Today we’re making one of my all-time favorite cakes, German chocolate cake, named after Samuel German, not the country. It is the most tender, amazing delicate chocolate cake, it just melts in your mouth, but it’s sandwiched between these insanely delicious layers of caramel-toasted pecan coconut frosting that is just beyond the beyond. Let’s get started.
For the Cake:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 270 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (optional)
- 4 ounces Baker’s German sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup hot coffee
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
For the Frosting:
- 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
First off, we’re gonna prep our pans. This is a very tender, delicate, delicious cake, but it can fall apart when it’s plopping out especially since it’s a big eight-inch pan. You are gonna wanna use a round of parchment paper and just make your own. Put that pan down, trace around, fold your paper in half, and you’re gonna cut just inside of your line. One you don’t want a pencil that you’re eating, and two it’s gonna fit comfortably inside the pan with no wrinkling.
German Chocolate Cake Recipe
You can use butter and flour or today you can take a shortcut and use baking spray. spray the inside of the pan, especially the sides, put that parchment paper on there, press down, and a little bit more spray. Just repeat that process until you’re all done. If you’re buttering and flouring your pans, just flour the sides well, a little bit of butter to hold parchment paper down, and then some more butter on top.
First off, we’re gonna get that dry ingredient combo into our large bowl. For the dry ingredients I’m starting with 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour and that is about 270 grams if you’re measuring up. 1/2 teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, in you go, and I’m adding in one tablespoon of cocoa powder. This is optional, I like a little bit more chocolate in my cake but a German chocolate cake is very light chocolate almost like a red velvet cake, very light chocolate from that sweet Baker’s German chocolate.
All right, one tablespoon, Sift it up. Now whisk it up. Once everything is combined, set it aside and it’s on to the chocolate. Nearly all the chocolate flavor from this cake comes from German’s sweet chocolate. Not sponsored but a German chocolate cake is just a chocolate cake made I think in the 1800s to promote this type of chocolate from Baker’s Chocolate Company made by Samuel German. So that’s why it’s called a German chocolate cake.
Four ounces, we’re gonna chop it up finely because I’m gonna melt it with some nice hot coffee, half a cup. This chocolate is delicious. It’s like sweet dark chocolate. once your chocolate is all chopped up, plop it into like a medium bowl carefully, this is a little awkward. And now 1/2 cup of hot coffee. The goal is to not have to use a double boiler or the microwave and then pour that on top, clean the counter up, and set it aside.
Chocolate Melting For Chocolate Cake
After it’s sat for maybe 30 seconds or so we can whisk it up. This chocolate has a little bit of a coconut flavor, I don’t know if it’s just me conditioned to expect that frosting but it’s really interesting, it’s a nice flavor. A couple of lumps are left over, they’re gonna melt and if they don’t, I could pop this in the microwave for 30 seconds and then it’ll fix everything. But for now, we can set this aside and get on to the other parts of the batter.
I’m adding 1 1/4 cups of unsalted room temperature butter into my stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. We’re gonna cream it up and then add our sugar in so let’s get it nice and creamy first. So I have two cups of sugar here but I’m reserving one 1/4 of a cup for later. So, separate that and, let’s drizzle the sugar in until we have a nice fluffy mixture. Let’s scrape it down and then move on to the next step.
So what I’m gonna do is separate my eggs on the fly. This will be for the whites. The yolks will go straight in there one at a time while the mixer is running and we’re gonna do it gracefully and nothing wrong is gonna happen here, There will be no yolks, and my whites, I’m gonna add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla in right now, it’s about 1/2 a tablespoon. Scrape that bowl down, this looks delicious to me.
Just checking back with my chocolate ganache mixture it’s a very thin ganache, looks like everything melted together. I’m gonna pour this in while the mixer is running and scrape the top down since that was crazy. Now let’s give it one more mix just to make sure everything’s all together and then we’ll start adding our dry mixture in as well.
Mixing Dry and Wet Ingredients
All right, so this is one of those situations where you’re gonna add in a little bit of the dry a little bit of the wet, a little bit of the dry, a little bit of the wet, rest of the dry and you’re done. So, mix it back and forth, roughly in thirds I guess, thirds and halves on low. One cup of buttermilk by the way. A little bit more flour, and the rest of the buttermilk, last bit of flour. Use your spatula, There’s gonna be some flour up on top, maybe some unmixed parts on the bottom.
