Monday, April 25, 2011

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

2 missions were accomplished today: baking a cake all by myself and tasting German Chocolate cake. This recipe is actually Bobby Flay's so I had some high expectations this will be good. The cake was so moist and flavorful, you'll love it.

His original recipe for the frosting called for a coconut-pecan cajeta which is a thickened syrup made by goat's milk. Unfortunately goats milk is not readily available in typical supermarkets, so I substituted it with whole milk.When I tried his frosting, it didn't turn out very well and the milk curdled really fast, so I opted for a different type of frosting with coconut milk with coconut and nuts (see below).
There are other substitutions that I made to help those bakers who do not have access to certain ingredients. Dutch processed cocoa is also hard to find at ordinary supermarkets. I did some research and found that you can Dutch processed cocoa is cocoa powder with alkaline to neutralize the acid in the cocoa. Thus, we can substitute this with regular cocoa but add an additional teaspoon or two of baking soda. To be more accurate, you want to substitute equal measurements of Dutch processed cocoa with regular cocoa and add 1/8 teaspoon per every 3 tablespoons of cocoa.

The other substitution is buttermilk. Unless you make quite often with buttermilk, you don't need to make the extra trip to purchase it. Just substitute equal amounts of buttermilk with regular milk and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk. Let that sit for 5 minutes to allow the acid to react.

This modified recipe makes 2 9-inch cakes that will be divided to make 4 layers.

Cake Recipe:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (that's 1cup plus 2 tablespoons of cocoa plus 2/3 teaspoon of baking soda)
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light muscovado sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups strong brewed black coffee, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/2 cups of milk plus 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Butter your 2- 9inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix and sift your dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a saucepan on medium heat, melt 12 tablespoons butter. Once melted, add the cocoa powder and mix for 1 minute. After 1 minute, remove from heat.

 Then add the muscovado and granulated sugar and whisk until mixed.

Add the coffee, buttermilk, 3 eggs and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth.

Strong brewed coffee from instant coffee

Once mixed, add the wet mixture to your dry ingredients you had set aside. Whisk until smooth again.

Divide the batter mixture into 2 and pour into your baking pans. Tap to get rid of any air bubbles and bake for 40-45 minutes and the toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour before frosting.
Finished product after 40 minutes of baking!
Coconut and Pecan Frosting (from

1 1/4 cups  toasted pecans
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk 
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the milk, egg yolks, butter and salt in a saucepan. Once combined, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture should begin to thicken and boil. Remove from the heat and add the toasted pecans and coconut. Stir together and let it cool until the frosting is spreadable. 

To assemble your cake, slice the cakes in half to make 4 layers. On top of one layer, spread the frosting evenly. Add another layer of cake and spread frosting on top of that. After adding the last layer of cake, make the chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache with coconut milk and cream
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup of heavy cream
2/3 cup of coconut milk

In a double boiler, add the semi-sweet chocolate, heavy cream and coconut milk and stir with a spatula until all has melted and combined. Remove the ganache from the heat. While the gananche has cooled a bit but remains a thin liquid, pour the ganache over the cake so that it runs of the cake and covers the sides of the cake.

Pouring the ganache over the cake while it's still hot and runny

Congrats on completing your cake! Cut yourself a slice and enjoy your masterpiece! Yum


  1. It is - ask Russ. It's also a huge cake that still hasn't been completely eaten, and if you manage to make it out to my place (I know it's a LONG 3 minute drive), you're welcome to a piece.

  2. You better hurry, Cameron. Sid can eat you under the table and it will be gone by the end of the week.