German Chocolate Mini Cakes

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German Chocolate Mini Cakes

star rating (11) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

This riff on German chocolate cake features individual mini cakes, their sides enrobed in chocolate, topped with the classic caramel-coconut-pecan filling/topping. While traditional German chocolate cake is a sweet, lighter-colored cake — more milk chocolate than dark — our version is devil’s food and delicious. By the way, German chocolate cake has nothing to do with the country, and everything to do with Sam German, an employee of the Baker’s Chocolate Company, who came up with this recipe in 1852.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter*
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) Baker's Special sugar or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cool water
*If you use salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon.

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (4 ounces) heavy cream

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) half and half or milk
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pecan flavor or pralines & cream flavor, optional
1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) shredded or flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, toasted*
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) chopped pecans, toasted*

*Toast the pecans and coconuts till golden brown in a 350°F oven. This is most easily done if you place each in a 9" round cake pan, and put them in the oven as soon as you pull out the finished cake. Bake for about 10 minutes, watching carefully towards the end, as the coconut will brown quickly. Remove from the oven, and stir the coconut to distribute the less-browned and more-browned pieces together evenly.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

To make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, espresso powder, baking powder, and vanilla till very smooth and creamy, beating for 5 minutes. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl after you’ve added the first 2 eggs. Stir in the cocoa. Add one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture, then add half the water, another third of the flour, the remaining water, and the remaining flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally throughout this process. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the cake from the oven. Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then run a table knife all around the sides of the pan to loosen the edges. Use a spatula to gently lift the cake free of the pan all around the edges; you’re going to turn it out of the pan, hopefully without sticking. Place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on a cookie sheet, put the sheet, parchment-side down, atop the cake pan, pick up the cake pan/cookie sheet, and turn the whole thing over. The cake should settle down atop the cookie sheet. Lift off the pan, and allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes. Use a 2 ¾" to 3" round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut 12 circles out of the cake. Or use whatever shape cutter you want: hearts or scalloped flower shapes are nice, too. Whatever you use, it should be around 3" in diameter. Carefully transfer the cakes to a cooling rack, right side up, and allow them to cool. As for the leftover scraps, snack on them (baker’s privilege!), or stir into instant pudding for an easy dessert. You’ll have about 4 to 5 cups of coarse cake chunks, just in case you have a recipe calling for that amount.

To make the icing: Heat the chocolate chips and cream till the cream is very hot; this is easily done in the microwave. Remove from the heat, and stir till the chocolate melts and the mixture becomes smooth. Don’t panic; it’ll look very sloppy at first, but keep stirring and it’ll become a smooth, rich glaze.

Working with one cake at a time, grasp it in the center with thumb and forefinger, and roll it through the chocolate like a wheel, to coat the sides. Place the coated cake onto a piece of parchment paper, to catch any drips. Repeat with the remaining cakes.

To make the topping: Combine the butter, salt, half and half, and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the flavors, coconut, and pecans. Spoon the topping evenly atop the cakes; you’ll use about 2 1/2 tablespoons for each. A tablespoon cookie scoop is perfect for this task.

Yield: 12 servings


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  • star rating 10/03/2013
  • Omega from Dallas, Tx
  • Great taste and Presentation!
  • star rating 08/06/2012
  • toomuchmail from KAF Community
  • These minicakes take a little additional time to prepare, but are stunning to look at, and so delicious! Moist, with a nuanced chocolate flavoring, and perfect for any party where individual desserts are needed. The recipe is easy to follow, and the flavor is outstanding.
  • star rating 04/08/2012
  • Molly H, from Bellingham, Wa
  • So good! The cake batter was the smoothest silkiest cake batter I've ever made! I didn't have pecans so I used walnuts and its still yummy! The directions were so nice too! I have a hard time following exactly but I did and wow!
  • star rating 06/23/2011
  • sandyjane from KAF Community
  • I made these for Father's Day and they were outstanding. I followed the directions exactly and they were as delicious as some of the gourmet desserts we find here in the dessert shops in San Diego. The flavors were incredible. My only complaint is that there were air bubbles (?) in my cakes because when I cut them out with the cookie cutter they had little caverns in them where the air had settled during baking. This hurt the presentation a little but did not take away from the flavor. Any suggestions for avoiding this in the future? Thanks KAF!
    If you mean small bubbles, this is normal. If on the other hand you mean "tunnel-like" tubes in the batter, these are a result of an over beaten batter. To resolves this, when alternately adding the dry and wet ingredients, only mix until the ingredient is incorporated. Then stop the mixer, scrape down the sides and add the next stage. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.
  • star rating 06/01/2011
  • dela07 from KAF Community
  • I love these little cakes. I was asked to make them for a wedding, so to make them more uniformed and not so much wasted cake, I baked them in a mini cheesecake pan. I put 2 tablespoons in each cup and baked them for 13-14 minutes. They made 44 mini cakes. They looked great and everyone loved them.
  • star rating 03/25/2011
  • Denise from Minnesota
  • This is an excellent recipe. I used a 2" cutter for a total of 24 mini cakes and presented them in a foil cupcake liner. They were a hit. I made the cake evening before, and finished them the next day. The leftovers were still moist and fresh 3 days later. All I can say is YUM.
  • star rating 07/19/2010
  • Peggy F. from Macungie, PA
  • I made this recipe for my Sunday School Valentine's Day Party. It was a hit! Several ladies asked for the recipe. The recipe is delicious and the presentation is very impressive. It was not a difficult recipe if you planned accordingly and broke down the steps into manageable parts.
  • star rating 07/13/2009
  • Amy from Boston, MA
  • I actually made this as an 8" two layer cake. I used the coconut topping for the middle layer and top. And I made about half as much icing to drizzle on top for decoration (rather than coat the sides). It was awesome. The cake itself is great. Not too sweet, which is necessary to compensate for the coconut topping. It went over perfectly with guests has well. Additional note: I had no pecans, so I substituted walnuts for the topping and was quite happy with the result.
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