I have never claimed to be a master baker. I’ll be honest, most of my experience with baking has come out of a box, and the frosting out of a container. Not today, folks. I switched my schedule up a little bit from what I had planned. This week was supposed to be apple pie, but I’m not quite in a fall mood yet. So today I made German Chocolate Cake, complete with coconut-pecan frosting. Yes, all homemade. By myself (mostly). I had to consult my wife on a few suggestions, but nothing too major.
First I started by searching for a recipe. The one that I found looked old, so I figured it had to be good, right? The website I found the recipe on also has a history on German(‘s) Chocolate Cake, which is pretty interesting. So I went to the store and picked up the ingredients I needed. As soon as I got home, I started baking. I had read through the recipe (maybe a little fast) and it seemed pretty simple. Well, it was…at the beginning.
I first melted the chocolate. Then I beat the butter, sugar, and egg yolks. After that, I added in the melted chocolate and vanilla. The next step was to use a tool that I had never used before: a sifter. Granted, it’s not a super technical piece of equipment. I just wasn’t sure why I needed to use it. I actually still don’t…I just went ahead and did what I was told. The dry ingredients and buttermilk went in and I blended it all together. On another note, if you like to cook/bake and don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer, I highly recommend it.
I moved the chocolate mixture to another bowl and proceeded to beat the egg whites until they started to form soft peaks (I had no idea what that meant – my wife pointed it out to me when it started happening in the bowl and it made sense). While the egg whites were beating, I took a sheet of parchment paper and traced the bottom of the cake pans so that I could put them in the bottoms of the pans before I put them in the oven (this was a suggestion from my wife, and the recipe itself actually). At the advice of my wife, because these were relatively cheap pans, I also sprayed non-stick cooking spray on the insides so the cake wouldn’t stick. I folded the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and then poured the batter (mostly) evenly between the three pans.
By this point, I think I’m doing pretty well. I have the cake pans in the oven, waiting for them to cook, and doing my dishes. The timer goes off and I go to pull the cakes out of the oven. Two out of the 3 cakes had fallen and looked like one of those sinkholes you see in the news. I’m down, but not out. If I followed the recipe, they should at least taste good, right? So I pull the cakes out and flip them out of the pans, carefully removing the parchment paper, to let them cool.
While the cakes are cooling, I whip up the frosting. It was pretty uneventful. The only downside is that you have to wait for it to cool before you put it on the cake. It took about 2 hours to cool off enough to apply it to the cake.
To the left, you will see the final product. The total time for this project, from grocery purchasing to consumption, was about seven hours. This is definitely not a recipe you do on the fly. Obviously my baking skills aren’t quite there yet, but it’s something to work on. And even though it didn’t look as I was hoping it would, it still tasted pretty good with a tall glass of milk.