German chocolate cake

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Like a lot of things in America, the so-named German chocolate cake isn’t actually German. But Americans, I guess, decided it is. Or actually the history goes that it was concocted by someone named Samuel German and was originally called German’s chocolate cake. Has nothing at all to do with being German or Germany. But the name has shifted, as so many do, to make people wrongly believe that this cake is a German treat.

I’ve always been fairly disgusted by German chocolate cake. It was the go-to birthday cake for my maternal grandfather, and I, liking neither chocolate nor nuts, could never see the appeal. Recently, while thinking a lot about my grandparents (now both deceased), I wondered if I could make German chocolate cupcakes.

Before you get started, I would suggest toasting your pecans for the filling. Toast about 4 ounces or 113 grams of pecan pieces in an oven at 175C/350F for about 10 minutes, making sure they do not burn. Set aside.

Cake
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/2 cup cold, strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Butter and flour muffin tins (or use paper muffin cups). Sift dry ingredients together in one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and vanilla.

Beat the coffee mix into the dry ingredients in two batches with an electric mixer on low. Beat in butter last. Pour into prepared muffin tins (about half full).

Bake 10-14 minutes (done when a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake in the center of the pan comes out clean).

Nut-coconut filling
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup coconut
3/4 – 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
3 tablespoons butter

In a heavy mid-sized saucepan, combine cream, sugar and yolks. Cook on medium-low until the sugar dissolves (about ten minutes). Remove from heat and add coconut, pecans and butter. Stir until the butter is fully melted. Let stand until at room temperature.

When cool, use the filling to fill/top each cupcake to the capacity you like. I made holes in my cupcakes and filled them and then topped the rest of the cake with some chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, but you could also use a chocolate ganache as a topper.

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