Tag Archives: chocolate

Almond Bliss German Chocolate Cake

29 Aug

I’ve always been hesitant to make a German Chocolate Cake because they’re not really my favorite flavor combo for cake and, quite frankly, I don’t think they look very pretty.  This being an assignment for Project Pastry Queen, I plowed ahead, hoping against hope that I would be able to create a cake worthy of posting…and well…here I am, so it all worked out for the best!

Let me start out by saying something Big and Important: this is my new go-to chocolate cake recipe.  I can take or leave the coconut custard icing that makes it an official German Chocolate Cake because it’s just not my favorite type of icing for a cake.  This is no Devil’s Food Cake, but it’s the perfect every day chocolate cake–soft, moist, and full of strong chocolate flavor.  I can’t wait for the next time I need chocolate cupcakes or a cake for a party, because I know I won’t have to scour over recipes and hope that the recipe I choose turns out okay.  If you do like coconut, this is a slightly different filling recipe as it utilizes cream of coconut for an extra punch of flavor and almonds instead of pecans.  I did like it in the end and, while not my favorite, it’s certainly a great recipe to have in your box if you love German Chocolate Cake!

In an interesting tidbit for the morning, Rebecca shared that German Chocolate Cake isn’t actually from the country of Germany, but from Texas and named for the brand name “German” chocolate.  Who knew!

Notes: Again, I left out the chocolate chips.  1 3/4 cups stirred in at the end if you want them.  Rebecca also uses almonds in place of the typical pecans, but I’m sure you can substitute pecans back in if you would prefer.  You’ll need three 9″ cake pans, which was a surprise since I only had 2 pans.  Also, make sure you have plenty of eggs on hand–you’ll need a total of 9!

Almond Bliss German Chocolate Cake
Recipe from The Pastry Queen


Cake

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Custard Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened cream of coconut (I found a bottle in the alcohol section next to the rum, since it’s used in pina coladas)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  1. Place one baking rack 1/3 from the bottom of the oven and the second 2/3 from the bottom.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of three 9: cake pans with parchment paper rounds, grease with butter and dust with flour.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate into a small bowl and pour the boiling water over the chocolate.  Stir until it is melted completely into a smooth sauce.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium for 2 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and beat for another minute.
  4. In a bowl, add the buttermilk and baking soda, stirring until it dissolves.  The buttermilk will gently foam up and double in volume, so be sure your bowl is big enough.
  5. Add half the buttermilk mixture to the butter-sugar-egg yolk mixture, beat on low until incorporated, then add half of the flour, beat, then the rest of the buttermilk and the rest of the flour, beating after each addition.
  6. Using a spatula, stir in the salt, vanilla, and melted chocolate.  (Stir in chocolate chips, if using.)
  7. In a clean medium bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed, until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate batter.
  8. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.
  9. Staggering the cake pans in the oven, put two on the top rack with lots of space in between, and the third on the bottom rack in the middle.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Keep an eye on them, as they could rise strangely (mine were most definitely lopsided) or the pans could finish baking at different times.
  10. After coming out of the oven, transfer pan to wire racks and after 5 minutes, take the cakes out of the pans and put them upside down directly on the wire racks (that should help them to even out if they rose unevenly).
  11. While the oven is still hot, spread the almonds evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast the almonds for 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown.
  12. Heat the milk, cream of coconut and butter in a saucepan over medium heat utnil the butter has completely melted.
  13. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until smooth.  Pour 1 tablespoon of the hot milk mixture into the whisked egg yolk mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.  Repeat two more times (we’re warming the egg yolks up, “tempering them”, so that when we add them to the milk they don’t immediately curdle up into scrambled eggs).
  14. Slowly pour the tempered yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture, which still is over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Whisk constantly for 7-10 minutes until the mixture thickens and looks spreadable.  This happened at exactly the 7 minute mark for me, but I kept going for a few more minutes just in case.  I would rather have slightly over done frosting than frosting that just dribbled down the sides of the cake!
  15. Stir the shredded coconut and the toasted almonds into the custard mixture.  Let the icing cool for at least 15 minutes.
  16. If your cake layers aren’t exactly even, as mine weren’t, you can take a serrated knife and cut the tops off so that they lay flat when stacked.  Bonus:  the tops you cut off are all yours to eat!
  17. Put one layer of cake on the plate, spread icing on top, and repeat with the other layers–I put the top layer on upside down so that the perfectly flat side was facing up.  It was a prettier surface for laying down icing on.  Do not frost the sides of the cake, and you’ll have a surprisingly beautiful specimen of a German Chocolate Cake!  I think leaving the sides clean goes a long way towards avoiding the sticky gloppy mess you usually see of German Chocolate Cakes.
  18. Rebecca suggests you wrap the cake well if you don’t plan to eat it within 3 hours.  I say, see how long it lasts!

