Learning 2 Bake – From Scratch XXVIII

German Chocolate Cake

The Laird wanted German Chocolate Cake for his birthday. Who am I to say “no”? For my first cake here, it turned out OK. I can has no toothpickz, so I guessed. I was a bit off. Another 5 minutes in the oven would probably have been perfect. It was just a bit too moist and unstructured (i.e. undercooked) in the middle. The recipe:

Source: Southern Living

Parchment paper
2 (4-oz.) packages sweet chocolate baking bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

I removed all the ridiculous, space wasting “Step X” paragraph breaks.

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease 3 (9-inch) round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper, and lightly grease paper. Microwave chocolate baking bars and 1/2 cup water in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring once halfway through.

Combine flour and next 2 ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugars with a heavy-duty stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate mixture and vanilla; beat on low speed until blended. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended after each addition. [This requires a clean – and dry – mixing bowl.] Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form; gently fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven, and run a knife around outer edge of cake layers to loosen from sides of pans. Cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks; discard parchment paper. Cool completely (about 1 hour). 

Those are (relatively) new cake pans. They are too conical. The layers don’t stack well unless one trims them. My precut parchment paper rounds are still in box somewhere in the garage, so I hand-cut for these, having learned my lesson about skipping parchment paper.

And the frosting (same source)

2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 – 2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, cook evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a heavy 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cook, stirring constantly, 12 to 14 minutes or until mixture becomes a light caramel color, is bubbling, and reaches a pudding-like thickness. Remove pan from heat; stir in coconut, vanilla, and pecans. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes or until cooled and spreading consistency.

The “transfer mixture to a bowl” is important if you want to frost anytime in the current decade. It cools very slowly if you leave it in the pan; guess how I know this.

Plating tip: Don’t use a plastic charger. It works fine and looks good for presentation, but cutting the cake leaves nasty cuts across the charger, which I suppose doesn’t matter since chargers nominally go under plates, so no one will notice.

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