German Chocolate Cake
Episode 5 Hilah’s Texas Kitchen: German Chocolate Cake and Sweetish Hill Bakery
“German chocolate” is unfailingly my dear dad’s choice every single year for his birthday cake. It’s been that since I was teeny weeny. I started making it myself once I was not so weeny and was able to cook on my own. I wasn’t much older than 9 I don’t think. It’s a fairly involved cake, but the results are worth it. The cake is light and airy with a caramel-type icing loaded with shredded coconut and pecans.
The story behind the cake is interesting. Its invention is credited to Mrs. George Clay of Dallas who sent in the recipe to the Dallas Morning Star and it was published on June 3, 1957. From there, the makers of German’s Sweet Baking Chocolate got hold of it and syndicated the recipe all over the country to promote the purchase of their chocolate, as companies do. The thing is, Sam German invented his sweet chocolate in the mid-1800s and beginning right then, women began coming up with “German’s chocolate cake” recipes and sending them in to newspapers, magazines, and cookbook contests. I found at least 4 different recipes for German chocolate cake.
I thought it would be fun to visit a bakery to learn more about the cake. We chose Sweetish Hill because it’s locally owned and it’s been around since the 1970s. It was always my grandma’s choice to get birthday cakes and holiday pies and French breads. She was not much of a baker or cook. Besides Mrs. Johnson’s Donuts, it’s the oldest bakery still around in Austin. Tom Murphy started there as a baker and eventually bought the business; I got the feeling he’s rather be baking than bossing, though.Print
German Chocolate Cake
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 42 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
- Yield: 16 1x
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces German’s sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup (1/2 pound) soft butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 egg yolks
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter cut into pats
- 7 ounce package flaked coconut
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
- Set oven to 350ºF and grease 3 9″ cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed or parchment paper.
- Separate eggs. Beat egg whites with whisk attachment on high speed. Set aside.
- Sift flour with baking soda and salt. Set aside
- Chop chocolate and place in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and stir until melted.
- Cream butter with sugar.
- Add egg yolks one at a time until well combined.
- Pour in chocolate while mixing. Add vanilla.
- Add flour alternately with buttermilk, about 1/3 at a time, until combined and smooth.
- Fold in beaten egg whites.
- Divide between pans and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool 5 minutes in pan. Loosen edges and invert onto cooling racks. Cool completely before icing.
- Make icing:
- Whisk egg yolks, milk, vanilla together in a large sauce pan until eggs are combined. Add butter and sugar and turn pot over medium heat.
- Stirring constantly, bring mixture to boil. Cook about 12 minutes or until thickened and golden.
- Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Spread icing between layers of cake. Traditionally the sides of the cake are not iced, but left bare.
*Original recipe used shortening instead of butter in the cake and whipping cream instead of evaporated milk in the icing.