Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

Aunt Bette’s Dangerous German Chocolate Cake


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 and her 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.

This recipe has been double checked for accuracy (I have baked using this post and it came out perfectly!)

German’s Chocolate Cake
Adapted by Bette
Makes one three layer cake or one two-layer cake and 5 cupcakes…so you can eat them before you serve the cake. What a prize!
4 oz.  Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate (or an equivalent amount of semisweet chocolate), chopped
1/2 cup boiling 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
1/4 t. sea salt
2 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c. sifted unsweetened best quality you can afford 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 OR 2 cake pans and line 5 cupcakes in a muffin tin. This cake makes a three layer cake or a two layer cake and 5 cupcakes. For the cake pans, 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!

Place chocolate (chopped) in a medium-sized heat proof bowl.  Pour 1/2 c. boiling water over chocolate. 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, add the salt and 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! 🙂

30 thoughts on “Aunt Bette’s Dangerous German Chocolate Cake

  1. Love this story about your dad and Bette’s cake. Made me laugh when he would shout to you as you were going out the door. Very funny.
    Look delicious, Geni. I’ll be right over to help you eat the other half. 😉

  2. What a wonderful cake from a special lady. Believe me Geni, should I make this cake, all will know where I got the recipe. Aunt Bette deserves all of the credit for this beauty. (Besides, my friends know full-well my limited baking skills and there’s no way they’d believe I baked it on my own.) 🙂

  3. That cake looks so delicious. I am hungry after dinner that I finished 10 minutes back.
    Now send me a piece …

  4. One of my absolute favorite desserts. This is phenomenal!

  5. Over the top. Just as cakes should be! Aunt Bette is clearly above the standard herself. What a gift to the family. Hurray for outstanding traditions and recipes, whether begged, borrowed or stolen! 🙂

  6. This looks divine – I also have my own very special German cake recipse! Thank you Sam German 🙂

  7. Well, you know me and chocolate, but the story reminds me of how my family is about my Grandma’s cobbler. Made me smile. And I have to say, while I’m not a chocolate eater, I’m totally drawn to the top of that cake. That looks completely lickable!

  8. Did someone say German Chocolate Cake?.. you know I’m here when I hear chocolate lol. This cake looks amazing.. and I know you know it. I can’t wait to make it

  9. Wow, that cake looks incredibly dangerous, even though I don’t like chocolate, like Kristy. First off, the presentation is gorgeous, and don’t even get me started on that last photo. The cooks looks so moist and delicious!

  10. You won’t believe this but I have a dear friend whose mother always made him a German Chocolate Cake for his birthday. After she passed he gave me her recipe so that I could continue to bake him is cake!! A few years ago he moved to out of state, so no cake baking. This brought back so many memories. My cake was not decorated as pretty as yours with with pecans around the top and bottom. I know first hand how SINFUL this is, so hurry and take it to work!!!

  11. Oh boy I haven’t had German chocolate cake in ages, but can taste the goodness through your pics!

  12. Oh my! dangerous is an understatement.
    If it was in my house I don’t think it would be safe for it to spend the night awaiting its trip to the office!

  13. This is not good, Geni, not good at all. If I ever get to pick my own favorite cake, German chocolate is it. And now, this one looks oh so tempting. I wonder if I could get away with it for Thankgiving? Though I’d definitely have to make it day of – because otherwise, it wouldn’t make it to mealtime.

  14. You have no idea how happy this post has just made me. I was just talking to a friend a couple days ago about a desire for the perfect German Choc Cake recipe. I can hardly wait to try this one! I just pinned it for next time I need it. Thanks!

  15. Beautiful! Thanks for the recipe, I’ve been wanting to try German Chocolate for awhile.

  16. German chocolate cake…it has been so long since I had a slice of this cake…and Geni, I must admit that I cannot take my eyes away from the cake…looks absolutely gorgeous, I would love to trade my “healthy” version of pumpkin cupcake with a slice of this cake in a heart beat 🙂 Maybe I go by your office tomorrow 😉
    Hope you have a great week ahead!

  17. What a gorgeous cake! Aunt Bette sounds like a real sweetheart. And your dad sounds like the kind of person we bakers love — people who really appreciate our food and ask for seconds! What a cute story, and a nice tribute to two family members.

  18. From your aunt to my nephew! German Chocolate is -hand down- his favorite cake. I do believe I’ll have to make this for his birthday! Thanks!

  19. I would definitely go in for seconds, and maybe even thirds! 😉 This cake is a masterpiece. Thanks to you and Bette for sharing!

  20. Any cake that’s “dangerous” is definitely worth trying!

  21. That does look dangerously delicious!

  22. It looks delicious. I think I would go for second or third, I see what you mean by being dangerous. 🙂

  23. Ill try this recipe and I trust you that I might loose control of myself so I will ahve to write down my name first before taking a bite as I might forget it after tasting this delicious looking treat. Yummy!

  24. This cake looks extrememly yummy. I do not blame your dad hunting down a piece admist the commercial cakes on offer these days.

  25. I think I may need to marry into a family of non-bakers…my dad is ridiculous enough as it is, I don’t need him pining for other people’s cakes!

    This does look pretty damn delicious though…I’ll just make it for him and then he’ll never care for another cake again!

  26. Pingback: 2011 round up « Chef in disguise

  27. Made this cake today.. the hubby was craving one. He said, “This is the best I have ever had”. Reckon that means he liked it 🙂 It turned out very well.. looked beautiful.. tasted wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  28. I made this for my husband’s birthday and he flipped out over how good it was. Love the buttercream frosting addition. I especially loved that it made extra cupcakes since I made the cake the day BEFORE his birthday. 😉 Keeping this one!

  29. Made this and added 1 cup of coffee to the chocolate instead of water. looks tasty, but 2 layers are not high enough for family expectations of a good cake, will make 3 layers from now on.

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