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

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