother still bakes him a German Chocolate Cake whenever we go to visit. This year I made a cupcake version.

Researching for the recipe, I looked closely at the Better Homes & Garden version and the Magnolia version. The ingredients were almost identical and the proportions very similar (the BH&G recipe had slightly more chocolate and slightly less butter). The main difference between the recipes, however, was the number of steps involved. The BH&G recipe had 5 simple steps. The Magnolia recipe had 10 relatively simple steps, but it also had the unfortunate requirement of my having to wash out my one Kitchen Aid bowl in between two steps. I fully intended to do both versions, half recipes of each, and do a side by side comparison of the two. I wanted to know if twice the number of steps made a difference. I am sad to say that I didn’t manage this side-by-side comparison, we got home much too late from birthday present shopping. For the sake of time, I ended up whipping out the BH&G version and added milk chocolate glaze.

The result: The cupcakes were disappointing looking; they shrunk up, pulled away from the papers, and had an insipid, grey color. The texture was fine – I expected them to be too dense, but they were fluffy. The flavor? Boring, but salvaged by the milk chocolate glaze and coconut-pecan topping. Next year I am definitely trying the Magnolia version…

(from Better Homes & Garden’s New Cook Book, Meredith edition, 1989)
makes 24 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

4 ounces German Sweet Chocolate (Baker’s brand, available at most grocery stores)
1/3 cup water
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs

    preheat oven to 350°F

  1. in a small saucepan, melt chocolate and water over low heat. remove from heat and let cool.
  2. add flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of the electric mixer, stir to combine
  3. add chocolate mixture, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla to the bowl, mix on low to combine, then beat on high speed for 2 minutes
  4. add eggs, beat on high speed for 2 more minutes
  5. scoop into cupcake tins, bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes

Milk Chocolate Glaze

4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. place chocolate in a bowl
  2. heat cream in a saucepan until bubbles form around the edge
  3. pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until smooth
  4. add vanilla and stir until combined
  5. refrigerate to cool

Coconut-Pecan Topping

1 egg
1 5 ounce can of evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1-1/3 cups shredded, sweet coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  1. crack the egg into a small saucepan and beat lightly to break up
  2. add milk, sugar, and butter. cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thick, bubbly, and golden, about 15 minutes
  3. remove from heat, add coconut and pecans, stir to combine
  4. refrigerate to cool


  1. drizzle a teaspoon of glaze on each cooled cupcake
  2. top with a teaspoon of coconut-pecan topping

15 comments for German Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Glaze »

  1. This too is my husband’s favorite cake and I’ve made it several times for birthdays. We like an “inside out” version we found in Gourmet a few years ago… here

    Maybe a ganache o’er top of a pile of filling… hmmm.

    Comment by rosebengal — October 9, 2005 @ 6:15 pm

  2. hmmmm. what’s the magnolia version? maybe i could try and lt you know if it’s any better?

    Comment by purplecross — October 10, 2005 @ 6:04 am

  3. Hello! I love your gorgeous photos! Can I ask what camera you use?

    Comment by Kris — October 10, 2005 @ 9:03 pm

  4. disappointing resaults in special occasion…. i guess it was imparessing. Did your huspend like it? although it was a delicious photo.

    good luck with future recipes.

    Comment by latifa — October 11, 2005 @ 1:57 am

  5. I came here through slashfood – this looks AMAZING.

    It’s strange that slashfood blew up your photo 800% – cos it sort of looks washed out and pixely on their site, but good on yours.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 12, 2005 @ 7:08 pm

  6. rosebengal, I will have to try that one. thanks!

    kris, I have the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT digital SLR. Its sweet.

    latifa, he ate them all! he thought they were fine of course. I am much harder on my baking experiments than he is. it’s all part of the game though, sometimes you are gonna bake a loser…

    purplecross, here it is. let me know how it goes – the Magnolia version:

    4 ounces German Sweet Chocolate (Baker’s brand, available at most grocery stores)
    1/2 cup water
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    4 eggs, separated at room temperature
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter
    2 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 cup buttermilk

    preheat oven to 350°F
    1. in a small saucepan, melt chocolate and water over low heat. remove from heat and let cool 10 mins.
    2. sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium sized bowl
    3. in a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks
    4. in an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes
    5. add egg yolks, beat to combine about 30 seconds
    6. add chocolate mixture and vanilla, beat just to combine
    7. alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk in thirds, beating well after each addition, set aside
    8. in another bowl of the electric mixer (or else transfer batter and clean/dry bowl thoroughly) beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form
    9. gently fold egg whites into batter
    10. scoop into cupcake tins, bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes

    Comment by chockylit — October 13, 2005 @ 8:08 pm

  7. I’ve just found your blog via Heidi’s 101 cookbooks and i’m already addict.
    You’re pictures are great and your cupcakes mouth watering.

