twenty one

German Chocolate Cupcakes

According to The Food Timeline, historians have placed German Chocolate cake in 1957 Texas. A recipe for the cake was sent to a Dallas newspaper by a housewife (I love when that happens) calling bakers to use a brand of dark baking chocolate developed by American Sam German. So, German Chocolate cake in fact has nothing to do with Germany! Who’d have thunk it?

I have adapted this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s German Chocolate Cupcake recipe. The coffee, sour cream and buttermilk mixture make the cakes perfectly moist and not too sweet, which is perfect because the topping (a fantastically sticky mixture of coconut, butter, and nuts) takes care of any sugar cravings immediately. In short, these non-German desserts are so good you probably need to stay in America to eat more of them after the first batch is finished……….and on to the recipe!


– 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

– 2/3 cup granulated sugar

– 2/3 cup dark or light brown sugar

– 2 eggs at room temperature

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 cup buttermilk or appropriate amount of dry buttermilk and water (as I said in a previous recipe, use dry buttermilk as it is much easier to always have in the fridge than real buttermilk, which I don’t believe anyone actually drinks.)

– 2 tbsp. strong coffee or espresso

– 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

– 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

– 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Ghirardelli)

– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

– pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking pans with 28 liners (Fact: this recipe says it makes 14 cupcakes. Fact: I made 28 perfectly sized cupcakes out of this recipe. Fact: the barefoot contessa is clearly making some ridiculously large cupcakes. Fact: you can make your cupcakes as big as you want) In an electric mixer combine butter and sugars and blend on high speed for about 5 minutes for prime fluffiness. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, coffee, and the buttermilk (if you are using dry buttermilk, add the water at this time instead). In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt (AND the dry buttermilk powder if you’re using it! It’s very easy to forget this step! Don’t!) On low speed alternate adding mixtures in thirds, starting with the sour cream mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides occasionally and to make sure batter is completely blended. Divide the batter between cupcake pans (I used large soup-spoonfulls) Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.


– 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

– 1 12 oz can evaporated milk

– 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

– 5 large egg yolks lightly beaten

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 tsp almond extract

– pinch of salt

– 2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut (you can use sweetened, but I think that tends to be too much sugar)

– 1 cup sliced blanched almonds

– 1 cup chopped pecans

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the milk, sugar, egg yolks, both extracts, and salt with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a simmer on medium heat, stirring constantly. Lower heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Don’t let it boil! If it gets lumpy whisk vigorously off the heat. Take mixture off the heat and pour through a sieve (there’s an 87% chance a few lumpy bits of cooked egg are hiding in this mixture) then add the coconut and the nuts. Let cool for about an hour, then frost cupcakes. Warning: Do not try the topping before frosting the cupcakes. It will be too delicious and you will probably eat it all.


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