My Brother-in-Law, Chris, was with us for his 40th birthday, so JiT asked that I bake his brother’s favorite cake — German Chocolate (coincidentally its also JiT’s favorite cake). I was a tad bit intimidated. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten German Chocolate cake let alone baked one. And I haven’t made a cake from scratch since before Lilly arrived. I was feeling rusty to say the least.
But I decided to buck up, buy some cake flour and coconut and get to it. Of course, the entire baking and decorating process had to be timed around bedtimes and naps, so that was exciting. Luckily, the cake batter came together pretty quickly between Lilly’s bedtime and our dinnertime. Then Lilly took a monster nap today which gave me enough time to do the coconut/pecan topping as well as a chocolate drizzle to pour over the top.
According to JiT, this is a bit different than the German chocolate cake he had in his head. Not sure where I went astray….he kept referencing some sort of chocolate frosting…but regardless its quite good. The cakes are only slightly chocolatey, which I like versus a super-rich cake. They also have a nice, light crumb. The coconut/pecan filling is sweet and full of rich texture and crunch. The chocolate topping added just a little something extra. All in all, a birthday hit if I say so myself.
And it felt good to bake again….perhaps this will inspire me to pull out my piping tips and get my buttercream on one of these days.
What about you guys…any recent cooking or baking accomplishments that have made you feel a little braver in the kitchen? Any great cake recipes you can recommend I try next?
German Chocolate Cake
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz. milk chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 recipe coconut pecan frosting (see below)
1 recipe chocolate drizzle (see below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate eggs. Allow egg yolks, whites and butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare three 8 x 8″ cake pans (or you can use round cake pans; if you don’t have 3 pans you can bake two cakes, using more batter in one, and spit the thicker one in half). Line the bottom of each pan with parchment, then grease and flour. Set pans aside.
In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set bowl aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the 8 oz of chocolate with 1/3 cup of water. Warm over low heat until chocolate melts. Whisk until smooth and well combined. Allow to cool.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape sides again and add in the chocolate mixture and vanilla. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk in three additions, beating on low speed after each addition.
Using a fresh bowl and wire whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter. Spread batter in prepared cake pans.
Bake cakes in oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for at least 10 minutes. Gently remove cake layers from pans and allow to continue cooling on wire racks to room temperature.
To finish cake, place one layer of cake on a serving tray. Spread with one third of the coconut frosting mixture. Add another cake layer and another third of the coconut frosting. Add the third cake layer and spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top. Pour chocolate drizzle over the top, allowing to drip off the sides. Cool completely before serving.
Coconut Pecan Frosting
1 can evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
In a small saucepan, beat egg, evaporated milk, sugar and butter. Place over low heat, cooking and stirring constantly for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add coconut and pecans. Cover and cool thoroughly.
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Combine chocolate and oil in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth. If necessary, add a bit more vegetable oil until chocolate reaches the right consistency for drizzling. Pour over cake while warm.