My husband, being partly German, requested German Chocolate Cake for his birthday this year. He remembers his father having it when he was younger. His father passed away the year before we got married, and I have never eaten nor made German Chocolate Cake, so I was a little intimidated by this request. I called up his mother for a recipe only to be told that the birthday cake was actually made by a local baker who is no longer with us. So, I decided that since I could never compete with what my husband grew up eating with his father, I had to create my own version that would forever be known as His birthday cake.
I did a little research and meshed a few recipes together, added some things, took away some things and ended up with what we believe is the best example of a German-ish Chocolate Cake. There are no nuts in mine because I don’t like nuts in things. I took away HALF of the sugar in the traditional coconut frosting because it’s simply not needed and I added a tangy dark chocolate cream cheese frosting to help balance out the syrupy sweetness that coconut generally brings to the birthday party. It’s a slightly elaborate cake to make (a lot of double boiling involved!!), but if you really want to impress a loved one, it is worth every minute. And calorie.
*My German Chocolate Cake
-In a double boiler, melt together 4 ounces of bittersweet or dark chocolate, 1/2 cup strong coffee and 1/2 stick unsalted butter (you will need a total of 2 sticks for the cake, more for the frosting). Stir til smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool a bit.
-In a medium mixing bowl, sift together 2 cups cake flour*, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp fine salt. Set aside.
-In another mixing bowl, whip 4 large egg whites (save the yolks for later) with 1/4 rounded tsp of cream of tartar til stiff peaks form. Set aside.
-In a large mixing bowl, cream 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter,1 1/2 cups white sugar, and 1/2 cup light brown sugar til fluffy. Add in your yolks slowly, while whisking. Then slowly add in your cooled melted chocolate mixture and 1 tsp vanilla while whisking.
-With the whisk, stir in some flour alternating with a total of 1 cup of buttermilk, a bit at a time, and be sure to end with flour.
-Fold in your reserved whipped egg whites.
-Pour into 3 (9 inch) cake pans that you’ve greased and floured.
-Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until the edges have pulled away from the pans.
-Allow to cool completely before frosting.
*Coconut Cream Frosting
-In a double boiler combine 1/2 cup white sugar, 4 egg yolks (no further use for the whites in this recipe, save them for a light omelet in the a.m…to make up for eating so much of this cake!!) and 1 cup evaporated whole milk. Stir until well incorporated.
-Add 1 stick of butter, cut up.
-Stir well and allow to cook for 12-15 minutes until thickened. Stir often.
-Add a splash of vanilla, 10 ounces of sweetened coconut flakes and a good pinch of kosher salt.
-Allow to cool before frosting.
-Place one of the cooled cake rounds onto your cake stand, slather a layer of your cooled coconut frosting over, then top with a second cake layer, frost again, top with your last cake layer and frost for the last time.
*Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Cake Finishing
-In a double boiler melt 1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips and a good splash of strong coffee (or a sprinkle of espresso powder) until smooth and glossy.
-With an electric beater, mix in 1 8 ounce brick of neufchatel cream cheese (I always use low fat b/c I prefer the flavor) until fully incorporated.
-Add splashes of half and half or whole milk, while mixing until you get the consistency of a thick frosting.
-Frost your cake by putting most of the frosting onto the top center of the cake and slathering it out and down onto the rest of the cake with an offset spatula. Be sure to keep the frosting layer thick or some of the coconut cream may come through. If this happens, just warm your spatula in hot water and patch it up with a thick glob of chocolate frosting.
-To finish, simply sprinkle a healthy amount of shredded, sweetened coconut over the top and around the sides of your cake.
-It helps if you have a little helper…
-Chill the cake a few hours before serving to set.
-And thoroughly enjoy!!
(*to make your own cake flour- For every 1 cup of cake flour needed, place 2 TB of cornstarch into a measuring cup, fill with all purpose flour, and sift several times. Now you’ve got cake flour!)