Decadent German Chocolate Cupcakes filled with a toasted coconut-pecan filling and finished with chocolate ganache buttercream.
Chocolate and Coconut
These vintage cupcakes have roots in the 1950s. A Dallas woman named Mrs. George Clay created a recipe called German’s Chocolate Cake that appeared in a Dallas newspaper. The recipe, reprinted by General Foods, had the “s” dropped in the name to become German Chocolate Cake. Soon the recipe spread around the country, becoming a hit with chocolate and coconut lovers.
German Chocolate is not German
For years I assumed “German” chocolate was an exotic blend of chocolate and secret ingredients only known to the Germans who invented it. It surprised me to learn that German chocolate is an American product. In fact, it was developed by men who had no ties to Germany! If you look closely at Baker’s chocolate box (below) the name appears as German’s Sweet Chocolate instead of “German” Sweet Chocolate, meaning that the chocolate belongs to someone.
The History of German’s Sweet Chocolate
In 1764, an American physician, Dr. James Baker, and Irish chocolatier John Hannon formed a company named Hannon’s Best Chocolate. Eventually, they developed bitter baking chocolate, leaving it to the cook to add sugar. Fourteen years later, Hannon disappeared at sea when he went to purchase cocoa beans in the West Indies. Baker then bought Hannon’s half of the company from Hannon’s widow and renamed it Baker’s Chocolate.
Several years later, Baker’s grandson Walter Baker inherited the company and hired Englishman Samuel German to work there. German created a much sweeter chocolate product to use for baking. It was tremendously popular and eventually became such a financial success that his last name was added to the Baker’s box, appearing as German’s Sweet Chocolate.
German Chocolate Cake
German’s Sweet Chocolate hit gold again when Mrs. Clay created the German Chocolate Cake recipe. It was so popular that it became synonymous with chocolate, coconut, and pecans. Since then, the cake version has spawned recipes for desserts such as cupcakes, brownies, cookies, layer bars, and blondies.
What Makes This Recipe Different
There are many recipe versions for German chocolate cupcakes. This one has cream of coconut in the chocolate cake, toasted coconut and toasted pecans in the filling, and a chocolate ganache buttercream frosting.
How to Insert Filling into the Cupcakes
After baking and cooling the cupcakes, insert the filling into them. One way to do this is to use a frosting piping tip to cut out a hole in the top middle of the cupcake. You can also cut out a hole with a knife or spoon. Discard the cake because you will fill the cupcake hole with coconut-pecan filling.
Chocolate ganache (if you aren’t familiar with making it) is simply melted chocolate and cream. Luckily, it is easy to make in the microwave! Place the cream and broken (or chopped) chocolate into a microwavable container and heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir and return to the microwave for 30 more seconds. Then remove the mixture from the microwave and stir until all the chocolate melts.
You can also make ganache in a saucepan by heating cream to the simmering point and then pouring it over chopped chocolate. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts.
After the ganache cools, make the chocolate frosting. Then use a 1M tip to pipe stars around the edge of the cupcakes. When all cupcakes have frosting, add any leftover coconut-pecan filling to the center of the cupcakes.
Storing the Cupcakes
These cupcakes are best eaten a couple of days after making them. Store them in an airtight container to keep them from drying out. If you worry about leaving them on the countertop, store them in the refrigerator in a sealed container. But be aware that cake can sometimes become dry stored there. You can also store them in the freezer for eating later, but be sure the container is airtight and let them thaw completely before serving. Enjoy!
Here are some other chocolate and pecan recipes you might like: