Monday, May 28, 2012

German Chocolate Mini Cupcakes and Memorial Day

My Dad's Memorial Service was this past Saturday, so it was a weekend filled with so many emotions, memories, food, and birthday parties. Because my Dad was a WWII veteran, he got full military honors after his memorial service, which included a 21 gun salute, Color Guard, taps, and a flag presentation.  Maybe I had seen a 21 gun salute on TV or in the movies, but never 10 ft. away from me. It was so loud, but the whole ceremony was an impressive and fitting tribute  to end my Dad's Memorial service on Memorial Day Weekend, of all weekends.

On Friday, the day before the Memorial service, my brother and his son, my Granddaughter, and her boyfriend started to got through the myriad of pictures and WWII memorabilia from my parent's cedar chest to pick out items for the visitation.  My Dad lived almost a century, 92 years, so sorting through the cedar chest was a like a history lesson for the these soon to be 19 year olds. My parents had saved WWII war ration books, service pay records, grade school report cards from 1932, his army hat, and various medals and awards he had received in the Army Air Corps. Now, I know I had seen many of these memorabilia before, but it had been many years.  They certainly didn't have the impact on me then, as they did now, to know of all of the sacrifices made by the WWII vets and their families, so we could  enjoy the freedom that we have today.  Now if you knew my Dad, he never talked much about his war experiences, or his awards.  That's why my brother and I spoke at the memorial service to let the people know, how humble he was, and what a wonderful life he lived.

German Chocolate Cake was my Dad's favorite cake, so I made Mini German Chocolate Cupcakes to take to the luncheon after the memorial service.  I had never made this cake from scratch before, but I had made that rich coconut pecan frosting before, though. It wasn't until I was perusing websites that I discovered that German Chocolate Cake was not a recipe from Germany. It was named after San German, who developed a dark baking chocolate used for the cake. You can read more about the cake on Wikipedia.

I used a semi sweet chocolate, and cake flour to make the rich chocolate cake, which is topped with the decadent Coconut Pecan frosting.  Good thing that I made the mini size for portion control, because I could have eaten the whole pan of cupcakes.

On Sunday we had a Cupcake and Ice Cream party for my Niece, My Granddaughter, and her boyfriend, who are about to turn 19!

German Chocolate Cupcakes Adapted from Kyrstina Castella’s Crazy About Cupcakes

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
2 cups  flour  I  used cake flour (not self-rising), sifted,
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk, I used almond milk
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Coconut-Pecan Frosting (recipe to follow)
Chocolate Ganache, optional (recipe to follow)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake tins with liners. Whisk together cake flour, baking soda, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in chocolate until combined.

Divide batter evenly among prepared cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes. Run a small offset spatula of knife around the edges to loosen; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

To finish, spread frosting on top of each cupcake. Drizzle with ganache (if desired).

Coconut Pecan Frosting
(makes about 4 cups)

4 large egg yolks
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 c flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans,  coarsely chopped

Heat egg yolks, evaporated milk, sugar, and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 10 minutes (it should reach the consistency of sour cream). Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl.

Stir vanilla, salt, coconut, and pecans into frosting. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency.

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz semi sweet or dark chocolate
5-6 teaspoons, cream or milk

Heat cream until warm, not boiling.  Stir in chocolate, until  melted and desired consistency.  Use immediately.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck#20
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!


  1. Glad you were able to have such a fitting memorial service for your Dad, Becky...he sounds like a wonderful man! Michael's favorite cake is German Chocolate as well, so pinning this to make since I like small portions!

  2. Wendy,
    Thank you for your kind words about my Dad. he lived a wonderful life, and Memorial Day weekend was a wonderful setting to pay tribute to him. This cake is so good, and so rich. Make it for Michael. You could cut the recipe in half, too.

  3. Replies
    1. Claudia,
      This was his favorite cake, so good!

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss Becky! Sending lots of virtual love your way as you remember him this weekend!

    1. Thank you, Jen for your condolences. He had a wonderful memorial service.

  5. Memorial services are always filled with so many emotions, however, I think that your dad's service was one of honor and truly displayed the high regard that people had for him. Which is my opinion is perfect.
    Your cupcakes do look tasty. German chocolate is one of those classics that will always remain as such and do rate pretty high on my list of delicious things. I like how you decorated these as well-yum! Enjoy the day!

    1. Tina,
      His service was dignified, as well as personal, which was perfect for him. We think that he would have been very pleased. And I know that he would have loved the cupcakes.

  6. What a beautiful send off and fitting tribute for your Dad. All of lives are made better by the sacrifice of those who have served. I bet the guns were loud. Love the pics of the kids and their cupcakes. Funny to call them kids, they are my daughters age and some days when I look at her know I see a woman looking back. (Sniff, sniff). I bet everyone enjoyed the cupcakes, they are my mom's favorite, will have to make these for her soon. I'm so glad everything went well.

    1. Gina,
      Thank you for your kind words. the service went very well. Those guns were so loud. I was 10 ft away, and I about fell over.

      I know that these "kids" are young adults, but in my heart they will always be "kids." They are all sophomores in college with bright futures.

  7. What a fitting tribute to your Dad, who sounded like a remarkable man. The cakes look beautiful, not to mention delicious
    Mary x

    1. Mary,
      Thank you for your condolences. The cupcakes are so good, so rich.

  8. What a beautiful tribute to you dad. :) And these cupcakes look amazing!

    1. Lindsey,
      Thank you for my sweet words. The cupcakes are dangerous. I couldn't stop eating the frosting.

  9. I loved reading this tribute, and of course I love those cupcakes. German chocolate is one of my all time favorites. Thank you for sharing with me, sweet friend, and for your kind words on my blog! I'm excited to be back around. Hugs and love from Austin!

    1. Monet,
      I'm glad that you liked the tribute, and the cupcakes! The cupcakes are so good, and so rich!

      Glad that you are back in Austin safe and sound.

      Hugs from St. Charles.

  10. Such a beautiful tribute to your dad, Becky! My uncle was a WWII veteran, as well. This year I didn't get a chance to go to the Memorial Day I always have done for years!

    Your cakes are so yummy, and delicious! Thank you for your kind and caring comment on my blog!

    1. Elizabeth,
      Thank you for your sweet words. The cupcakes are so good.

      I know how much you loved Prince, and you will miss him.

  11. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful celebration of your dad's life. German chocolate is one of my favorite cakes, too. xoxo


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