German Chocolate Cake

It is again time for a cake blog in BYG. I can’t tell in words my excitement and satisfaction in looking at a beautifully frosted cake sitting on my worktable. I love to try new flavor and filling variations in cakes. This time it is a German chocolate cake that has layers of sweet and moist chocolate cake with a sweet and crunchy coconut pecan filling and a rich chocolate frosting. I tasted this cake for the first time when a friend baked it and I was really impressed by the incredible combination of coconut pecan filling and the moist chocolate cake. What makes this cake unique is the coconut pecan filling that takes this chocolate cake to the next level. It doesn’t actually need a covered frosting. It looks very pretty and elegant in a naked style and can be served on a birthday or anniversary or get together.

The name German chocolate cake has its roots from the sweet chocolate blend named Baker’s sweet chocolate that was used in this cake. The bakers’s sweet chocolate was created by an American baker, Samuel German and this cake was named after him to honor his work.

My version of German chocolate cake uses a slightly updated version of Hershey’s chocolate cake with a rich and fudgy chocolate buttercream frosting and coconut pecan filling. This chocolate cake can be made very easily just with a hand whisk. I slightly toasted the pecans for an added crunch. The use of evaporated milk makes this filling very creamy and delicious.

I made this cake for a friend as a surprise birthday present to her husband. The weather was so hot and humid here, the cake was sitting on the refrigerator and I clicked these pics in a hurry before I handed over the cake. Please excuse for my cake is sweating 😦 Thanks to my dear friend for sending me this pic of a sliced piece so that I could share it here. Let me tell you, this cake is a must try and you will fall in love with this on your first bite itself:) I swear it!!!

Please read the Notes section before trying this recipe. It will help you to ensure a successful bake. Enjoy baking!!!


Ingredients:

For chocolate cake:
  1. All purpose flour 1 3/4 cups (245 gm)
  2. Sugar 2 cups (400 gm)
  3. Unsweetened cocoa powder(natural or dutch processed) 3/4 cup (75 gm)
  4. Baking powder 1½ tsp
  5. Baking soda 1½ tsp
  6. Salt 1/2 tsp
  7. Large eggs at room temperature 2
  8. Milk at room temperature 1 cup (240 ml)
  9. Coffee or water at room temperature 1 cup (240 ml) (Read Notes Section)
  10. Vegetable oil/Canola oil 1/2 cup (120 ml)
  11. Pure vanilla extract 2 tsp
For Coconut Pecan filling:
  1. Unsalted butter 5 tbsp (71 gm)
  2. Light or dark brown sugar 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (125 gm)
  3. Egg yolks large 2
  4. Evaporated milk 2/3 cup (160 ml)
  5. Pure vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
  6. Sweetened shredded coconut 1 to 1¼ cup
  7. Chopped pecans 3/4 cup
For Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
  1. Unsalted butter softened to room temperature 1 cup + 6 tbsp (310 gm)
  2. Powdered sugar, sifted 4 to 4½  cups (460 gm to 520 gm)
  3. Cocoa powder (natural unsweetened or dutch processed) 3/4 cup (75 gm)
  4. Heavy cream/Whole milk 3 to 4 tbsp
  5. Salt 1/4 tsp
  6. Pure vanilla extract 1½ tsp

Method:

For chocolate cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit/180 degree Celsius, 10 minutes before baking. Grease two, 9-inch baking pans and line with a parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand whisk on low speed whisk together all purpose flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. These form the dry ingredients for the cake.
Mixing dry ingredients
  1. In a medium sized bowl, using a hand whisk, mix together eggs, milk, coffee(or water), oil and vanilla extract. These form the wet ingredients for the cake.
Mixing wet ingredients
  1. Add the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and stir/whisk well until everything is combined well. Do not over mix. The cake batter is thin in consistency.
Mixing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients
Cake batter
  1. Divide batter equally between two prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 mins or until a toothpick inserted on the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 mins before moving it on to a greased wire rack for further cooling.
Baked cakes
For Coconut Pecan Filling:
  1. On medium heat, toast nuts for 3 to 4 minutes on a frying pan. (Toasting is an optional step)(Check Notes section to read how to toast nuts) Be careful not to burn the nuts.
Toasting pecans
  1. In a sauce pan, over medium heat, mix together butter, sugar, evaporated milk and egg yolks. Stir in between to avoid scrambling of egg yolk.
Heating butter, sugar, evaporated milk and egg yolks
  1. When the mixture comes to a low boil, stir constantly for 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture thickens. Do not let it boil by constantly stirring the mixture.
Stirring on medium heat until mixture thickens
  1. Switch off the flame. Add vanilla extract, sweetened shredded coconut flakes and toasted pecans and combine well. Let the filling cool to room temperature before it is used on the cake. The mixture will thicken as it cools.
Mixing vanilla extract, shredded coconuts and toasted pecans
For Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
  1. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer/stand mixer, beat butter on high speed until it is light, fluffy and creamy in color. This takes about 4 to 5 minutes.
Beating butter
Butter beaten to creamy, light and fluffy
  1. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix well starting on low speed and gradually increase the speed to medium-high until well combined scraping down the sides in between. Repeat this step until all of the powdered sugar is added.
Adding powdered sugar in steps and beating well
  1. Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt and heavy cream /milk(add heavy cream/milk in steps of 1 tbsp at a time) and beat well on low speed until it is mixed. Now increase the speed to high and beat for few minutes until the buttercream is soft and fluffy. Add more heavy cream/milk if needed until it reaches the desired spreading consistency.
Mixing cocoa powder,salt,vanilla extract and heavy cream
Chocolate buttercream

Notes:

  1. I toasted pecans for a crunchy bite which is optional. But I recommend it.
  2. You can toast nuts on stovetop by heating a frying pan on medium heat and pouring a single layer of nuts and constantly stirring it to avoid burning. This takes around 3 to 4 minutes. Another option is to toast it on an oven. Preheat oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit/180 degree Celsius and toast nuts by spreading nuts on a cookie sheet and bake for about 7 to 8 minutes until they turn a little darker in shade and aroma of toasted nuts fills all around.
  3. Adding coffee in chocolate cake batter enhances the chocolate flavor in the cake.
  4. I used water in chocolate cake batter at room temperature. You can use boiling water/hot coffee instead if you prefer a more moist cake.
  5. Do not use coffee/ water which is cold in chocolate batter as it makes it difficult to mix the cocoa powder.
  6. While preparing coconut pecan filling, constantly whisk the mixture on the stove top to avoid scrambling of eggs.
  7. I used the Nestle CARNATION brand evaporated milk.
  8. You can make the coconut pecan frosting in advance and can refrigerate it.
  9. Always sift powdered sugar to make sure it I s lump free which is very important to get a smooth buttercream.
  10. The chocolate frosting can also be refrigerated. Thaw it to room temperature, beat it until well mixed and use it for frosting the cake.
  11. Always decorate cake only when the cake layers are cooled completely. You can make the cake layers one day in advance and decorate it the next day.
  12. You can make a 3-layer cake with the same recipe by using three, 8 inch cake pans. The baking time will be less. Do the toothpick test to check the doneness of cake.
  13. While making chocolate buttercream, add one or two tbsp of powdered sugar if the frosting is runny. If the frosting is thick, add a tbsp of heavy cream/whole milk.