German Chocolate Cupcakes

Yesterday while Stephen was at work I decided to bake something. Since it was our anniversary I wanted to make something different and kind of special. I had been wanting to make a German chocolate cake for quite some time, but a whole cake is kind of impossible to eat between the two of us. So what did I do? I scaled down one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes, scaled down and adjusted a topping recipe and used my cocoa buttercream recipe. You may be thinking that’s a lot of work but everything seemed to come together quite quickly. The topping and frosting can be made/cooled while the cupcakes are baking and the overall assembly is a fairly speedy process. When Stephen came home he was pleasantly surprised to see cupcakes, especially since the night before we tried going to the Cocoa Bean and they were sold out of his favorite flavors. We both agreed that this recipe is a keeper!

German Chocolate Cupcakes
¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ c. all-purpose flour
1½ c. granulated sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¾ c. warm water + ⅛ tsp. espresso powder
¾ c. buttermilk
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla

½ c. heavy cream
½ c. sugar
1 large egg yolk
2½ tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
¹⁄₈ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ c. pecans or walnuts, chopped
¾ c. unsweetened coconut

Chocolate buttercream frosting:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch-process)
¼ c. milk
2¼ c. confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. light corn syrup (optional)
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 cupcake pan with liners, set aside.
2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk or sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs, warm water w/ espresso powder, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Turn down speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until smooth (no flour/cocoa pockets remain), about 3 minutes.
4. Divide batter evenly among cups, filling ⅔ of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 20-21 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake!
5. Remove from oven, allow them to sit for 3-4 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Prepare topping and frosting. Assemble as desired.

For the topping:
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine heavy cream, sugar and egg yolk.
2. Put the butter, salt, vanilla, nuts and coconut in a large heatproof mixing bowl and set aside.
3. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spatula (make sure your thermometer reads 170 degrees.).
4. Pour the hot custard into the nut-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature.

For the frosting:
1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer (with whisk attachment), beat the melted butter and cocoa powder powder until smooth.
2. Mix in the milk and powdered sugar, beating on medium speed to spreadable consistency (add an extra splash of milk if necessary, but frosting should be fairly stiff).
3. Add vanilla, light corn syrup, and pinch of salt. Beat for 20-30 seconds until light and fluffy
Stephen + Natalie | Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

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About the Author


Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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  2. These lokk incredible! One of my favorite flavors! thank you for sharing at Uncommon! featuring this on our FB page today!;)

  3. Very tasty…I found the cupcake batter to make 18 cupcakes, of the standard size. I then made more of the topping and frosting. Having said that, the final product was a wonderful cupcake…the best chocolate frosting I’ve tasted! That could be why I was a little short, I don’t know! Thank you for sharing this recipe!