Tuesday, March 14, 2017

German Chocolate Cake



The best recipe for a scratch-made German chocolate cake that you'll ever make! The boxed stuff can't even compare - this version is rich, moist, and incredibly decadent.

Six months ago, my dad came to visit us and I wanted to surprise him with his favorite dessert. I am not a baker but I really wanted to attempt a scratch-made version. So, I went in search of a German Chocolate Cake I thought I could handle. Handle is probably an overstatement; like I said, I am not a baker. However, I worked on this cake over the span of 2 days and while there may have been tears shed, I was so darn proud of how it turned out.

Thankfully it not only looked pretty, it tasted fantastic. I'm not even a huge German Chocolate Cake fan and this was one of the best cakes I've ever tasted. It's incredibly rich, super moist thanks to the run syrup, and so decadent.

To say he loved it would be the understatement of the century! He was only here for 4 days but did his best to finish it off (it's a BIG cake!). I took one for the team and helped him out :)

Don't look too closely at my frosting technique - I don't own an icing spatula and ended up using a butcher knife! Not as pretty but still tasty :)


German Chocolate Cake
For the cake:
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups sweetened coconut, toasted

For the syrup:
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum

For the icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine both chocolates and the water in a microwave safe mixing bowl and microwave, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Use very short bursts so you don't burn the chocolate. Set aside and let come to room temp.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on high until they form soft droopy peaks. Slowly add in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed to fully incorporate.

In another large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until combined. Use a rubber spatula and gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites; once combined, add the remaining egg whites until just combined.

Divide the batter into the 2 prepared pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes cool, make the rum syrup:
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Set aside.

Next, make the filling:
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, and egg yolks. Place the butter, pecans, and coconut in a large mixing bowl and set aside. 

Heat the cream mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly (and scraping the bottom) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon. An instant read thermometer should read 170 degrees.  

Immediately pour the hot custard over the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools; however, if your coconut was not packed tight, you may need to stir in additional coconut to help thicken it up even more.

To make the icing:
Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Transfer to the fridge until firm enough to decorate. I made my icing the night before and it was firm enough the next day. 
To assemble the cake: 
Cut the two cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife. Set the first cake layer on a cake plate, cut side up. Liberally brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat, using the syrup to liberally brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.
Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

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