German Chocolate Layer Cake

  • Serves: Makes two 9- x 2 -inch cakes
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 12082
  • Comments: 6

Cake and photo by Bob Ohio, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips

I have always loved this Chez Panisse recipe, which I have adapted, because it uses all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. I find it has a better depth of flavor and a better crumb, as a result. Plus, it is sturdier and more foolproof than the original German Chocolate Cake. I love to pair it with the original German Chocolate Cake Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting, recipe included, because it has the best flavor - and memories!

German Chocolate is a brand name for a chocolate that is sweeter than semisweet. Developed by the Baker's Chocolate Company by a man named German. It is dark and sweeter than semisweet. It is good for icings and cakes. It usually comes in a bar resembling a chocolate bar. If you can't find German chocolate, you should be able to find a dark sweet chocolate, such as Hershey's or Baker's, or even semi-sweet, in your local grocery store that can substitute.


HELP! I've overbeaten my egg white mixture. Do I have to throw them out and start again! I just wasted twelve eggs and all of the time separating them...I'm heart broken!
SARAH SAYS: If the egg whites are beaten beyond the stiff peak stage, they lose their gloss and look curdled. Unfortunately, there is no more stretch left for them to rise when baked -- some or will pop during the whipping stage and will collapse. To fix, try whisking in another large egg white with a wire whisk -- DO NOT use the electric mixer. If you can't fix them, unfortunately, you have to start over again with fresh egg whites...

4 ounces BAKER'S GERMAN'S Sweet Chocolate, sweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons water; room temperature

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter; cold from the refrigerator
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated; cold from the refrigerator
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, optional

1 cup buttermilk; cold from the refrigerator
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Position the oven shelf to the middle. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease two 9- x 2- inch cake pans.

2. Melt the chocolate with the water in the top of a double-boiler or IN a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside to cool to room temperature.

3. In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the melted and cooled chocolate.

5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, then the rest of the dry ingredients, beating until well blended after each addition. .

6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites:
A. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, place four large egg whites in a mixer bowl; make sure both the whisk and bowl are clean and grease-free.

B. Beat on medium-low speed until the egg whites become foamy.
SARAH SAYS: As air is beaten into the egg whites, they will start to lighten in color. This beginning step is one of the most overlooked and important steps. A slower mixer speed will not deflate the early stages of the foam; if you do, it will never whip to its fullest!
If egg whites are beaten too quickly at the beginning, the structure of the foam will not be as strong, and later the egg whites will not beat as high as they should.

C. Keep mixing the egg whites on medium-low speed. The egg white foam will increase in volume and become white and have large bubbles. With the mixer running, immediately add the cream of tartar at the side of the bowl.
SARAH SAYS: Adding a small amount of acid, such as cream of tartar or lemon juice, stabilizes egg whites and allows them to reach their full volume and stiffness. It does this by making the egg coagulate faster. Salt enhances flavors and also helps to make the whites beat more easily.

D. The bubbles in the egg white foam will become smaller and more even in size. When it reaches this stage, increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Then, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar slowly in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. After the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to high.
SARAH SAYS: Always add sugar in a stream, slowly at the side of the bowl while the whites are being whipped; do not dump it in the center -- you don't want to risk deflating the whites.

E. Beat until the egg whites are white, fluffy, very stiff and still very glossy. They will form lumps as the mixer beats. STOP beating when they start to form lumps around the beater as shown in the photo. If egg whites are beaten to dry and dull, they are overbeaten -- Watch carefully, because egg whites can go from stiff to dry and overbeaten in as little as 30 seconds.
SARAH SAYS: Use your whites in the recipe immediately upon beating them. If they sit for more than 5 minutes, they start to deflate, so whip again by hand with a hand wire whis. They will keep a bit longer if the foam contains sugar or an acid, such as cream of tartar or lemon juice.

7. With a large rubber spatula, fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it. Then, fold in the remaining egg whites just until there's no trace of egg white visible.

1. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops.

2. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs but not batter.

3. Cool cake layers completely in their pans.

Cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

They are best frozen, well-wrapped for a month or more.

While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling and frosting.

Makes about 4-1/2 cups; Enough to frost tops of 2 (13-x 9-inch) cakes or fill and frost 3-layer 2- x 9- inch cake or frost 24 cupcakes.

1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
4 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 package (7 oz.) sweetened flake coconut (about 2-2/3 cups)
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans

1. Place milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla in large saucepan.

2. Stirring constantly, cook on medium heat 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in coconut and pecans.

4. Cool to room temperature and of spreading consistency.

Filling an frosting should be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.

1. Invert the cooled cake layers from the pans onto a wire cake rack.

Torte the cake layers.

2. Set the bottom of the first cake layer on a cake plate, bottom side down.

Spread 1/4 cup of the Coconut-Pecan Filling and Icing over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges.

3. Set the matching torted cake layer on top.

4. Spread 1/4 cup of the Coconut-Pecan Filling and Icing over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges.

5. Set the bottom of the second cake layer on a cake plate, bottom side down.

Spread 1/4 cup of the Coconut-Pecan Filling and Icing over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges.

6. Set the matching torted cake layer on top.

7. Top the cake with the remaining Coconut-Pecan Filling and Icing. Refrigerate cake until icing is set.

The filled and frosted cake layers must be kept refrigerated. They will keep for about 2 to 3 days.

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