for the last almost five years, it's been my own mission to make an amazing german chocolate cake. i've only had it a few times in my life, and really only one that's worth remembering. almost five years ago, on my birthday, i cut myself a big piece of homemade german chocolate cake - made by my grandmother's best lifelong friend - and was sitting in my grandparents dining room eating it. after a couple bites, dad told me german chocolate cake was my grandma's favorite. how fitting that afternoon - of my birthday and her funeral - was the day i realized how much my grandma and i actually have in common.
it's taken me almost five years to get up the courage both to make it and to eat it. and this cake was definitely worth it. the cake and the filling sound a bit complicated, but couldn't be easier to throw together. and while this cake is pretty damn good, nothing can beat my twenty fifth birthday cake.
baked's german chocolate cake
adapted from baked: new frontiers in baking
2 hours start to finish, makes a three layer 8" cake
for the cake:
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces melted dark chocolate
for the filling:
1 1/3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1 1/3 cups chopped pecans, toasted or untoasted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
- make the cakes. preheat your oven to 350F. grease three 8 inch round cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper. set aside.
- using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. while the butter and sugar are beating, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a separate bowl and set aside.
- when the butter and sugar are creamed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. add the vanilla extract and about a third of the dry ingredients. mix well. alternate additions of the coffee and buttermilk and the dry ingredients until they are all added. mix in the melted chocolate.
- divide the batter evenly among the three pans. bake about thirty minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. let the cakes cool in the pan about 20 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. cool completely and remove the parchment paper from the bottoms before filling.
- while the cakes are cooling, make the filling. line a baking sheet with parchment paper. and heat your oven to 300F spread about half of the coconut on the baking sheet. if your pecans aren't already toasted, spread those on the baking sheet as well. bake about five minutes, or until the coconut just starts to brown.
- in a medium saucepan, whisk the sugar, butter, evaporated milk, vanilla, and egg yolks over medium low heat until the mixture begins to boil and thickens. be careful not to cook the mixture too long or the yolks will turn to scrambled eggs. mix in the coconut and pecans. to cool the mixture quickly, place the pan in an ice bath and stir continuously until cool; otherwise let the mixture cool in the pan.
- to assemble the cake, place one cake layer on your serving tray. if it isn't flat, slice off the top to flatten the cake. spoon about one third of the filling onto the layer and spread to the edges. continue with the other two cake layers. serve with a tall glass of milk.