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German Chocolate Cake

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

I have made this German chocolate cake recipe at least 4 times and I have managed to do something a little wrong every time. Yet every time, the cake is delicious. Just so you know, this recipe can withstand:

  • forgetting half of the chocolate in the cake batter

  • doubling the butter in the filling

  • having much of the cake stuck in the pan and being glued together with frosting, and

  • forgetting to whisk the egg whites.

I made this for my Dad's birthday and it was a hit! The recipe below is this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, with a few tweaks. I decided to use cream cheese frosting instead of ganache because it was very hot when I made this! As you can see by the pictures at the end, the frosting still sort of melted down the cake.

Cake Ingredients

for two 8 or 9 inch round pans

  • 4 oz of unsweetened chocolate

  • 6 tablespoons water

  • 1 cup salted butter

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (1 1/4 + 1/4 cup separated)

  • 4 eggs, separated

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 cup milk + 1 tsp of vinegar (left to sit for around 5 minutes)

  • 2 tsp vanilla

Filling Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks

  • 1 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 7 tbsp salted butter

  • 1/2 cup pecans (finely chopped, toasted)

  • 1/2 cup almonds (Sliced or slivers, toasted)

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (toasted)

  • a little extra of the nuts and coconut for decoration after

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

This will be more than you need, but it's just so delicious

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Cake Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.

  2. Put the chocolate and water together in a bowl and melt in the microwave. (Use 30 minute intervals until almost melted and then stir until smooth.) Set the chocolate aside to cool.

  3. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy (around 6 minutes on medium). Beat in the melted chocolate, add the egg yolks one at a time, then add the vanilla.

  4. Turn the mixer to low and add in the baking powder and baking soda. Beat in half of the flour, then add the milk and vinegar mixture. Mix in the rest of the flour until just combined.

  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on medium high until they hold soft peaks. (5-8 mins depending on how hot it is.) Add in the rest of the sugar slowly and beat for another minute.

  6. Fold the egg whites into the batter slowly, about a third at a time until just combined.

  7. Divide between the cake pans and bake for 45 minutes - until a knife comes out of the center clean. Cool the cakes completely while they're still in the pan. (I promise that it's a mistake to take them out before they're room temperature.)

You can make the filling and frosting while the cakes are cooling to distract yourself from how much you want to eat the cake!

Filling Directions

  1. Put the butter (in pieces!), salt, pecans, almonds, and coconut together in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Mix the heavy cream, sugar, and egg yolks together in a small pot. Turn the stove on medium-low and stir constantly. Do this for at least 2 minutes after bubbles start to show up. It should coat the back of a spoon at this point.

  3. Pour immediately into the bowl with the butter, coconut, etc. and mix until the butter is melted. Cool to room temperature.

Frosting Directions

  1. Use a hand mixer on medium to beat the cream cheese and butter for at least 2 minutes.

  2. Add the vanilla and salt. Beat until combined.

  3. Add the powdered sugar. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy. (Around 4 minutes).

Assembling the cake

You have a lot of options here. Sort of like legos, you can assemble it in any way that makes sense to you. (If you make a ganache, you've got even more options!

This time, I put filling between the layers, a little in the middle on top, and then totally covered the rest of the cake in cream cheese frosting. Then I used the extra coconut, almonds, and pecans to decorate. Another favorite is to use the frosting for the middle, then cover the rest of the cake with the filling!

Notes on this cake:

  • You can refrigerate the filling and frosting for a few days and just let them come to room temperature when you're ready to put the cake together. (This means you can just go to bed instead of waiting up for the cakes to cool!)

  • I used evaporated milk in the filling because I always have it. The original recipe calls for heavy cream.

  • I made this in some real Bahamian heat, so I had a lot of trouble getting the egg whites to whip the way I wanted them to, so it wasn't as light as usual. Literally no one complained though. Also, the heat meant that the frosting was trying to melt off of the cake as I put it on :(

  • I used unsweetened chocolate because everything else is so sweet! Using semi sweetened or German chocolate would totally be fine, as well.

My Dad and I were both very happy about the cake!

As a throwback, this is a time I made the cake in much cooler weather with ganache:


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