What Are German Chocolate Cupcakes?

B. Turner
B. Turner
Squares of sweet baking chocolate.
Squares of sweet baking chocolate.

German chocolate cupcakes are a type of dessert which resembles a small, single-serving German chocolate cake. These cupcakes are made using traditional German chocolate cake recipes, which include a chocolate cake with a frosting consisting of coconut and pecans. This dessert can be prepared at home or purchased in many bakeries, grocery stores and gourmet shops.

Many people mistakenly believe that these cupcakes originated in Germany, or are based on traditional German recipes. Actually German chocolate cupcakes are based on a cake recipe that was first published in an American newspaper during the 1950s. The recipe called for a brand of baker's chocolate known as "German's chocolate," which was named after its inventor. Since that time, the name has been shortened from German's to German, leading to the confusion over the history of this recipe.

German chocolate cupcakes consist of a semisweet or dark chocolate cake. They may be bite-sized or made using standard cupcake or muffin tins. The rich chocolate cake can still be made using German's chocolate, though it can also be prepared using cocoa powder or semisweet baking chocolate.

The cake is then topped with a special frosting made from pecans or walnuts mixed with toasted coconut. This frosting may be used to top the cake, or sandwiched in between its layers. It may also be used as a filling inside of the cupcake. Some users prefer to top the cupcake with a layer of chocolate buttercream first, then place a large dollop of coconut and pecan frosting on top. Others ring the perimeter of the cake's surface with chocolate frosting, then pile a large amount of coconut and pecan frosting inside of this ring.

Some German chocolate cupcakes are prepared with a basic chocolate or buttercream frosting, then sprinkled with toppings to give them their characteristic flavor. Flaked, sweetened coconut can be sprinkled across the top, as can chopped pecans or walnuts. Specialty versions of this dessert may also incorporate sea salt to create a unique blend of sweet and salty flavors, while others add honey to complement the sweetness of the chocolate.

While German chocolate cupcakes are less common than standard chocolate or vanilla ones, they are still available in many bakeries and regular grocery stores. Those who wish to make this dessert at home can find many recipes that have been customized for German chocolate cupcakes. Others can use a standard German chocolate cake recipe, then add the ingredients to muffin cups or cupcake pans instead of a traditional cake pan.

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    • Squares of sweet baking chocolate.
      By: Andris T
      Squares of sweet baking chocolate.