Friday, February 18, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

I made this German Chocolate Cake for a friend to celebrate his birthday.  This is a very rich 3 layer German chocolate cake, layered with a sweet coconut and pecan filling, then frosted with a chocolate ganache.  I refrigerated it overnight to help it set up, so hopefully, it didn't fall apart too much when they cut into it.  This baby was heavy when it was assembled.  I sure wish my hubby would have remembered to bring me a piece home to try.  They said it was good and very rich!  Well, it's supposed to be could it not be with all those layers of goodness!  Just take a peek at the ingredient list.

I found this recipe over at David Lebovitz, so I knew it had to be good.  His recipe says to use two 9-inch pans, and to cut each layer in half before layering and assembling.  I just used the three 8-inch pans that I had, and changed the baking time.  Watch the cakes closely as they do bake up fast.


For the cake:

2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted (I used sweetened)

For the syrup:

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 T dark rum

For the chocolate icing:

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

To make the cake:

1. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Melt both chocolates together with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.

6. In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff.

7. Fold about 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.

8. Divide the batter into the 3 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 22-26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Watch them closely.

Cool cake layers completely. 

While the cakes are baking, make the icing, the filling, then the syrup.

To make the icing:

1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ ounces of butter.

2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the filling:

1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.)

3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken.)

To make the syrup:

1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum.

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans. 

Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread 1/3 of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading 1/3 of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.  David says:  It may seem like a lot of chocolate icing, but use it all. Trust me. You won’t be sorry.

Note:  I did have some of the syrup left over.  Just use enough to moisten the cake, not drench it.

Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve...


  1. This looks so good and rich. I'd love to have a piece of it :)

  2. Your cake looks beautiful. And you are right, if it is a DL's recipe, you can't go wrong!

  3. That cake looks incredible! I'll just have a sliver..

  4. What a gorgeous cake! I want to see all three layers! and taste it!

  5. your cake is beautiful! looks professional :)

  6. Oh goodie. Girl - this looks so dang good. I have not had German Chocolate Cake in the longest time. Oh my!!

  7. Ohhh my..that topping on that cake looks AMAZING!!!!!
    all gooey! yum

  8. Wow, that cake is a beauty. Your skills really make that cake shine.

  9. That looks so delicious. I love chocolate cake especially the German one's, they have great baking/ desert recipes. The treats are always so rich and tasty. I really want to make a German chocolate cake soon just need to find excuse to make one, birthday? umm lol. Love your decorating skills :) really want to tune up my pipping skills :)

  10. Hi Rhondi,
    Your cake is just beautiful, really it is to pretty to slice. The recipe looks like it would be really rich. Next time you will have to take your slice first. Thank you so much for bringing this super cake to Full Plate Thursday and we hope to see you next week!

  11. That cake looks amazing! I love David Lebovitz recipes, you can never go wrong! :)

  12. This looks so very good. What a great birthday cake. Beautiful job!

  13. This is my favorite cake and I get it for my birthday every year (so I have eaten A LOT of them). Yours is just beautiful.

  14. Wow! This cake looks so professional :) I made a German Chocolate Bundt cake Friday :) It's not as classy as yours but mine's going to a hoe down - yours is gorgeous!

  15. Your cake looks amazing! I love your chocolate border technique around the top!

  16. I'm back. I'm featuring you today! Hope you can stop by!

  17. Wow, your German Chocolate cake looks perfect and delicious. I'm sure your friend who got it must had a wonderful birthday! :) Thanks for sharing.


  18. Looks like Heaven to me!

  19. You are so talented! Your decorating skills always amaze me, Rhondi! Seriously... so professional! And beautiful! I thought I didn't like German Chocolate Cake but you make me want to try some right now :)


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