German Chocolate Cake

January 31, 2012

Makes one 10-inch, three layer cake

My boys’ January birthdays are one day apart. So our tradition is to make one really huge, decadent cake that will make both of them happy. The Southern Comfort Sour Cream Chocolate Cake was “it” for a number of years, but we made the change a few years ago to this most ridiculous, delecticious, part cake, part candy, three layer monstrosity of a cake ever. Oh, yes. It’s Donald Link’s German Chocolate cake from his James Beard award winning Real Cajun (2009).

It’s full of sugar, butter, evaporated milk, eggs, cocoa, buttermilk and coffee, all the good things I look for in a special occasion cake. You will be alarmed by the amount of liquid in the batter, but it does bake up solid, despite your doubts. This is one moist cake. And the icing…don’t get me started. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to get all of it on the cake. Chock full of coconut and pecans there’s always a little (or a lot) left over to be slathered on ice cream or as a topping for brownies. There’s no end to its usefulness.

Make this cake for your next special event. It probably serves 15 if you cut the slices thin and they’ll still be sizeable enough for even the biggest cake lovers in your group. So round up those three, count’em, three 10-inch cake pans and don’t forget to line them with parchment if you want your cake to come out in one piece. This time I ran out of parchment and had to just grease and flour the pans. The cakes stuck a little, but all the sticky icing glued it back together just fine. You didn’t even know that did you boys?

Coconut Pecan Filling

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
3 cups evaporated milk
12 egg yolks, beaten
3 cups flaked sweetened coconut
3 cups chopped pecans
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, butter, evaporated milk and egg yolks in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes then fold in the coconut, pecans and vanilla. Set aside to cool. It will thicken on standing.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and line three 10-inch round pans with parchment, then butter and flour the parchment.

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
12 tablespoons butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)

Sift the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and coffee. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and gently tap the pans on the counter to pop any air bubbles. Bake until springy and firm to the touch, and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly dry, about 25-30 minutes.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a paring knife around the rim of the pans, invert the cakes onto a cooling rack, peel off the paper and cool completely.

Place one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand and pread the coconut filling over the top, then place the second cake layer on top. Frost the top of the second layer, then place the third layer on top of it, then cover the top and sides with the coconut filling. To serve, cut the cake with a long slicer knife, wiping if off with a warm wet towel between slices. Refrigerate any leftover icing/filling to top brownies or ice cream.


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