Monday, June 11, 2018

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE: National German Chocolate Cake Day!

Today is National German Chocolate Cake Day. It may sound odd that's there's an American National Holiday for German Chocolate Cake, but German Chocolate Cake is not German. German Chocolate Cake is an American creation that contains the key ingredients of sweet baking chocolate, coconut, and pecans.

In 1852, Sam German created a dark baking chocolate bar for Baker's Chocolate Company, and in his honor, the company named it "Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate."

The story goes that the first published recipe for German's chocolate cake showed up in a Dallas newspaper in 1957 and supposedly came from a Texas homemaker. The cake quickly gained in popularity and the recipe together with photos spread all over the country. America fell in love with German Chocolate Cake, and food editors were swamped with requests for information on where to buy the chocolate. In one year, there was a 73% sales jump in German's Baker Sweet Chocolate sales (then owned by General Mills). 

However, the cake most likely didn't originate from the Dallas housewife. Buttermilk chocolate cakes were popular in the South for over 70 years, and pecans were plentiful, also, to make the frosting. Point of fact: German's chocolate is similar to a milk chocolate and sweeter than regular baking chocolate.

Here's the "Original Recipe." I found this specific recipe in many places on the Internet, and I daresay no one can claim it as their own. So even if you think you're making Grandmom's recipe--and it might be with a few changes over the years- the following is a basic one that millions use. That's not to say I didn't find several unique recipes for German Chocolate Cake that peaked my interest. But those are for another time.


For the Cake
1 pkg. Baker's German’s sweet chocolate (4 oz.)
1/2 cup water, boiling
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour, all-purpose
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup buttermilk
Coconut-pecan frosting

Approx. Cook Time: 30 min
Melt chocolate in water and cool.
Cream butter and Sugar.
Beat in egg yolks.
Stir in vanilla and chocolate.
Mix flour, soda, and salt. Beat in flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into three 9-inch layer pans, lined on bottoms with waxed paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in
Cool 15 minutes; remove and cool on rack.

For the Filling & Topping:
1--14 oz. can of condensed milk such as Eagle Brand
1/2 cup water
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butte
1 1/3 cup pecans; chopped reserve
10 whole pecan halves for garnish.
1 3/4 cups angel flake coconut

Cook milk, eggs, and water over double boiler until thickened.
Cook it over direct heat if you use complete concentration.
Then add vanilla and butter and whisk in until melted and smooth.
Add chopped pecans and coconut.

1/2 cup butter, softened
9 squares Baker's German's chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
for a richer chocolate flavor, add cocoa powder- or use more German's chocolate

Mix butter and chocolate in mixing bowl. Stir in powdered sugar.
Beat vanilla and milk until smooth and of spreading consistency.

Divide filling evenly between 3 cakes putting 1st layer down, then spread filling evenly. Repeat with  other layer.
Frost side or top of the cake only. (Maybe--but make more, and you can frost everything)
For garnish, place pecan halves around top edge.

My late friend Iris used to make the best German Chocolate Cake. She said it was an African American traditional cake that was made and served at New Year's. I can't find any information on that tradition in the African American community, so I think it was only a tradition in her family. Sadly, Iris never shared her recipe. Some people keep family recipes within the family. The photo in this post is Iris's German Chocolate Cake. It was always fabulous!

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