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Monday, October 20, 2014

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake | The Sweets Life
German Chocolate Cake 
When I threw my friend Katie's baby shower a few months ago, I was determined to keep the food fairly simple. After all, the shower was scheduled for a weeknight and there's nothing that screams STRESS more than trying to throw together a bunch of fancy foods after working all day. One area I refused to go simple, however, was the cake. I don't get many opportunities to make fancy layer cakes, my sister had promised to make a cute cake topper, and the beauty of most layer cakes is that they're actually better when made ahead of time. The decision to make a German Chocolate Cake came after consulting Katie's husband, Matt. Actually, truth be told, my original query to Matt left me a bit befuddled, as he suggested I find a way to combine what he believed were her favorites: chocolate, strawberries, and coconut. While I'm sure there's a way to deliciously combine those into one cake, I instead did a little more digging and discovered that Katie's loves German Chocolate Cake. German Chocolate Cake it was!
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German Chocolate Cake | The Sweets Life
I made the cake layers the weekend before, froze them, and then made the frosting two days before the shower. I assembled and frosted the cake, stuck it in my cake dome, and let it sit in the fridge for two days. I have no idea whether this helped the flavor at all, but it certainly didn't hurt anything. This cake was magnificent! The cake layers are closer to a dense brownie than a fluffy cake and while the frosting is a bit sweet (I even reduced the sugar some), it's not too cloying since it's only between the layers and on top, and small slices go a long way. Because we were leaving town the next day, I stuck the rest of the cake in a tupperware and froze it, completely experimentally to see how it'd fare. The pictures you see are actually after I came home and thawed it once again (I was too busy the day of the shower to take good cake photos, which is why there aren't any decent ones of the entire cake), and spoiler alert: it was just as good the second time around! Next time you want a dessert that impresses, but prefer something you can make ahead of time, here's your answer!

One Year Ago: Odds & Ends
Two Years Ago: Roasted Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salad
Three Years Ago: Spiced Pear Bundt Cake and Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Four Years Ago: Easy Turkey Chili and Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies
Five Years Ago: Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie and Pumpkin Cake

German Chocolate Cake

-2 (4 oz) packages German's Sweet Chocolate Bars
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup butter, softened
-2 cups sugar
-4 large eggs, separated
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup buttermilk

for the frosting-
-2 cups chopped pecans
-1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 cup butter
-6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
-2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 3 (9-inch) cake pans and line with parchment paper (lightly grease paper as well).
2. Place chocolate bars and 1/2 cup water in a large microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring halfway through.
3. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter and sugar in a separate bowl on medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
4. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition.
5. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and then fold into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes before removing from pans and cooling completely on wire racks.
6. While cakes are cooling, make the frosting. First toast the pecans on a baking pan for 8-10 minutes in a 350F oven, stirring halfway through. Allow to cool completely.
7. Meanwhile, cook evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until butter melts and sugar dissolves (3-4 minutes). Cook, continuing to stir constantly (12-14 minutes) until mixture turns a light caramel color, bubbles, and begins to thicken slightly.
8. Remove pan from heat and stir in coconut, vanilla, and pecans. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow to stand, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes or until cooled and thick enough to spread. When ready to ice cake, place one layer on a plate or dish and top with frosting. Repeat with remaining layers and frosting.

from Southern Living October 2011