Cupcakes have experienced quite the spike in popularity these last few years, and bakers have gotten increasingly more and more creative with flavors and styles in order to make their cakes stand out, utilizing beautiful designs and innovative flavor combinations -- some of them delicious, some gimmicky. Although it takes skill to come up with the next big thing, re-creating and improving upon a classic flavor truly displays a baker's ability.
Ericka Frank of the Cakery (1420 Tamm Avenue, 314-647-6000) does exactly this in her German chocolate icing. All the classic ingredients are there, and there are no gimmicks (and by "gimmicks," we mean "bacon") present. It's a straightforward, traditional cake made in exceptional fashion.
Frank takes the time to perfect each part: toasting the coconut and pecans to give the frosting a satisfying crunch and a rich flavor; taking extra time and care to ensure the cream mixture is heated and whisked into a smooth custard; drizzling the final product with a semi-sweet chocolate sauce that complements the rich coconut and butter pecan. In short, Frank serves up a German cake so divine you'll have to say danke schön.
Coconut Pecan Frosting (for German Chocolate cake)
1 cup half and half 1 cup sugar 3 large egg yolks 4 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped 1 1/3 cups coconut, toasted
To toast the coconut and pecans: place in 300 degree oven for approximately 8 minutes.
Mix the half and half, sugar and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Do not turn on heat until cream, yolks and sugar are whisked together. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut and pecan pieces in a large bowl.
Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constatnly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture boils. Boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely.
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 1 1/2 ounces unsalted butter 1 cup half and half
Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 1/2 ounces of butter.
Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth.
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