Tuesday, October 25, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

Ok, yes, you totally caught me. I had to get creative with my picture taking since I didn't come to my picture-taking senses until half of this deep, dark, luscious, tender, moist, chocolaty, scrumptious, tantalizing, addicting, rich, intoxicating, wondershizzliciouslamdunkitykitycometome....

Ummm, I'm sorry, where was I? Oh yes, I didn't take my pics until we were halfway through the cake. And baby, what pictures....

BIRTHDAYS!!! What is it about birthdays that inspire us to reach beyond our culinary boundaries and swim in unknown waters? Am I alone in thinking the success of a birthday relies quite heavily on the magnificence of the cake? That we should be able to recall our birthdays by the cakes we celebrated them with? Now, I must stop now and issue a disclaimer, lest you think I am some kind of cake-decorating genius(unlike my friend Wendy, who most definitely IS a cake decorating genius), that I am NO cake decorator. Rather, I take pride in finding new flavors in cakes--new meaning new to my family. I have never given a second thought to German Chocolate cakes, as the few times I have tried them, the occasions have been forgettable. Well! Scott's birthday was this past Friday, and I was of course trying to think of some show-stopping concoction for his g√Ęteau d'anniversaire. Really, German Chocolate should have reasonably had no place in my stream of consciousness. But I kept going back to the fact that my honey loves chocolate and coconut combined, and despite the fact that I had already made him a Mounds-inspired cake for a previous birthday, I was trying to figure out a twist on those flavors. I started thinking that there just HAD to be a reason for German Chocolate's popularity, and I wanted to FIND OUT WHAT IT WAS! (did I mention I'm a bit of a cooking challenge freak?) Let me tell you, I DID. I am even wanting to make it again, less than a week later, because I only got ONE PIECE!!! Yes, I've definitely had a seismic paradigm shift, and I completely understand the popularity of a GOOD German Chocolate cake. I wholeheartedly support the movement. If you do too, then tell me you're coming over for a visit so I can make this for you...

from David Lebovitz
(don't be intimidated by the length of the recipe: you can do it!)

For the cake:
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 Tbs water
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
1 tsp vanilla

For the filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 oz butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the syrup:
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs dark rum(I used molasses)

For the chocolate icing:
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbs light corn syrup(didn't have, used molasses, worked fine)
1 1/2 oz unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

1. Butter 2 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 Tbs of water. Use double-boiler or microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temp.

3. In mixer bowl, beat butter and 1 1/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 min. Beat in melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Mix in half the dry ingredients into the creamed butter, then the buttermilk and the vanilla, then the rest of the dry ingredients.

6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the 1/4 cup sugar until stiff.

7. Fold about 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the whites until there's no visible trace of egg white.

8. Divide the batter into 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, unto toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cake layers completely.

While cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup and icing.

To make the filling:

1. Mix the cream, sugar and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 oz butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecans in large bowl.

2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly(scraping the bottom as you stir)until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon(170 degrees).

3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mix and stir until butter is melted. Cool to room temp(it will thicken.)

To make the syrup:
1. In small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in rum.

To make the icing:
1. Place the 8 oz of chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 1/2 oz of butter.

2. Heat the cream until if just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let cool to room temp.

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife. (Okay, so just to let you know, I didn't do this. I kept my cake to 2 layers, and didn't even feel one bit guilty.)

Set the first cake layer on the cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat, using the syrup to brush each layer, then spreading 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.(Or, just push some extra up the sides and fiddle with it using your icing knife, like I did.)

(It may seem like a lot of chocolate icing, but use it all. Trust me. You won’t be sorry.)


  1. I definitely AM intimidated by the length of the recipe, but maybe I'll pass it on to Reas and remind him of my upcoming birthday :) I wish you and I could celebrate our day together...it's been too long since we've shared a bday together - I have a feeling my cake would be way better that way too!

  2. I used to love to eat German Chocolate Cake until I learned the chocolate/migraine connection. Looking at your cake my resolve is waivering. We're coming. You make the cake. I'll bring meds.

  3. so if this is death by chocolate then I should go write my will.