Saturday, February 04, 2012

39. & 40. German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Filling

Well, actually, it should be German’s style Chocolate Cake.  German Chocolate Cake did not originate in Germany.  German’s Sweet Chocolate was created by Sam German for the American Baker’s Chocolate Company.  The cake that became famous from this chocolate was originally named German’s Chocolate Cake.  As it rose in popularity, the possessive was dropped and the name was just German Chocolate Cake. (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Why is my cake German’s “style”?  Because I did not use the traditional recipe nor the official German’s chocolate.  German’s chocolate is a sweetened chocolate.  The traditional recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar.  That seemed like a lot of sugar to me when the chocolate was already sweet.  Also, I already had unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate at home and found a recipe that used that instead.  So, it is German’s style because it is inspired by the traditional cake.

I made this cake for a friend and her support group as she recovers from a difficult surgery.  At times I feel Southern and in true Southern tradition, when you visit someone who is recovering you bring him or her some food, whether it be savory or sweet, you do not go empty handed.  I always air on the sweet side and think cakes are one of the most appropriate Get-Well-Soon goodies.  

When thinking of a cake for such occasion, I usually steer clear of more celebration type cakes like most confetti cake or traditional layer cakes that call for decorating to look complete.  Some cakes naturally lend themselves better to wishing a speedy-recovery like almost any flavor bundt cake, red velvet layer cake, and german chocolate cake.

My friend is recovering well and this cake brought a little spot of chocolaty goodness not just to her, but her family, and all those caring for her as well.  Baked goods are not medicine; they do not heal the sick.  Nevertheless, they have the power to make the recovery process a little more bearable and let the person recovering know you love them and care.  So, the next time you have someone recovery in your life, consider making them a Get-Well-Soon type cake.  After all, when recovering, calories don’t count :-)

Making this cake also marks two items off my top 100 list!

German Chocolate Cake
Adapted from David Lebovitz

This recipe make one 3 layer 8-inch round cake.

Cake Ingredients:
2 oz semisweet chocolate
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 TBS water
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar, separated
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
6 TBS butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 heaping cups unsweetened coconut, toasted
* I used evaporated milk instead of heavy cream.  Since it does not thicken the same, I had to use cornstarch to thicken it.  I suggest using the heavy cream.

Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 TBS light corn syrup
3 TBS butter
1 cup heavy cream

Cake Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prepare 3 8-inch pans with floured baking spray and parchment paper.

2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water in the microwave. Stir until smooth, and then set aside until room temperature.

3. Beat the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.

4. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Add half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture.  Then add the buttermilk and the vanilla extract.  Then the rest of the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.

6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then add remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

7. Stir one-third of the beaten egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it.  Then fold in the remaining egg whites just until no trace of egg white is visible.

8. Divide the batter into the 3 pans and bake for about 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

9. Cool cake layers in completely.

Filling Method:
1. Whisk together the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Place the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

2. Heat the cream mixture whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°F.  This will happen quickly.).

3. Pour the cream mixture immediately into the pecan, coconut mixture, stirring until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature.  (Here is where I made a cornstarch slurry to thicken the filling.  If you use the heavy cream you should not have this problem.)

Chocolate Frosting Method:
1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter.

2. Heat the cream until it starts to have little bubbles form around the sides of the pan. Immediately, pour the cream over the chocolate mixture. Let it stand one minute, then stir until smooth.

3. Let sit at room temperature to thicken.  It will happen; give it time.

To assemble the cake, place filling between each layer and on top of the cake.  Some recipes stop here, leaving the cake with open sides, a “rustic” look.  If you choose to continue, ice the sides of the cake with the frosting and smooth with an off-set handled spatula.  Pipe on upper and lower boarders if desired.

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