Friday, January 7, 2011

German Chocolate Cake



Since meeting my husband’s family I have always heard good things about his Granny’s German Chocolate Cake. She would make it during the holidays and every just raves about how good it was. I was never able to meet his Granny and I don’t know that we were able to find her secret recipe, but I thought I would surprise my Father-in-law over the Holidays by having this dessert on our menu. He was pleasantly surprised to see it on the dessert table and we all were pleased with the results. The cake has a simple rum glaze that coats each layer of the cake, helping the cake say nice and moist. The chocolate around the outside gives the cake a decadent and rich addition, while the traditional coconut and pecan filling coats each layer completing the flavor components you expect in a German Chocolate cake. Overall, the cake was delicious and perfect for a special occasion.

German Chocolate Cake

For the Cake:

2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons water

4 large eggs, separated

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Rum Syrup:

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

For the Filling:

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

1 1/3 cups toasted coconut, packed

For the Icing:

8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

To Make the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two nine inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the sides of the pans; set aside.

Using a double boiler, melt the bittersweet or semisweet and unsweetened chocolate with the water, stirring until smooth. Set aside until the mixture cools to room temperature.

In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form soft droopy peaks. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl and return the mixer bowl to the mixer base.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with 1 1/4 cups of the sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture on low speed just until incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until combined. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg whites just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the cake pans for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make the Rum Syrup:

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the rum.

To Make the Filling:

Combine the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the butter, pecans, and coconut in a mixing bowl; set aside. Heat the cream mixture and cook. stirring constantly and scraping the bottom until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon (170 to 175 degrees). Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

To Make the Icing:

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter. Heat the cream just until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for one minute, then stir until smooth. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator or freezer until firm enough for decorating.

To Assemble the Cake:

Cur the two cake layers in half horizontally to yield four layers. Set the first layer on a cake circle, cut side up. Brush well with rum syrup. Spread 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach the edges. Set another cake layer on top of the filling. Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top. Ice the sides of the cake with the chilled chocolate icing. Pipe a decorative border around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from David Lebovitz

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