My Dad, Donna, and I, along with their friends Jimmy and Nancy, went out for Mexican food for Father’s Day yesterday. There’s a really great Mexican place on San Jose Blvd here in Jacksonville called Don Juan’s, and it’s quickly become a favorite. The next time I go I’ll give it a proper review.
My Dad loves German Chocolate cake, and my Nanny used to make one for his birthday every year. Since she’s no longer with us I’ve carried on the tradition for his birthday, and also for Father’s Day. Dad can spot a fake German Chocolate Cake from a mile away. There was a time or two where my Nanny tried to slip a box mixed German Chocolate past him, but he always knew the difference. A from scratch German Chocolate is way more dense than the box mix, and the color is also much different. Obviously the flavor of a from scratch cake is 100 times better than the box also. The recipe she used was the one off the back of the Baker’s Chocolate German Chocolate box. I’ll post the recipe at the end of this post.
I’d like to give a shout out to Omnivore Books in San Francisco, CA. They came through for me in a big way in regards to my Dad’s Father’s Day gift. I had been keeping an eye out for signed Jacques Pepin cookbooks on EBay, but could only find ones that had been personalized with the recipients name. I’m not sure why, but I had never done just a general google search for “Jacques Pepin signed cookbooks”. When I did I came across the website for Omnivore Books, and it said they had a signed copy of Jacques’ cookbook Heart and Soul in the Kitchen. Always the skeptic, I called to make sure that it was for real. It was. Apparently, Jacques Pepin did a book signing at the store some time back, and left copies of the book with signed bookplates. I spoke with Celia, and she was so nice, and accommodating. Celia took my order over the phone, I paid for expedited shipping, and had the book on my door step in plenty of time for Father’s Day! Definitely check them out. They have a really great selection of books, all food related of course, along with a section for signed copies, and a lot of really rare books as well. They were an absolute pleasure to do business with, and if I ever make it to San Francisco I’ll be sure to visit.
Baking is not my forte, but I still love to do it anyway. I’ve pretty much perfected the German Chocolate cakes flavor, but the appearance always leaves a lot to be desired. But like my Dad said, it’s not like I’m competing on Cake Wars, and the flavor is more important anyway. He loves it, and that’s all that matters. Still, I’d love to get to the point where it looks as good as it tastes.
It’s a three layer cake, and I’m not sure what happened, but the bottom layer pretty much collapsed under the weight of the other layers. The cake is dense, but also super moist. When I did the “toothpick check”, it came out clean, but the layers threatened to fall apart on me after it cooled. It took some crazy maneuvering to get the layers from the cooling rack to the cake plate!
A German Chocolate cake really isn’t that hard to make, but there are quite a few steps involved. One of the most important is getting the Pecan/Coconut filling just right. You have to be sure to make it in a pot that conducts heat well so that it has a chance to thicken and set properly. Otherwise, it will end up running off the cake. The recipe says to stir the evaporated milk, vanilla, eggs, and sugar mixture constantly on medium heat for 12 minutes. It’s back breaking work, but don’t skimp on the time or the constant stirring. If you do it will not thicken properly, and could scorch.
The cake part is pretty easy peasy. The recipe says to beat your egg whites to a stiff peak early on in the recipe, and set aside. I do it after I’ve done the rest of the cake mixture because if you’re slow, and deliberate while baking like I am, your egg whites may start to break down, and get watery if you let them set too long. The next time I make it I may spring for some deeper 9 inch pans (like these from Parrish Magic Line) to make two layers instead of three. The cooking time would likely be longer, but I would start out at the 30 minute baking time, and extend it in 5 minute intervals, checking every 5 minutes or so to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
Ok, I’ve been running off at the mouth long enough. Time for the recipe!
German Chocolate Cake
This is the original German Chocolate Cake recipe from the back of the Baker's Chocolate/German Chocolate bar box. My grandmother used this tried and true recipe for years, and now I'm carrying on the tradition!
- For the Cake
- 1 pkg (4oz) Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- For the Coconut/Pecan Filling
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 pkg (7oz) flake coconut
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Instructions for the Coconut/Pecan filling: I usually make this the night before, and put it in the fridge overnight after it's cooled. When I'm ready to use it the next day I let it come up to room temperature. Making it ahead and refrigerating it has been the most successful way for me to ensure that it has set properly.
*Beat egg yolks, milk, and vanilla in a large saucepan with whisk until blended.
*Add sugar, and butter; cook on medium heat 12 minutes, or until thickened, and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
*Add the coconut and chopped pecans. Mix well and cool to desired spreading consistency.
Instructions for the cake:
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Cover bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round pans with parchment; spray sides with cooking spray. Microwave the chocolate and water in a large microwave bowl on HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
Beat egg whites in a small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
Beat butter, and sugar in a large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in the melted chocolate and vanilla.
Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition. Add in the egg whites and stir gently until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Immediately run a small spatula around cakes in pans. Cook the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove from the pans on to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely.
Spread the Coconut/Pecan filling between the cake layers and onto the top of the cake.
Click the image to Pin this recipe on Pinterest.
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you try out this German Chocolate Cake recipe. It’s definitely not diet friendly, but it’s worth it for an occasional splurge! Hope everyone has a happy Monday!
Michelle Miller/That Mrs. Miller is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.