Monday, November 22, 2010

German Chocolate Cake

In today's cakes class, we made my all-time favorite cake: German Chocolate. This cake actually originated in the US, not in Germany as many would believe. In 1852, a man named Sam German worked at Baker's Chocolate Company - you know, Baker's of the squares of chocolate you can buy in the grocery store. Anyway, Sam German created a new formula for chocolate, and the company called it, Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate. In 1957, a woman in Texas was first to publish a recipe using this chocolate of Sam's, thus giving it the name German's Chocolate Cake. Over time, the possession was dropped, and we've been referring to it ever since as German Chocolate Cake. Interesting stuff.

My mom used to make German Chocolate Cake and I fell in love with it early in my life. It contains three of my favorite foods: chocolate, pecans, and coconut.

We made our cakes today by preparing the batter and baking the cakes in separate layers; again, we didn't have to slice the cake layers so that was a nice bonus. To make the filling, we heated evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, and butter over medium heat, until the mixture thickened. We took the mixture off the heat to add coconut, vanilla, and pecans. We placed the pot in a water bath to cool the temperate and help the mixture thicken. I didn't hesitate to sample the filling.

We made an Italian Buttercream with meringue. While similar to a Swiss Buttercream, the Italian Buttercream is made by heating sugar and water to 250 degrees F, creating a syrup. We then whipped egg whites to a stiff peak and slowly added the sugar syrup. Once the temperature cooled slightly, we added softened butter and continued to whip. Finally, salt and vanilla were added to help in the flavoring, and we whipped the whole mixture until it came together as buttercream.

To put this cake together, we placed down a cake layer, then piped buttercream around the edge. We then placed the coconut/pecan filling on the cake layer. We repeated this on the second layer. After the top layer was placed, we iced the sides with buttercream, and then covered the sides completely with toasted coconut. To finish the top, we piped a reverse shell border of buttercream, and then filled it in with the coconut/pecan filling.

Traditionally, German Chocolate Cake does not have an outer layer of icing. The cake is often left un-iced to show the layers. While I liked this cake, I would agree with the tradition that the outer icing isn't necessary. The cake is delicious as is with just the filling. And yes, I brought this one home to enjoy during the upcoming week and Thanksgiving holiday!

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