Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day Fourteen: German Chocolate Cake

Day fourteen of Operation: Expand Horizons was a bit of a cheat. We had dinner plans at a restaurant to celebrate my brother's Master's degree completion, so I wasn't going to be cooking. Additionally, I was tapped to provide a cake. When my bro requested German chocolate, I decided to try a version from America's Test Kitchen that I had not used yet.

ATK hasn't failed me yet with their über-tested recipes, and this cake was no exception. It was delicious! The recipe says it serves 12-16, but I cut thin slices of this 4-layer monster for about 15 people and had cake left to spare.

Normally, German chocolate cake only has frosting between the layers. The outside chocolate frosting is my addition to pretty it up for a party. The "Perfectly Chocolate" frosting on the side of a box of Hershey's cocoa is a great basic recipe, and it's what I used. I added additional powdered sugar to make it stiff enough for piping.

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Serves 12-16


1 ½ cups pecan halves, toasted in a 350º oven and cooled

4 egg yolks

1 – 12 oz. can evaporated milk

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup sugar

1/8 tsp. table salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Whisk egg yolks and evaporated milk together in a medium saucepan. Add butter, sugars, and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling and foaming. Pour into a bowl and add vanilla and coconut. Let cool to room temperature, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool and thickened. When ready to fill the cake, chop the toasted pecan halves and fold into cooled filling.


4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ cup boiling water

4 eggs

2 cups all purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking soda

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

¾ tsp. table salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¾ cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray two 8” round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Coat the bottoms and sides of pans with flour, tapping out excess.

Combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over the mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Whisk together flour and baking soda.

In a stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, and salt for about 4 minutes until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down mixer bowl and blade in between. Add vanilla. Whisk chocolate mixture and add to creamed mixture. Blend well.

With mixer on medium-low, alternately add flour mixture and sour cream. Don’t overbeat. Finish incorporating by hand. The batter will be very thick. Divide evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula.

Bake in 350º oven on the center rack for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool cakes in pans for about 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks that have been sprayed with nonstick spray, peel off parchment paper, and allow to cool about 1 hour.

Split layers in half horizontally and spread about 1 cup of filling between each layer and on top.

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