In last week's column I referenced a German Chocolate Cake that was baked by my sister-in-law and served as dessert at a family gathering. While the topic is still fresh in my mind, I will share the recipe this week for any of you wishing to spend a little extra time in the kitchen now that fall is definitely upon us and the desire to be indoors is a little more prevalent.
First of all, German Chocolate Cake is distinct in its own right, differing from other chocolate cakes in that it is made with a sweet baking chocolate that is called for in few other recipes. It is typically and traditionally topped with a coconut-pecan frosting that is almost caramel in status, made with egg yolks and evaporated milk, and once cooked, coconut and pecans are stirred in.
The batter can be baked in three 9'' round pans for a layer cake version, or if you prefer, a regular 9x13 cake pan also works well, you'll just have to adjust the baking time. The layer cake is a little more elegant if you are entertaining, and if this is the type you choose you might want to spread the sides with your favorite chocolate frosting and pipe around the circumference of the layers to hold in the filling.
Contrary to popular belief, this cake did not originate in Germany. Instead, the name came from the Baker's Sweet German's Chocolate, which was created in 1852 by an Englishman named Samuel German for the Baker's chocolate brand.
The original recipe for "German's Chocolate Cake" was sent by a Dallas, Texas, homemaker to a local newspaper in 1957. The cake became quite popular and General Foods, which owned the brand at the time, distributed the recipe to other newspapers in the country, and sales of Baker's Chocolate are said to have increased by as much as 73%. The possessive form (German's) was dropped in subsequent publications, forming the "German Chocolate Cake" identity that is known today.
It has been suggested that the cake may not have directly originated from this recipe, as similar buttermilk and chocolate cakes had been popular in the American South for decades.
Consequently, if you purchase a package of Baker's German chocolate there's a good chance you'll find the recipe on the back of some of the packaging yet today. It does take a little bit longer to prepare than a regular cake, but the moist, delicious end product is well worth every extra minute invested. The cake is extremely rich, so a little piece goes a long way. It also freezes extremely well.
Until next week, from my kitchen to yours, happy baking!!!
Baker's Original German Sweet Chocolate Cake
1 pkg. (4 oz.) Baker's German sweet chocolate
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
Coconut-Pecan frosting (recipe follows)
Melt chocolate in water, cool. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks. Stir in vanilla and chocolate. Mix flour, soda, and salt. Beat in flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into three 9-inch layer pans, lined on bottoms with waxed paper; or a 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes; or approximately 50 minutes for the 9x13 pan or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center. Cool 15 minutes; remove and cool on rack. Frost cake.
Combine 1-1/2 cups (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk, 1-1/2 cups sugar, 4 slightly beaten egg yolks, 3/4 cup butter or margarine and 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 cups shredded coconut and 1-1/2 cups chopped pecans. Cool until thick enough to spread. Makes 4-1/4 cups.