    Comment by Fanny — October 13, 2005 @ 11:40 pm

  8. hhmmmm…. if only i can baked like u do ! lucky hubby ! wish my wife can cook *chuckle*

    Comment by foodcrazee — October 19, 2005 @ 8:43 pm

  9. i saw this and thought you could make it into cupcakes:

    Comment by Anonymous — October 20, 2005 @ 5:58 pm

  10. Oh, so good. That last photo is enough to make anyone hungry.

    Comment by Shauna — October 23, 2005 @ 1:34 pm

  11. I just found your site from a Google search for Vietnamese Baked coconut pudding…. Awesome! I, too, make German Chocolate cake each year and the best recipe I have found (and now you annually) came from Cooks Illustrated.

    German Chocolate Cake w/Coconut Pecan Filling

    Cake (for 2 – 9″ rounds)
    4oz semisweet chocolate chopped fine
    1/4c Dutch-processed cocoa, sifted
    1/2c boiling water
    2c (10oz) unbleached AP flour
    3/4tsp baking soda
    12T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    1c (7oz) granulated sugar
    2/3c (4 3/4oz)packed light brown sugar
    3/4tsp table salt
    4 large eggs, room temperature
    1tsp vanilla extract
    3/4c sour cream, room temperature

    4 large egg yolks
    1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
    1 cup (7oz) granulated sugar
    1/4 c (1 3/4oz) packed lt. brown sugar
    6T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
    1/8tsp table salt
    2tsp vanilla extract
    2 1/3c sweetened shredded coconut
    1 1/2c finely chopped pecans, toasted (350 degrees for about 8 mins)

    For the filling: Whisk yolks in med. saucepan, gradually whisk in evap. milk. Add sugars, butter & salt. Cook over med. high heat whisking constantly until boiling, frothy and slightly thickened. Transfer to a bowl, whisk in vanilla. Stir in coconut. Cool until just warm then cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate until cold, at least 2hrs but up to 3 days. Pecans are stirred in just before cake assembly so they do not get soggy.

    FOR THE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350*. Grease & flour 2 – 9″ round pans. combine chocolate & cocoa in sm. bowl. Add boiling water and let stand 2 mins. whisk until smooth and let cool to room temp.

    Sift flour & baking soda into med. bowl.

    Beat butter, sugars & salt until light & fluffy (about 4mins). Scraping down bowl 1/2 way through. Beat in eggs one at a time combining well after each. Beat in vanilla, then beat on high 45sec until light and fluffy. With beater running add in chocolate, beat 30 more sec. Batter may appear broken. On low speed add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, beating until barely combined. After final addition of flour stir with spatula. Batter will be thick.

    Bake about 30mins until tookpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10mins on wire rack. Turn out of pans and cool completely before filling!

    Comment by The Midnight Baker — March 27, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

  12. Note – i meant to say, now USE annually…. it really is a FAB german choc cake, even though it sounds labor intensive.

    Comment by The Midnight Baker — March 28, 2006 @ 1:21 pm

  13. I will try it this year for sure. Thanks!

    Comment by chockylit — March 28, 2006 @ 1:34 pm

  14. Yum! I had a bit of a fail when making your topping – user error, entirely, which usually happens when you’re trying something at the last minute for a next day event. Anyway, I improvised and it still turned out really well. Thanks for the inspiration!

    My attempt and edits:

    Comment by Shannah — February 24, 2010 @ 9:00 am

  15. I grew up watching my grandmothers and mom make German Chocolate Cakes. There was always a German Chocolate Cake for Christmas. They used the recipe on the German’s Chocolate wrapper. When I started baking I used the recipe on the wrapper. One year my cake was a total disappointment. I called my mom immediately to get her advice on what had happened. We finally compared a new label with an old copy my mom had kept in her recipe file. The difference was beating the egg whites separately and folding them into the batter. Beating the egg whites and folding them into the batter makes all the difference. I won’t make German Chocolate Cake any other way.

    Comment by Barbara — May 21, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

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