Tuesday, July 29, 2014

German Chocolate Cake - Part 2

In creating the German Chocolate Cake Recipe, I figured out that I wanted to have chocolate frosting on the cake in addition to the coconut-pecan filling. I found out that many bakers used ganache instead of a buttercream, but I liked the structural integrity that the buttercream provides.
I know that toasting coconut and pecans adds a more intense flavor, so I did that before I combined it with the homemade caramel filling.
Instead of vanilla extract, I use Kahlua to flavor the cake, frosting and filling. The coffee liquor adds a subtle flavor that is undetected as coffee.
Some recipes call for a syrup that is applied to the cake as it is assembled. This trick makes adds moistness and sweetness to a cake and cake add a pop of flavor. I made a sugar syrup and then added rum, brushed it on the cake layers before I frosted and filled it.
Because this cake was for a birthday, I wanted to make it beautiful, so I liked the sight of stemmed maraschino cherries on top. The red contrasted with the chocolate frosting, even if there are no cherries in the cake. I also liked the look of drizzled dark chocolate on top of the cake.
I wanted to add ridged sides to the cake, that was easily done with an icing comb. And lastly, I wanted the coconut-pecan filling to show through, so I added it to the top of the cake, making it obvious that this was a German Chocolate Cake.

4 oz German Chocolate
6 tablespoons water
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup + 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon Kahlua

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp Kahlua
4 egg yolks
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 ½ cups roughly chopped pecans
1 7-oz. package sweetened shredded coconut

Rum Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons dark rum
Optional - top with stemmed maraschino cherries

Chocolate Frosting:
5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp Kahlua
1/4 cup milk (more or less)
6 oz melted semi-sweet chocolate, cooled to room temperature
12 Tablespoons butter, room temperature

Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Melt the German Chocolate with the 6 tablespoons of water in a small bowl, using a double-boiler. Stir until smooth, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the melted chocolate until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add the buttermilk and the Kahlua, mixing until combined, and then add the remainder of the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until they form stiff, glossy peaks.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.
Divide the batter into the 3 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 35 - 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake layers completely (leave them in the pans). While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup and frosting.

Make the Rum Syrup: In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the Filling
Toast the coconut and chopped pecans in 375 oven for 10 - 12 minutes till brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Combine 1 ½ cups sugar, ¾ cup butter, 1 ½ tsp. vanilla, 4 egg yolks, and evaporated milk in a 2-qt. pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer; cook until thick, 12 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl to remove any egg portions. Chill frosting until firm. Then combine cake with coconut and pecans just before assembling the cake.

Make the Frosting:
Whip the butter in a large bowl. Mix in powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until combined. (add just enough milk to make a spreading consistency) Mix in melted chocolate. 

Assemble the Cake: Remove the cake layers from the pans. Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush the top of the cake layer with the rum syrup. Spread 1/2 - 2/3 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat, brushing the top of each cake layer with the rum syrup, then spreading more coconut filling over the second layer. Ice the sides with the chocolate icing and the top. Create a well in the top of the cake and add more coconut filling. Then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping. I added eight piped dollops of frosting and placed a maraschino cherry on top of each dollop.
I drizzled melted chocolate over the sides for garnish and then piped more frosting on the base.
And here's Mark enjoying his cake!

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