I made this cake for my 24th birthday last week. I don't think anyone in my family was surprised that I made my own birthday cake since it's pretty obvious how much I enjoy baking things. I chose this german chocolate cake recipe from Baked Explorations since I've had about half the recipes from the book dogeared for some time now. The chocolate cake layers came out absolutely perfect, almost like they came from a box mix (and I love the texture of box mix cake), only better. The sweet, sticky, caramely frosting was full of pecans and coconut, how can you go wrong with that? My only gripe was with how soupy the frosting ended up. The recipe instructed to bring the frosting to a boil and remove it from the heat, but my gut told me to boil it until it thickened. I should've listened to my instincts on that one! The overall cake also lacked a little moisture for me, so next time I would definitely add a milk chocolate frosting. Overall, though, I really can't complain about my first german chocolate cake!
German Chocolate Cake
Yield: one 9-inch triple-layer cake
For the chocolate cake layers:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, at room temp
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
For the icing:
1 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into 1" pieces
1 cup evaporated milk
3 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
To make the chocolate cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 3 8" round cake pans: butter the bottom and sides, line the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the parchment, and dust the inside with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a 2-cup measuring cup combine the coffee and buttermilk, stirring to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat on low speed until combined, then crank the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed begin adding the eggs one at a time, beating until each is completely incorporated before adding the next, and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between additions. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
With the mixer off, add in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Turn the mixer to low speed and beat until the flour is just barely incorporated. Turn the mixer off, add 1/2 of the coffee mixture, and beat on low speed until barely incorporated. Continue this process, adding in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, remaining half of the coffee mixture, and finally the last 1/3 of flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and make sure everything is combined, do not overmix.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the melted chocolate with a rubber spatula until combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 caked pans and give each pan a rap on the counter to settle and even out the batter. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool in the pans set on a rack for 20 minutes before removing from the pans, peeling off the parchment, and cooling for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the icing: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread half of the coconut on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown. Watch the coconut carefully, it doesn't take a long time to toast.
Add the sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and egg yolks to a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture begins to thicken considerably remove it from the heat and stir in the coconut and pecans. Set over an ice bath and stir until cooled completely.
To assemble the cake: Layer 1/3 of the icing in between each layer of cake. Pipe chocolate frosting around the edges if desired, but it definitely doesn't need it.