Six and a half sticks of butter. Can I get a HALLELUJAH! Did anyone else grow up thinking they didn’t like coconut without ever trying it? I mean, it’s not like we’re talking about Brussels sprouts (which incidentally also turned out to be much more delicious than my childhood self could have imagined), but for some reason coconut seemed like A Thing I Don’t Like. Anyway, I’m very happily over that, and I want to consume as much coconut as possible to make up for all those lost years… So I was thrilled to make German Chocolate Cake from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking for this week’s Baked Sunday Mornings recipe. While not the most coconut-forward recipe, I adore the sticky coconut-pecan-caramel filling, and I will take whatever coconut I can get!
There’s never a chocolate cake that I won’t eat. Happily. That being said, this is not my favorite of BAKED’s layer cakes. The first time I made it last year, the cake came out dry and uneven, but that oven was known to be selectively haunted, so I shook it off. This time I was in my own kitchen and more hopeful, but… the batter was slightly weird. All three layers baked unevenly in exactly the same way– with one large air bubble sticking up in one off-center spot. This wasn’t a big deal, as I lopped them off with a serrated knife, just odd. Also, the cake texture was so strange that I thought I did something wrong. It was more like a fudgy brownie, which may not sound like a bad thing in and of itself, but it’s not actually the texture that I want in a layer cake. It had good, deep cocoa flavor, but was dense and heavy, almost wet. Still, the layers (baked in 30 minutes) were usable, so I went with it.
This cake is supposed to be a naked cake (i.e. exposed sides), but I decided to make a batch of frosting to cover the whole cake because for the life of me, I cannot seem to bake cakes with straight sides. The first time I was annoyed that there was so much leftover frosting (I only covered the outside), so this time I also spread some on top of each cake layer before adding the coconut-pecan filling. More chocolate = Never bad.
I have made this frosting three times now, and the same thing has happened each time: the frosting is not usable until it’s chilled at least a few hours, then I rewhipped it in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment to fluff it up. Without doing this, the frosting was heavy and grainy. Whipping it again turned it almost instantly into a beautiful, light-cocoa-colored swoopy cloud. It is very buttery, and I might cut back ½ stick next time, like I have been with BAKED’s regular cooked frosting.
BUT THE FILLING. I could eat the coconut-pecan filling with a spoon, no cake needed. (What? Who said that?) I was worried that something was wrong because it took at least 15 minutes of stirring for the mixture of sugar, butter, evaporated milk, egg yolks, and vanilla extract to even begin to boil and thicken. But it turned out absolutely fine (okay, way better than “fine”) once I mixed in the pecans, coconut, and toasted coconut. It will thicken as it cools.
The addition of frosting in-between the cake layers not only cranked up the chocolate factor, but also made the cake taller. I decided to do a swoopy design with the frosting all over the cake, and on top I carefully crafted a ring of the sticky filling around the edge of the cake. In retrospect, I would have smoothed out the chocolate on top because it looks a little busy. Nonetheless, I was pretty happy with the look.
The cake tasted great and my tasters enjoyed it. I would probably use a different, fluffier chocolate cake recipe next time, but all in all the cake was successful. The German Chocolate lovers were verrrry happy. 🙂 You can find the recipe for German Chocolate Cake over at Baked Sunday Mornings, and take a look at the other bakers’ beautiful cakes too!
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2020.