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Classic German Chocolate Cake

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Did you know that German chocolate cake really isn’t German at all? It’s actually an American cake that baker Sam German came up with in 1852. (See? Last name: German. Hence, German Chocolate Cake.) He created it after developing German’s sweet chocolate, and we’re sure glad he did.

The cake is mostly comprised of a delicious chocolate cake base, but the real showstopper is the coconut pecan frosting. A little bit chewy, a little bit crunchy, and a lot sweet, that frosting is what makes this cake unique. All put together, it’s absolutely delicious and decadent and perfect for those special occasions when you really want to pull out all the stops.

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While it’s not quite as quick as a one-bowl cake or a sheet cake, there are plenty of occasions where a little extra effort is warranted and for those times, this cake is just the thing you need. The moist and chewy crumb combined with that signature frosting is absolutely heavenly. It’s a one of a kind, a cake like no other. And we absolutely adore it.

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German Chocolate Cake

1 hour to prepare serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • For the cake:
  • 4 oz. German sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup coffee or water
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 3/4 cups flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
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Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F and line 2-3 round, 8-9-inch cake pans (depending on how thick you want your cake layers) with wax paper.
  2. Grease and flour your lined cake pans and set aside.
  3. Set up a double-boiler with a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and melt chocolate until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and lightened in color. 3-4 minutes.
  5. One at a time, beat in egg yolks (waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next), then add melted chocolate and vanilla extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  7. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and buttermilk and coffee to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  8. Beat egg whites in a small bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/4 egg whites into batter, then fold in remaining egg whites, only until just combined.
  9. Pour batter equally into prepped cake pans and place in oven. Bake for 25-28 minutes, rotating in the middle, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
  11. For the frosting: combine sugar, evaporated milk, egg yolks, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook, whisking continuously, until mixture is thick and golden.
  12. Remove mixture from heat and fold in pecans, coconut and vanilla extract.
  13. Let cool until you can spread it thickly on the cake. Frost cake (leave sides bare), stack in layers and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
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