Sweet chocolate cupcakes:
3 ox. solid dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Coconut-pecan frosting:
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners? sugar
3/4 cup pecans, toasted* and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

*To toast pecans, spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan.

Bake in a 350ºF oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, watching carefully and stirring once or twice so nuts do not burn. Cool completely before using.

Make Cupcakes:

  1. Position racks in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper liners or grease muffin cups and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour; tapping out excess.

  2. Place chocolate and 1/4 cup water in microwavable bowl. Heat on HIGH for about 1 minute. Let stand in microwave 30 seconds. Stir until smooth; set aside.

  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl; set aside. In small bowl, whisk together egg whites, buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until blended.

  4. In medium bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar with electric mixer at medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add melted chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and beat in half flour mixture until just blended. Add egg white mixture. Stir in remaining flour mixture.

  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until tops are set and tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Make Frosting:

  1. Combine 3 tablespoons water and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in medium saucepot over medium heat, stirring constantly. Occasionally brush down sides of pan with wet pastry brush until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Increase heat to medium-high and cook without stirring for 4 to 6 minutes or until syrup turns to a rich amber caramel color. Immediately remove saucepot from heat and slowly stir in evaporated milk. Be careful; mixture will quickly bubble up.
  3. Return saucepot to heat. Heat to a boil. Cook mixture over medium heat until reduced to about 2/3 cup; about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour into separate bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. Add 6 tablespoons butter to bowl. Beat with electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is blended. Add confectioners? sugar and beat until mixture is smooth. Stir in pecans and coconut.

Assemble Cupcakes:
Using small angled spatula, spread frosting in even layer over cupcakes. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set frosting. Serve at room temperature.