Sunday, August 10, 2008
German Chocolate Cake
At work when some one has a birthday I make a cake for them. For Linda's birthday she requested a German Chocolate Cake. I took this as a challenge for 2 reasons. First, I've never made it before. Second, I have this huge fear of making really ugly baked goods and it just seems like ALL German Chocolate cakes are ugly. But that was what she requested so off I went. First I had to find a recipe. I picked a recipe that had the prettiest picture (haha) and then set about making the cake. It turned out really well. Everyone loved it. I even got a few "best cake ever" comment. I still think the cake could have been prettier but it was a hit.
Of course, after all of my talk about a "pretty cake" my picture is awful, so please ignore it. It was almost 11 pm when I finished and my natural lighting was shot.
German Chocolate Cake
(source: Cooking at Home with America's Test Kitchen 2006, as seen on Leite's Culinaria)
For the filling
4 large egg yolks
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted
For the cake
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa, sifted
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting the pans
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
Make the filling
1. Whisk the yolks in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in the evaporated milk. Add the sugars, butter, and salt and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is boiling, frothy, and slightly thickened, about 6 minutes.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, whisk in the vanilla, then stir in the coconut. Cool until just warm, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool or cold, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. (The pecans are stirred in just before cake assembly.)
Make the cake
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Combine the chocolate and cocoa in a small bowl; pour the boiling water over and let stand to melt the chocolate, about 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth; set aside until cooled to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, spray two 9-inch-round by 2-inch-high straight-sided cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds. Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and knock out the excess. Sift the flour and baking soda into a medium bowl or onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter, sugars, and salt at medium-low speed until the sugar is moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula halfway through. With the mixer running at medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl halfway through. Beat in the vanilla; increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With the mixer running at low speed, add the chocolate, then increase the speed to medium and beat until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl once (the batter may appear broken). With the mixer running at low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream (in 2 additions), beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating in each addition until barely combined. After the final flour addition, beat on low until just combined, then stir the batter by hand with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, to ensure that the batter is homogenous (the batter will be thick). Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans; spread the batter to the edges of the pans with the rubber spatula and smooth the surfaces.
4. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pans 10 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a greased wire rack; peel off and discard the paper rounds. Cool the cakes to room temperature before filling, about 1 hour. (The cooled cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.)
1. Stir the toasted pecans into the chilled filling. Set one cake on a serving platter or cardboard round cut slightly smaller than the cake, and the second cake on a work surface (or leave it on the wire rack). With a serrated knife held so that the blade is parallel with the work surface, use a sawing motion to cut each cake into two even layers. Starting with the first cake, carefully lift off the top layer and set aside.
2. Using an icing spatula, distribute about 1 cup filling evenly on the cake, spreading the filling to the very edge of the cake and leveling the surface. Carefully place the upper cake layer on top of the filling; repeat using the remaining filling and cake layers. If necessary, dust the crumbs off the platter; serve.
Note: The cake may be refrigerated, covered loosely with foil, up to 4 hours (if refrigerated longer than 2 hours, let the cake stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before serving).