Monday, March 28, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

My Dad's birthday was yesterday, and my momma's is tomorrow. For as long as I can remember we have only had one cake. Our family just didn't need 2 cakes. One of the only cakes both parents could agree on was German Chocolate Cake. Which is fine with me because that cake is amazing. If you've never had german chocolate cake, it is a lighter and sweeter chocolate cake with a cooked coconut and pecan frosting. Here's what you need for the cake
German's sweet Baker's chocolate, water, eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk (you can make your own buttermilk. I'll tell you how further on in the recipe). First, you're going to melt Baker's chocolate and water in a saucepan
Cook this on low heat, stirring continuously. This is to make sure you don't burn the chocolate because that is very easy to do. Once chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes
While the chocolate mixture is cooling, start preparing the batter. Beat together room temp. butter and sugar
Beat about a minute or until fluffy or well combined
Now, separate the eggs into two bowls. If you have no idea how to separate eggs, google it or teach yourself because I have no idea how to explain it. Also, separating eggs is really common in cake making so it's nice to be able to separate them
Using a fork, beat the egg yolks
Add the beaten egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture; set the egg whites aside
Beat in the yolks until well combined. Then add the melted and cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla
Mix the chocolate in well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again
In a medium-size bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda
You are going to need the buttermilk now so if you don't have buttermilk on hand you can make it yourself in 5 minutes! All you do is add 1 Tbs. of lemon juice or vinegar to every 1 cup of milk and let it set for 5 minutes. After the milk has turned into buttermilk, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk into the batter (beginning and ending with flour. So you'll do 1/3 flour, then 1/2 buttermilk, then 1/3 flour, then the rest of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour. Your mixer should be going on low speed while adding the wet and dry ingredients). Once that is mixed in the batter, you need to deal with the egg whites that you set aside earlier. Using a mixer beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks have formed
Pour the beaten egg whites into the batter and gently fold in using a spatula
Here's what the finished batter looks like
Grease three 8-inch round cake pans with pam or butter and flour. Then place wax paper in the bottom of each pan. What you do is rip 3 pieces of wax paper off the roll. Stack them and place underneath a cake pan that you are using (you are also going to need a sharpie)
Using the sharpie, trace a line on the wax paper going all the way around the bottom of the pan
Cut the wax paper on the line
Place each piece of wax paper in the bottom of each pan and grease the wax paper
Pour the batter evenly throughout all 3 pans
Place in a heated oven and bake. When finished baking flip out onto a parchment/wax paper lined cooling rack
Gently peel off the wax paper that is on the bottom of each cake layer. While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting. Heads up, this frosting is frustrating, complicated, and time consuming, but worth it. Here's what you need
Butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, evaporated milk, pecans, and coconut. In a large pot whisk together egg yolks and evaporated milk
Once combined, turn heat on low and add in butter, sugar, and vanilla
Starting here, you are going to stir this constantly until the mixture thickens up and turns to a pretty caramel color. This will take about 20 minutes. The mixture isn't going to be thick enough to put on the cake when your done cooking it so pour into a plastic bowl and let cool to room temperature. The cooler the frosting gets, the thicker the frosting will get. Once frosting is cool fold in chopped pecans and coconut
Here's what the finished frosting will look like
When the frosting is cool enough and thick enough to stay on the cake, start assembling the cake! Place one layer, top side down on the plate. Scoop a generous amount of frosting on that layer
Spread that around and continue until all the layers are stacked
Frost the tops and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting
You can serve just like this, but it looks a little boring to me, so I decided to decorate it just a little. There's not really much you can do to decorate a german chocolate cake without ruining it so I just lined it with pecans
Tada! This long process is totally worth it! This cake is just delicious and there is really no other way to describe it

German Chocolate Cake
1 pkg. (4 oz) german Baker's chocolate, broken in pieces
1/2 cup water
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs, separated
1 cup butter, soft
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans, then line bottoms with wax paper. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate with the water, stirring to melt the chocolate, and blend well. Set aside and cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; Set aside. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks, beating until well combined. Add the chocolate mixture and the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, beating after each addition, until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on the high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Divide batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Be careful not to over bake! Pull the finished cakes out of the oven and flip out onto a wax/parchment paper lined cooling rack. Gently peel the wax paper off the bottoms of each layer. While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting.
Coconut Pecan Frosting:
17 ounces evaporated milk
6 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups sweet and shredded coconut
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Beat egg yolks and milk in large saucepan with wire whisk until well blended. Add sugar, vanilla, and butter; cook on medium heat 15-20 minutes or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Pour into a plastic bowl to cool to room temperature. (Frosting will thicken up as it cools.) Fold in coconut and pecans. Once the frosting is cooled, frost and layer the cake. Even if you feel like you are putting too much frosting on the cake, use it all because the frosting is what makes the cake so delicious. Decorate if you want. Enjoy! :)

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