German Chocolate Cake Balls

German chocolate cake balls

All the classic flavors and textures of German chocolate cake in a cake ball: coconut, chocolate and pecans. The traditional frosting for the cake is cooked on top of the stove and is uniquely sticky, chewy and sweet; here it is folded into chocolate cake to make these cake balls. Dipped in a dark chocolate shell, the balls are then further embellished with a generous shower of more coconut and pecans.

Adapted from Cake Balls by Dédé Wilson (Harvard Common Press).

German Chocolate Cake Balls
Makes: Makes about 64 Ping-Pong–size balls
  • Scant 1 cup evaporated milk
  • Scant 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • Scant 1 cup toasted pecan halves, chopped
  • 1 recipe Easy Chocolate Cake, baked, cooled and crumbled
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut or large coconut flakes (as seen in image)
  • 1 cup toasted pecan halves, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds semisweet chocolate, such Callebaut or Ghirardelli, finely chopped
  • 64 miniature fluted paper cups (optional)
  1. To make the frosting: Place the evaporated milk and sugar in a large saucepan and whisk to combine. Whisk in the egg yolks and butter pieces. Gently cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches a simmer, and then cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, whisking frequently until it thickens and slightly darkens. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, coconut and pecans. Cool, stirring occasionally to release heat, until just warm to the touch and thickened. Cool completely at room temperature.
  2. Combine the cake and about 2 cups of the frosting. Test by compressing and tasting and only add more frosting if needed for flavor and moisture. Roll into ping-pong–size cake balls. Refrigerate until firm. This can be done 1 day ahead; store in an airtight container once they are firm.
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil; set aside. Toss together the coconut and pecans in a small bowl; set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Dip the balls one at a time in the chocolate, encouraging any excess chocolate to drip back into the container. Place, evenly spaced, on the prepared pans. Sprinkle a generous amount of the coconut/pecan mixture on top of each cake ball while the chocolate is still wet. Refrigerate briefly until the chocolate is set. Trim bottoms, if needed. Place each cake ball in a paper cup, if using. Place in a single layer in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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