Monday, April 13, 2009

German Chocolate Cake

The two most often favorite cakes I hear about are German Chocolate Cakes, and Red Velvet Cakes. I don't often hear people say, "Oh, I love a good French Vanilla Chiffon Cake soaked with a raspberry syrup with mango curd and coconut cream cheese icing." First of all, I don't know even know if that would taste good. And second of all, everyday home bakers don't bake like that. So when it comes to favorite cakes, they tend to be something that can easily be made with a box cake and a can of icing. Just follow the directions and voila! A fancy, favorite cake.

I don't want you to believe that I am complaining because I love German Chocolate Cake. It's nice and light with a moist crumb. The icing is not too sweet and the coconut and pecans add a wonderful texture. It's really just a delicious invention. But it's still not my favorite.

However, once again, I'm not making a cake for myself, this is for my brother-in-law who's favorite cake is German Chocolate. And who also brought his family for a short, last minute trip to visit us this past weekend. We decided that Saturday would be a family day of fun and the night would be a wild party in honor of his upcoming birthday.

Family day of Fun: Included a picnic at the park and then a stroll through the Harry P. Leu Gardens. I've lived in Orlando practically my whole life and the only time I've been to the Leu Gardens was when I was a little girl. And I don't remember a thing about it, so I'm glad I went.

It was the perfect day for walking around and looking at flowers. It was overcast, but not rainy. Cool, but still warm. Breezy, but not too much. The Gardens even featured an old house which we took a tour of. It was awesome. However, I love that which is old, so my opinion is biased.

Wild Party at Night: The hardest Easter Egg Hunt. Ever. (okay, not really) Dying Easter Eggs. Then, cake and ice cream. To answer your question, yes - there were some serious sugar highs in my house.

But I digress, isn't this blog supposed to be about cakes? And isn't this post supposed to be about German Chocolate Cake? And more importantly - Isn't this the part where you tell us how to make one? Yes, Virginia. It is possible to make a delicious German Chocolate Cake at home in your own kitchen. Chances are you've done it (with a box mix and a can of icing). Well, I say keep the box mix but nix the can of icing. Behold, I give you German Chocolate Cake icing....from scratch (you'll never go back to the canned stuff).

German Chocolate Cake Icing
recipe from my mother

Note: I used 7-inch cake pans because I wanted nice thick cake layers (otherwise I would've used 8- or 9-inch pans). I baked the cake 2 days in advance, wrapped, and stored in the fridge until I had to time to ice it.

1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1 heaping cup brown sugar (packed really well)
3 egg yolks (save the whites!)
1/2 cups (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (feel free to add a bit more if you like. I did.)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut, toasted

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chopped pecans and coconut together on a cookie sheet. When oven is preheated, toast and watch carefully. My advice is to make sure this step is completely finished before moving forward. Pecans can burn pretty easily (so check this every 5 minutes). Toasting took me about 15 minutes with two stirrings.

2) In a large saucepan, combine milk, sugar, egg yolks, and butter. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until thick. This will take 20-25 minutes. (Toward the end, I got impatient and turned the heat up to medium and just kept whisking to keep anything from burning on the sides).

3) Remove from heat. Stir in pecans and coconut.

4) Cool to room temperature, then move to fridge for the icing to set up before icing the cake. This is a runny icing coming right off of the stove, it spreads fairly easily coming right out of the fridge, so I would say there's no reason to let it come to room temperature.

Word of warning: This makes JUST ENOUGH to fill and ice an 8-inch cake. I watched my mother do it once and doubted if she had enough. So just ration out accordingly when icing your cake.

1 comment:

  1. "French Vanilla Chiffon Cake soaked with a raspberry syrup with mango curd and coconut cream cheese icing..."

    Don't get me wrong, that sounds good too (although I'm not sure how the mango and raspberry would go together), but I don't think I can love another cake as much I love the simple ecstasy associated with, not just any German Chocolate cake, but definitely this one!