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Friday, December 18, 2009

German Chocolate Cupcake Bites

Every year for my grandpa's birthday, my grandma made him German chocolate cake from scratch. I think it was just about the only thing she ever baked, especially from scratch. My Great Grandma Tootie was the baker in the family. But nevermind that, German chocolate cake was his favorite, so that's what she made him every year.
German chocolate cake is something I've never made before, but have wanted to try for a while now. Todd needed a dessert for his office Christmas party so I volunteered to make German chocolate cupcake bites for him. I asked my mom for my grandma's recipe and found out that she always used the recipe on the back of the Baker's chocolate box. In fact, the recipe card was a photocopy of the box.
The cake batter is fairly standard and follows the normal cake mixing of beating butter, eggs and sugar and then alternating wet and dry ingredients and finally folding in egg whites. The frosting is similar to a custard process with the addition of pecans and coconut. As a cake, this recipe makes a 3-layer 9" cake, or about 84 mini cupcakes.

German Chocolate Cake
Recipe from Baker's Chocolate
4 oz. German sweet chocolate
1/2 cup water
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray your pans with baking spray (buy the "baking" formula of cooking spray, it contains flour so it replicates buttering and flouring your pans) or line with cupcake liners.
In a heat proof bowl, combine chocolate and water and melt in the microwave. Heat about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals until melted and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, mixing after each addition. Turn off mixer and add in melted chocolate and vanilla. Beat on low speed until well mixed.

Add flour mixture in 4 additions, alternating with buttermilk, beating on low speed after each addition until incorporated. (Unless you have 2 mixers, a stand mixer and a handheld, or 2 bowls, you will need to transfer the batter to a separate bowl and clean you mixing bowl at this point.) Add egg whites to mixing bowl and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter.

To easily transfer batter to cupcake tins, fold a gallon size ziploc bag over a large glass and add batter just as you would fill a piping bag with icing. Don't overfill the bag, you will have to do this in 2 batches. Twist up the top of the bag, squeezing the icing to one corner and smoothing out the air bubbles. Snip off just the tip of the bag to make a small hole and pipe the cake batter into the muffin cups, filling them about 1/2 way full. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until puffed, the tops should spring back when lightly pressed. Cool for about 5 minutes in pans and then tranfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting
4 egg yolks
12 oz evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
7 oz flake coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Combine egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a large saucepan and whisk together until well-blended. Add sugar and softened butter and cook on medium heat for about 12 minutes until nice and thick, stirring constantly. The mix should be golden brown in color. Remove from heat and add coconut and pecans. Mix well. Transfer to a bowl and let cool (you can refrigerate to speed this up.) Once cooled, frost cupcakes.

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