German Chocolate Cake

by angelika on November 8, 2010

A good friend of mine had a milestone birthday last weekend. These birthdays signify the beginning of a  new era. A new step forward, a deeper level of maturation. Like a fine Bordeaux, no? Not that I would really know, as I have been turing 29 for years. The easiest way for me to show somehow how much they mean to me, is to cook them something. Cooking is my language of love. For this special someone, I baked a cake, and not just any cake. My favorite cake of all time. German Chocolate cake. I submit that there is no cake richer and more decadent that the buttery, nutty, chocolate yumminess that is German Chocolate Cake.

I have made a few German Chocolate cakes over the years, and the very best is this recipe I found on David Lebovitz’s blog. He gives credit to Mary Jo Thoreson of Chez Panisse. (Can anything not be the very best if it came from Chez Panisse?) I did not tweak it at all, save making extra of the filling. I don’t see how that could have possibly been enough. The filling is the best part! I made 50% more as I only had enough cream on hand to do so. I would have gladly doubled it and used every last bit. If not in the cake, eaten straight from the spoon. The recipe below is his recipe for filling. Feel free to double it if you, like me, think the filling is the best part. 
German Chocolate Cake
 2  9″ cake pans

cake:
2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 TBS water
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks 
3 oz butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted
syrup:
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 TBS dark run
icing:
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbs light corn syrup ( I used agave nectar)
1 1/2 oz unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
This cake is a labor of love, to be sure. It will take you the better part of the day the first time you make it. It seems to go a touch faster each time I try. Make sure to use the best ingredients you can. I always bake with Ghiradelli chocolate, I think it has the best and most consistent flavor. Always look for baking chocolate in the baking aisle. The candy aisle has 3 oz bars for the same price, or more, than the 4oz bars sold for baking. I also use organic butter, cream and eggs. I really do believe you can tell in the taste. 
Begin by preheating the oven at 350º and starting with the cakes. 
butter your pans, fill with a parchment round, and butter again
 

Melt the chocolate with the 6 tablespoons of water. Either use a double boiler or a microwave. I always use the microwave to temper chocolate. I think it is much easier. Basically you put your chocolate into the microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring in between, until it is melted. This keeps it at a low temperature and prevents the chocolate from turning grey. Especially important if you are dipping fruit or making confections. Let the chocolate cool completely. 

In the bowl of your mixer beat the butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. 
Beat in the chocolate and then the egg yolks, one at a time. 
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
Mix in half the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk and vanilla, then the rest of the dry. 
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until they are soft peaks.
Add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. 
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it.
Then fold the remaining egg whites into the cake just until you see no streaks of white. 

Divide the batter between the pans.
Bake at 350º for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Mine only went about 42 minutes this time. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. 
Begin the filling by toasting the pecans and coconut. This takes about 5 minutes in the hot oven. Watch the coconut closely. It can go from toasted to burnt in the blink of an eye! 
lining with parchment makes removal much easier

chop finely 

in a large bowl mix the nuts, coconut, butter and sugar.
(3 oz of butter is roughly 3/4 of a stick)

In a medium saucepan mix the cream, sugar and egg yolks. 
Cook the cream mixture, stirring constantly.

Mixture is done when it begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon. 
Pour hot custard over coconut mixture and stir until butter melts. 

let it cool completely

Make the syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar has melted. Pour into a bowl and add the rum. I didn’t have dark rum so I used light. Dark would probably be better, but I feel like you got the same idea with the light. 
To make the icing chop the chocolate and put it into a bowl with the butter. (about 1.5 tablespoons) Heat the cream until it just begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute. Then whisk to combine. The corn syrup in the recipe is used to make the ganache shiny. You can use agave to the same effect and then you get to avoid the corn syrup, which is not one of my favorite ingredients. 

Now we assemble the cake. Cut each cake in half, horizontally, using a serrated knife. One of these days I am going to figure out how to do this in a way that makes even layers. Cake cutting vexes me. This particular cake was just a wee bit lopsided and it bugged the crumbs out of me. I actually considered, for a brief moment, making a new cake. Maybe I need to find a cake cutting machine of some sort…
Surround your cake tray, plate, or stand with wax paper strips, and then lay your bottom layer on top. The wax paper allows you to make a mess and not worry about it. It all falls on the paper which you remove before serving!
brush layer liberally with syrup

Put 3/4 cup filling on and spread out. 
(per recipe, I used about 1 cup) 

Repeat with each layer, first coating with syrup and then the filling. 

Spread the icing around all sides, very thickly. Trust me, it is delicious. 
Use a pastry bag to pipe a decorative border. 

 A votre santé!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Endy Daniel November 8, 2010 at 7:11 pm

i want 6 slices plsss!!!

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