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

18 Jul

I know you guys love my true confessions and, well, I have two of them for you tonight:

True Confession #1: Clearly I’ve been on a bit of an unhealthy streak lately, what with the pound cake and now this.  I’ve had a craving for chocolate cake recently (and I’m not even a big chocolate lover so a chocolate craving for me is a serious situation) but have no fear, I’m back to normal after this cake.  We’ll have a good variety of healthier stuff coming up here.

True Confession #2: I royally screwed up the frosting recipe.  Let this be a lesson to you all: don’t rush through your cooking!  It should be a relaxed time for you to enjoy making some good nourishment (or a nice treat) for your body, not a rushed experience.  This cake was certainly one of those where you dirty a ton of bowls and go through more steps than you realized you might need to take, including 2 different trips to the grocery store on my part– MID-BAKING no less.  Me, the genius, started baking a layer cake before I realized that I don’t even own cake pans. Cupcake tins (mini AND regular), a loaf pan, an angel food tube pan, baking sheets…but no cake pans.  Then, during my candy blitz last month, I used up all of my corn syrup and forgot to replace the bottle.  Then, after the cake was baked, frosted and all was said and done, I open up the fridge and what do I see there?  The cup of heavy cream I had carefully measured out and put back in the fridge because the recipe specified it should be chilled.  I completely skipped over the recipe instruction to add it to the frosting! Even though my roommate and her boyfriend both said how much they loved the frosting before I discovered my mistake, I’ve included the proper recipe below so you can pull if off correctly.  Unfortunately, I’m not making a second cake just to get the frosting right.  See True Confession #1 as to why.

Ingredient Note: Per Cook’s Illustrated‘s suggestion, I always use Ghiradelli semi-sweet/bittersweet/unsweetened chocolate bars for my baking.  I never have a problem finding them at my grocery store.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake
Source Cook’s Illustrated March 2006

Cake

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), very soft
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pans
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks

Frosting

  • 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream (cold)

Instructions for Cake:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-round by 2-inch-high cake pans with butter or non-stick baking spray; dust pans with flour and knock out excess.  Set a large pot with 1″ water in it to a simmer.
  2. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in medium heatproof bowl; set bowl over the simmering water, resting on top of the pot.  Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes–mixture will be dry and a bit grainy (you’re going to wonder how it will ever make a delicious cake and then, like magic…).  Add 1/2 cup sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed until combined, about 10 seconds.  Add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition.
  5. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture.  Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.  Divide batter between two 9″ cake pans and tap pans lightly on counter top to release any air bubbles hiding in the batter.
  6. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. By cooling them upside down on the racks, they will flatten out a bit so you’ll have an even cake.  Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, 45 to 60 minutes.

Instructions for Frosting:

Note: Most of us have a limited number of mixing bowls and heat-proof mixing bowls at our disposal (I was certainly rushing around transferring ingredients and washing bowls at the last second because I realized I needed one for a task but it was full of, say, sugar or something), so follow the instructions when it says what size bowl to use–I’m just trying to save you some stress and dishpan hands later.

  1. Using the same technique to melt chocolate, heat another 1″ of water to simmering in pot from the beginning of the cake recipe.
  2. Melt chocolate in medium metal bowl set over pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, heat butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Increase heat to medium; add sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and salt and stir with heatproof rubber spatula until sugar is dissolved, 4 to 5 minutes. Add butter mixture and cream (this is where I forgot about it) to the chocolate already in the medium metal bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.
  3. In large metal bowl, add a tray or two of ice to water to create an ice bath for the frosting.
  4. Place medium bowl of frosting mixture into the ice bath and stir mixture constantly with rubber spatula until frosting is thick and–this is the annoying part–until frosting is 70 degrees.  5 degrees too cold and it won’t be creamy.  5 degrees too warm and it won’t set when you whip it in a moment.
  5. Once frosting reaches 70 degrees, beat on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir with rubber spatula until completely smooth.
  6. To frost the cake, prepare your cake stand or cake plate first: tear off 4 pieces of wax paper or tin foil about 4 inches long and arrange them in a square around your plate.  Place the first cake on the plate, making sure the area in the middle of the plate where the wax paper or tin foil meet are completely covered by the cake.  Frost the top of this first layer, then place the second layer on top of the first and frost the top and sides of the layer cake.  To make the cute swirly pattern, I took the back of a spoon and, with a light and quick touch, made swirly patterns, one swoop at a time with the spoon.
%d bloggers like this: