German Chocolate Cake


Cake reminds me of childhood. My grandma–the crazy one who thinks I should have a gaggle of children by now–used to make cakes on a regular basis. She made the best cakes.

from squidoo

She cooked chicken until it was so dry you’d have to swish with water to swallow it.

from kastba

Her green beans disintegrated on contact with your tongue.

from seeuseat

And her opaque Jell-o salads tasted about like you’d think they did. Like opaque Jell-o salads.

from blogal

But her cakes were delicious. As she aged she gradually stopped cooking altogether and started getting cakes from a Mennonite bakery–which were delicious–but I still think she made them best.

form abcnews

What follows is a recipe for German Chocolate Cake. Not her recipe (this one is from Billy Boy), but it’s just like a cake I remember her cooking.

First, gather the cake players:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1. pkg (4 oz) Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 c. buttermilk

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

dry ingredients

Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and mixer until fluffy.

butter and sugar

Add the egg yolks to the butter batter mixture one at a time while mixing. Once incorporated, add the vanilla.

yolk and vanilla

Now melt the chocolate. Put the chocolate bar and water into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 45 seconds. Stir, then heat it for another 45 seconds or until melty.

melty chocolate

Beat into butter batter. Here’s a shot of the chocolate before being incorporated.


Alternate adding flour mix and buttermilk, mixing the whole time.



Once it’s all mixed in, the batter should look like this:

batter so far

Now put the egg whites into a bowl and beat until fluffy. I used a whisk to beat mine because the electric mixer was covered in chocolate batter.

egg whites pre-whisking

egg whites whisked

I didn’t quite get them to meringue-level, but it worked.

Pour the whites into the batter.


final batter

Pour batter into 3 greased and floured cake pans.

in a pan

Bake in an oven preheated to 350 for about 3o minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. After baking, let cool for a few minutes before turning out onto wire cooling racks.

While the cake is baking, make the icing. This is really what sets the cake apart as German Chocolate.

Assemble the icing players:

1 can evaporated milk

3/4 c butter

7 oz angel flake coconut

1 1/2 c. sugar

4 egg yolks, beaten

2 c. pecans

Mix everything but the coconut and pecans into a medium saucepan; stir constantly and keep on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

icing stuff

IMPORTANT: keep stirring. I discovered the hard way that you can boil and egg yolk in evaporated milk in the time that it takes to check your email. I had to strain the solid yolks out and start over. Lesson: don’t check your email whilst baking.

boiled yolks

It should take about 10-12 minutes. Once the ingredients become emulsified, they should look like this:

icing emulsified

Now add the coconut


and the pecans.


It should end up looking something like this:


By now your cakes should be done. If they’re not, then the icing is perfectly okay sitting in the pot until they are done.


Don’t forget to to slide a knife around the edges of the pan to help it release.


Put the first layer of cooled cake onto whatever it is you’re going to serve it on. Because I’m not so fancy, I just put it on a dinner plate.

Now dollop some icing onto the top of the cake and spread it all around.

spreading the icing

Keep layering the cakes and icing the tops until all three layers are constructed. Then spread icing all over the outside of the cake.

The great thing about German Chocolate Cake is that it’s messy. It’s also the irritating thing about it, but the way I see it, if you’re already expecting it to be messy, you’re not going to be disappointed.

I had a little trouble getting my cakes out of the pan onto the cooling racks, so my final product was a little squatty.

corner view

aerial view

suck it, martha.

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Categories: Food & Drink


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2 Comments on “German Chocolate Cake”

  1. September 6, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    The icing looks perfect!

  2. September 6, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Thanks! As long as you keep stirring, it seems to turn out. Otherwise it’s hardboiled egg icing. Also–feedback I got said that the icing tasted better than any other German chocolate icing they’d had.

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