Into a clean bowl with a clean whisk, we’re gonna add those egg whites now, in you go. Whisk it up slowly then increase the speed as they get frothy and as those eggs froth up, we can drizzle our quarter cup of reserved sugar in. And we’re gonna take this to the soft peak stage. Now it’s time to take some of this beautiful fluffy egg white mixture, I’m gonna take maybe a cup of it, and just mix it in really fast to lighten this batter a bit and then we’re gonna fold the rest in.
Folding Egg Whites
Now, take all those egg whites out. And it’s time to fold. When we fold, go down, through the bottom, and then cut into the middle. So down, into the middle, down, cut into the middle. You can move the bowl around a bit, but the idea is you’re not crushing all those little egg-white bubbles. Many of them are getting crushed, but, you know, like those baby sea turtles, some of them are gonna make it.
I am fully satisfied with the consistency of this batter and now it is gonna be time to divide it evenly. I will be using a scale though because it’s hard to tell with this batter, it’s not liquidy so to be a mound, you have to shake it around, so. So It’s about 500 and change per pan. I’m going to just kind of tap it around a bit just so it spreads out a little bit before I put it into the oven. I’m adding some baking strips to get a nice flat cake layer.
Baking the Cake
Bake to perfection by putting it in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. You might wanna try moving the pans around if your oven has a hot spot, but try and let them sit in the oven without disturbing them because this is like a souffle-like consistency this tastes like chocolate mousse raw, so good, right into the oven.
Let’s make this happen. Into like a medium saucepan, I’m adding 1 1/4 cups of packed light brown sugar. I have a quarter teaspoon of salt, you could be a little generous if you want to add a bit more. 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature. Why unsalted butter? Because different butter makers have different amounts of salt in their salted butter so we wanna control the salt.
Best Chocolate Cake Recipe
One can of evaporated milk and that is 12 fluid ounces or 354 milliliters. The last thing is three egg yolks. So, reserve those whites, and use them for something later. You can make a healthy egg white omelet which is disgusting to atone for your sins after eating all this chocolate cake. I’m gonna mix this up a bit, I’m gonna use a French whisk for this. French whisks are narrower and not as bulbous as regular balloon whisks.
That’s nice because it can get the corners of your pot and nothing’s gonna get burnt in there, everything will be whipped up. Mix it up a little bit then put it on heat and don’t forget that splash of vanilla. It’s one teaspoon, onto the heat. I have set this clumpy, lumpy mixture over medium heat. Go ahead and just start stirring it that butter will melt up.
There we go. It’s melting up, just stir it continuously. In about five minutes you’re gonna have a very thick mixture coming to a boil. Give those pecans a rough chop, they don’t need to be fine, you can have big pieces. It’s all about that texture. All right, I think we’re done so I’m gonna take it off the heat and add this other ingredient in. Transfer this into a bowl so it cools down a bit faster, this copper pot is very hot.
Finalizing the Frosting
Right now I’m gonna add my toasted pecans in there and last but not least this sweetened shredded coconut, now just mix it up to combine everything and try not to snack too much, it’s still pretty hot. This stuff. Set this aside until it is cool enough to spread onto your cooled german chocolate cake layers that are still in the oven, and you’ll have a delicious amazing treat.
This chocolate cake is so tender but there’s a trade-off, it’s delicate. And as that cake cools down, all those air bubbles will shrink a little bit as the air condenses, less kinetic energy, things you don’t care about, and you know it’s gonna collapse a little bit but it is still the most amazing chocolate cake. Gently invert it onto a wire cooling rack. And then just take the parchment off immediately because it’s changing the rate at which the bottom shrinks down. Let these cool completely before you assemble, trust me the wait will be worth it.
Assemble German Chocolate Cake
This chocolate cake is gonna be so fun to assemble. All I have to do is get an ice cream scooper and scoop on a thick layer of that insane frosting. Scoop it on or just plop it on with a spoon if you don’t have an ice cream scooper and then give it a quick smooth, don’t be too careful about it though. Add on the next layer, repeat the process, and then add a final giant as thick as possible layer of frosting on top.
You can give it a nice, gentle smooth, don’t try and make it look too perfect because this is a rustic-looking delicious chocolate cake. So just smooth it out a little bit and then it’s ready to eat. You can store this at room temperature if it’s covered under a cake dome overnight or refrigerate it, bring it back to room temperature, and eat the entire thing.
German Chocolate Cake Recipe
I am so ready for this piece. I love this chocolate cake. Just let me get this over with, you have to make this recipe. If you’re wondering, well, what kind of cake should I make today? The answer is a German chocolate cake and this is worth all the time. It’s also like the only chocolate cake recipe where it’s a layer cake and I’m not gonna decorate it. Just slather that icing on, don’t try and make it look all fancy, it is what it is and it’s delicious.