April 28, 2010

German Chocolate Cake

A couple of weeks ago I was charged with making a birthday cake for a friend whose favorite is German chocolate cake. (which, by the way, is not from Germany at all but is named after Mr. German, the founder of the Baker's chocolate company who came up with the recipe.)

I googled around looking for a recipe and came upon this one from David Lebovitz, whose blog is full of divine desserts. What was new about his recipe was the chocolate ganache that he used to frost the sides and I was immediately intrigued by that.

But I didn't want to make his cake layers, because they involved melting chocolate and separating eggs and beating the whites separately and when you're as lazy busy as I am, you just don't wanna do all of that.

So I hunted around some more and found this recipe at Apartment Therapy, which is basically the recipe from the back of the Hershey's cocoa tin. Perfect. Super easy. I did substitute sour cream for the milk and weak coffee for the water. Came out great—have no idea if it was any better than the original, though.

Then I turned my attention to the coconut-pecan filling. Though David's filling seemed fine, I remembered seeing an Epicurious recipe with a dulce-de-leche filling, which I found here. I was mainly interested in this filling because I had read somewhere that you could make dulce-de-leche in a pressure cooker by boiling a can of condensed milk for about 20 minutes. And you know me, any excuse to use my pressure cooker!

So in the end I used David Lebovitz's idea (and his frosting, although I had to add a lot of powdered sugar to it to make it spreadable. I was in a hurry, however, and I think if I had had time to refrigerate it, it would have spread just fine.), the Hershey's tin cake recipe, and the filling from Epicurious.

The verdict: People seemed to swoon over this cake, though I wasn't bowled over. It was much better a day or two later. I do like the darker chocolate cake rather than the lighter one you usually see for German chocolate cake. I also like the idea of the chocolate frosting—it adds another dimension. Would go for a less-sweet frosting next time—not David's fault but mine for adding all that powdered sugar.

In the end, I think my biggest disappointment was the dulce-de-leche filling. The dulce-de-leche itself came out great (20 minutes in the pressure cooker, people! Have I mentioned how much I love my pressure cooker?) but I didn't love that flavor profile for the filling. I think I like my filling straighter, with white sugar and a little brown sugar, so that it has more of a pecan-pie like quality.

But I would make this cake again. It was fairly easy and came out nicely impressive looking.


Anonymous said...

yes, you did mention you loved it, but which brand and model pressure cooker would you suggest looking into?

Missmasala said...

I have a fagor 6 quart pressure cooker, which works great! It's very easy to use. I would recommend it.

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