Aunt Bette is my husband’s aunt, and as far as my dad is concerned, her German Chocolate cake is the best dowry any dad could ask for. It is actually airy and spongy, with the best ooey, gooey coconut and pecan topping. If that’s not enough, it also has a luxurious chocolate butter cream frosting on the sides just to send it over the top.
After eating a slice of this superstar cake, you do something radical—you are not yourself, you lose all control and you go in for seconds…yes seconds. A little tiny bit more is shaved off the cake and delicately placed on your plate…a smidgen more couldn’t hurt, could it?
You see, this cake is totally dangerous. Now that a half of the cake is left sitting in my kitchen, I am plotting its one way trip to the office. If it were to stay here, I could not be responsible for what happens next, and, unfortunately, what happens at my house does not stay at my house like it does in the commercials for Vegas.
Soon after I started dating my husband, about 25 years ago, we got introduced to Aunt Bette’s famous German Chocolate cake. Once my dad got a taste of that baby, the gloves were off and all decorum went out the door; not that there was a whole lot to begin with.
When I would be invited to Bette’s house, my dad would shout out the door, “Don’t forget to bring me a piece of Bette’s cake!”. If Bette had not actually made the cake, my dad was sorely disappointed, and IF he happened to bump into her around town or at some family event, he would not so gently mention that he noticed her cake was absent at the last family event (of which he was not invited to).
It was fairly embarrassing when the cake did appear at a family get together. I would sheepishly ask if I could take home a piece of cake for my dad. The worst part is…I kind of understood where he was coming from. This cake was too good to miss out on, and if it was anywhere in the vicinity, he deserved a slice. Although it was a rather awkward thing to ask of Bette, she always cut him a huge slice with an equally huge smile as I found some foil to cover it up. I get it now that I am a mom and a proud baker—if anyone loves your cake that much they absolutely deserve a slice. I mean what woman doesn’t love lavish praise?
Although her cake is beyond spectacular, Aunt Bette is pretty awesome herself. She is the kind of woman you want around if anything ever needs getting done, and she is one of the women in my life who demonstrated the satisfaction in preparing food and sharing it with those around you. She is absolutely a giver in every way shape and form. Bette is always more than happy to share her food and the bigger the party, the better as far as she’s concerned.
She was equally happy to share her recipe which happens to be the one on the package of German’s Sweet Chocolate. As it turns out, German Chocolate cake actually is a misnomer since it was originated by German’s Sweet Chocolate and was initially called “German’s Chocolate Cake”.
She adjusted the recipe, like any good baker does, and added a beautiful chocolate butter cream to the sides to give it the finesse that Bette’s desserts deserve. I hope you give this recipe a shot and bring it to your next gathering. Then you will be known for your delicious chocolate cake. Your secret is safe with me—and Bette I am sure.
German’s Chocolate Cake
Adapted by Bette
1 pkg. (4 oz.) Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate (or an equivalent amount of semisweet chocolate)
1/2 cup water
4 eggs, separated
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
Coconut Pecan Filling and Topping
4 egg yolks
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 pkg. (7 oz.) flaked sweetened Coconut (about 2-2/3 cups)
1-1/2 cups Chopped Toasted Pecans
Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting
6 T. butter, slightly softened
2 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t. vanilla
To make the cake: Heat oven to 350°F.
Cover bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round pans with parchment paper; spray sides with cooking spray or butter and flour sides. Please believe me that covering the bottom of your pan with parchment paper is a must. This cake is ultra spongy and soft and would otherwise be difficult to get of out of your pans. With the parchment paper, it’s a cinch!
Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on high 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.
Fold in egg whites, gently, until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small a spatula around cakes in pans. Cool cakes in pans 15 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
Coconut Pecan Topping: Toast whole pecans in a small saute pan on medium heat for about 4 minutes or until they smell toasted. Stir pecans constantly or they will burn. Beat egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with wire whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Coursely chop pecans. Add coconut and pecans to sugar and egg mixture. Mix well. Cool to room temperature. As it cools, it thickens. If you wait at least 30 minutes, it will cool to a spreadable consistency.
Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting between cake layers and onto top of cake. Refrigerate the cake for an hour after doing this. This will allow it to set up and the butter cream will be much easier to spread around the sides. When you are ready to frost your cake, prepare the butter cream.
Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting: Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with balloon whip or use a hand beater. Once the butter is light and fluffy, sift in the powdered sugar. Add milk. Sift in the cocoa powder and add vanilla. Beat on medium to high until creamy and smooth. Once the cake is done refrigerating, spread the chocolate butter cream on the sides. Garnish the top and bottom of the cake with whole pecans.
Now bring it to a potluck and wait for praise!