I've never tried German chocolate cake before but I knew I'd love the coconut pecan caramel filling. The traditional version has a coconut pecan filling and topping, but this version I made has a coconut pecan filling (no topping) and chocolate icing. I'm sure it's good both ways!
Some people have asked what the difference between German chocolate cake and regular chocolate cake is. Cookie Pie provided this information (thanks!): "German's was actually a type of chocolate made by Baker's Chocolate Co., and it was used in the original cake recipe in the 1950s, which was called German's Chocolate Cake. Over time the 's got dropped, and now everyone thinks the cake is German, but it isn't." (Source)
As far as I can understand, German chocolate cake was made with a sweetened chocolate that they called German chocolate. And the coconut pecan filling and topping is also unique to the German chocolate cake.
Everyone really liked this cake including those who don't usually like chocolate cake. As for me, I thought it was good but the cake itself wasn't my favourite. It was kind of "light" whereas I prefer cakes that are nice and dense. Ooo now I'm thinking of making German chocolate cupcakes with just the coconut pecan filling on top. Or maybe a slice of brioche toasted and spread with the filling.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
Rich Chocolate Cheesecake
Elvis Fluffernutter Cake
Chocolate Cinnamon Cake
German Chocolate Cake
Adapted from The Cake Book
Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 12
The original recipe suggests to use the coconut pecan filling as a filling and also on top - if you want to do that then double the recipe. I'd also make a bit extra chocolate icing next time. Also, note that the coconut pecan filling needs to cool for an hour so I'd start making it once the cakes are in the oven, or after you take them out.
German Chocolate Cake
2 cups (228 g) cake flour
1/3 cup (27 g) natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz (113 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup (242 g) sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 ounces (85 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (113 g) confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Coconut Pecan Filling
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (125 g) granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (85 g) sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (63 g) pecans, toasted and chopped
Make the Cake
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust the pans with flour.
2. Sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
3. Combine the chocolate and boiling water in a bowl and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool until tepid.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add 1 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat at high speed until well blended and light, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the tepid chocolate and mix until blended. If your mixer has a splatter shield attachment, attach it now. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the sour cream into two additions and mixing just until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and set aside.
6. In a clean mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at low speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and mix just until blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the whites are fluffy and begin to form soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Then increase the speed to high and whip the whites until they are glossy and smooth and form stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the chocolate batter one-third at a time. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
7. Bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on wire racks for 20 minutes.
8. Run a small knife around the edge of each pan to loosen the cake. Invert each cake onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Make the Frosting
1. Put the chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl and place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove the bowl from over the pot and set the chocolate aside to cool until tepid.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat at high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the tepid chocolate a low speed, mixing until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase the speed to high and beat until the frosting is lightly aerated, about 1 minute. Use the frosting immediately, or cover tightly and set aside at room temperature for up to 3 hours.
Coconut Pecan Filling
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, egg yolks, and butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted and the mixture thickens and bubbles. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes longer.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, coconut, and pecans. Cool for about 1 hour, or until the mixture is spreadable, before using.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; let soften at room temperature before using.
Assemble the Cake
1. If necessary, using a serrated knife, trim the sides of each cake layer, so that it is straight, not sloped. Place one of the layers upside down on a cardboard cake round or serving platter. Spread the cake with the coconut pecan filling. Top with the other cake layer, bottom (smooth) side up.
2. Using a small offset metal spatula, spread the frosting over the sides of the cake in a smooth layer, filling in any gaps between the layers (there will be plenty of frosting for this; if you have any frosting left over, you can put it into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip (such as Ateco #6) and pipe a row of rosettes around the top edge of the cake). Spread the remaining filling on top of the cake. Serve the cake, or refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.