30 May 2010

German Chocolate Cake and Birthday Wishes ...

I have had SUCH an urge for chocolate today ... I crave the soft, moist sweetness of a chocolate cake with a gooey rich chewy frosting. I crave a German Chocolate Cake! Where did this sudden need for sugar come from? I don't usually have a 'sweet tooth'. That's usually Silent Bob's department. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps this urge to bake a cake relates to a maternal withdrawal from making birthday cakes. With the kids grown and flown, I don't bake many birthday cakes anymore (This is your chance to sniff and think to yourself, 'Poor lady'.).  Yup, this has got to be the reason for this sudden flight of baking fancy. You see, yesterday was my daughter, Kate's birthday. She is a big girl now and is celebrating in Washington DC this weekend. The trip between DC and NYC is a relatively easy bus trip and she is with a dear friend from high school, but that doesn't mean that I haven't thought of her often over the past 24. So, Happy Birthday, Kate! Dad and I love you ... and we also love chocolate! We know you love your cupcakes, but we are all about a big old honkin' chocolate cake with WAY too much sugary frosting and a nutty crunch that satisfies! If it froze well, we'd save you a piece! Instead, we'll make another one when you get back up to New Hampshire! Make a birthday wish over those cupcakes, dearie!
Now, about this cake ...this is a really simple recipe. It comes from a cook book that my mother-in-law gave me years ago, a Hershey's promotional offering called Make It Chocolate. There is one thing I've learned over the time,  regarding this cake. The batter has four components - sugar and butter cream, buttermilk, chocolate solution, and the dry ingredients. It pays to prepare the batter ingredients ahead of time, so you're not running around and leaving the butter, sugar, egg 'whip' to settle while you are measuring and whisking, boiling water and stirring cocoa, and pouring buttermilk. Read the directions through,  know the steps, and you'll put a light and airy batter into the pre-heated oven.

While I waited for the cake to come out of the oven, I couldn't resist taking a picture of my beautiful calla lilies ... oh, and that's my trusty pal, Pete the Smart Corgi. How cute is he? This is your cue to 'click' the picture and get a blow-up of his cuteness and the lilies' gorgeous muted colors. Then, you can move on to the recipe ... wink, wink.

German Chocolate Cake With Coconut Pecan Frosting - printer friendly

German Chocolate Cake
courtesy of Hershey’s Make It Chocolate


¼ c. cocoa
½ c. boiling water
1 c. plus 3 tbsp. butter
2¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk

Coconut-Pecan Frosting (recipe follows)
pecan halves (optional for decoration)

Making the Cake:

1. Stir the cocoa into boiling water in a small bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until it is creamy.

3. Add the vanilla and whip. Add the eggs, one at a time, whipping well between.

4. Measure the flour, salt, and baking soda in a 4-cup measure and whisk them together.

5. Measure the buttermilk in a small measuring cup.

6. Alternate adding the flour, buttermilk, and cooled chocolate, whipping well and scraping down the bowl sides.

7. Grease 3 cake pans ( 9-inch measure) and line the bottoms with waxed paper.

8. Divide the batter evenly and bake in a 350° F oven for 25 – 30 minutes until the cake tester comes clean.

9. Remove and place on a rack for 10 minutes.

10. Flip the cake out of the pans and gently peel loose the waxed paper.

11. Cool on the racks.

12. Divide the cooled frosting into three equal parts and ice between the layers (Don’t ice the sides of this cake).

13. Place the pecan halves on the top layer.

Coconut Pecan Frosting


1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
½ c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 c. flaked sweetened coconut
1 c. chopped pecans

Making the Frosting:

1. Combine the butter, sweetened condensed milk, and the egg yolks in a heavy saucepan.

2. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens to spreading consistency.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans.

4. Cool for about 15 minutes and then frost the cooled cake.

Yields: about 2¾ c. frosting


  1. Just strolled out in the garden after a few days away to notice that my Calla lilies are blooming. Funny. I thought they were one of the quintessential Southern flowers. I didn't even know you could grow them up North. Do you have to lift them in the fall?

  2. I have my calla lilies potted with English Ivy (as I won't plant that in the garden). Then, I put the pot on the terrace for the summer and bring it in in the Fall. Let it rest in the depths of winter and start feeding it come March. By May, it shoots up its blooms and can then be put back outside for the growing season.


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