German Chocolate Cake

trust in kim - german chocolate cake

I made this beautiful cake for my good friend Angela’s birthday this weekend.  It’s moist and chocolatey, and the topping is nutty and sweet without being too sweet.  It got rave reviews at the party, and several requests for the recipe, so here it is!  Apparently the true name is German’s Chocolate Cake, which comes from the U.S., not Germany.  All  I know is… yum! I just used semi-sweet instead of sweet chocolate.

If you don’t want to make a German Chocolate Cake, you could use the cake recipe and make a different frosting – it’s a good moist cake.

I got this recipe from an amazing cake book  that I’m working my way through, and loving every recipe so far: All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray.  And my friend Justin Cathcart took the beautiful photo.

What you need:

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup boiling water

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

For the filling and topping:

1 & 1/3 cups pecans (plus 5-6 nice halves for a garnish)

1 & 3/4 cups coconut, unsweetened

1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup water

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

What you do:

1.  Put the chocolate in a bowl, pour in the boiling water and stir until the chocolate has dissolved.

2. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.

3. Cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar.

4. Add the egg yolks and beat thoroughly.

5.  Beat in the chocolate and vanilla.

6. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Add half of it to the batter and mix in.  Add half the buttermilk and mix in.  Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk.

7.  Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.

8.  Pour the batter into 8 or 9-inch round pans that have been lined with parchment paper rounds.

9. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake sit in the pans for 10 minutes before removing.  Then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack.  Let them cool before frosting.

10. For the topping grind the pecans and coconut in a food processor until it is moderately chopped.

11. Put the condensed milk, water, and egg yolks in a double boiler.  Stir until it thickens.  When it has thickened, add the butter and vanilla, continuing to stir.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts. (I didn’t let mine thicken enough, so I put it in the fridge to thicken before I used it.

12. When the cake is cooled place one layer on a plate and spread half the topping over the top.  Put the other layer on, and spread the rest of the topping onto that.  Garnish with some pecan pieces.

You could also add a chocolate frosting around the sides of the cake it you want to sweeten it up a bit or make it fancier.

Fleur de Sel Caramels

These are to die for – sweetness balanced perfectly with saltiness.  I made some plain, just caramels and fleur de sel, wrapped in parchment paper.  The others were dark chocolate-covered, with a sprinkling of fleur de sel.  It’s hard to choose a favourite . . . but I’d have to say the chocolate ones win out.  Try it and see – it takes a bit of patience, as the cooking process can’t be rushed, but if you’ve got the time and some good music to listen to while you’re stirring, it’s totally worth it.

Listening pairing: Luluc’s album ‘Dear Hamlyn.’  Sweet and smooth like the treats you’re making!

What you need:

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 & 1/2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

fleur se sel

3 oz chocolate (I used 2 oz semi-sweet and 1 oz bitter-sweet)

parchment paper

candy thermometer – helpful but not essential (you can test the accuracy of your thermometer by placing it in boiling water – it should read 212F)

What you do:

1.  Line a bread pan with lightly buttered parchment paper.

2.  Combine the sugar, syrup, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and half a cup of the cream in a pot.  Place on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until it boils.  This may take a while, but make sure you don’t raise the heat to hurry it up – it needs to stay on medium.

3.  While it boils, add the cream slowly, continuing to stir.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring little.  Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir until melted.

4.  For the next steps you need to have patience, as you will be stirring for about 30-40 minutes.  Continue boiling over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  You will begin to see the mixture turn a more caramel-brown colour.  If you’ve got a candy thermometer, you want it to read 250F.  If you don’t have one, you can get a bowl of ice water and place a drop of the mixture into it.  When it forms a “firm ball” in the ice water, take it off the heat right away.

5.  After removing from the heat, stir in the vanilla.

6.  Pour immediately into the parchment-lined pan.  Just pour it in and don’t scrape the caramel from the bottom of the pot, to avoid crystallization.  Of course you can scrape it out into another container and eat it up!

7.  Allow the caramel to cool, then remove it from the pan by pulling up the parchment paper.

8.  With a lightly buttered knife, cut into desired shapes.  Sprinkle the fleur de sel on the ones that you won’t be dipping in chocolate.

9. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or place a bowl on top of a pot of water.  Melt the chocolate, or read here for the more complicated process of tempering chocolate.

10.  Dip caramels in the melted chocolate, then sprinkle with a little fleur de sel.

11.  The caramel will stick to almost everything.  Parchment paper, however, is like magic when it comes to caramel. you can line your plate with it, or use it for wrapping the individual caramels.

I found this recipe on Not So Humble Pie.  I’ve just halved the recipe, as it was too much for me.  But it takes a long time to make, so you might want to double it – it’s not double the work until you get to the cutting and dipping.