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German Chocolate Cake Part 3

by on August 9, 2008 · 16 comments

After posting last night’s German Chocolate Cake photo, I checked my email and discovered that I had the date wrong for the potluck. It’s tomorrow – not tonight. I was not about to take a two day old cake to a potluck, so I decided I’d cut into the cake today and share it with the neighbors.

Here’s a photo of the cake cut. Read on for what I’ve learned….

German Chocolate Cake

In my opinion, the recipe I used is too sweet. I realize cake is supposed to be sweet, but this was overly so — like Texas Sheet Cake, which I also don’t care for. So if you are okay with Texas Sheet Cake and have never had a problem with German Chocolate Cakes in the past, then you might as well stick with the original recipe which is similar to what I used and written on the box of German’s Chocolate. You’ll recognize the proportions of 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 cup all purpose or 2 1/2 cups cake flour etc.. From here on out, I will avoid these proportions — traditional or not.

Now I’m kind of glad I got the potluck dates mixed up because I can make a new and better cake. I’m thinking either another retro cake (Tunnel of Fudge?) or trying a better German Chocolate Cake recipe.
Here are a few German Chocolate Cake recipes that seem like they might be slightly less sweet, yet still have the characteristics of a traditional German Chocolate Cake.

If you have any great German Chocolate Cake recipes that aren’t too sweet (2 cups flour to 2 cups sugar) let me know!

Kraft’s Modernized Version — Calls for slightly less sugar. They’ve made it in a sheet pan for convenience, but I think it could still be made as a layer cake. Most of all, I like the proporions of ingredients.

German Chocolate Cake made with sauerkraut and frosted with German Chocolate Frosting – This one sounds interesting, less sweet and has sauerkraut. I can’t stand sauerkraut, but I think I’d like it in a cake! Not very traditional, though.

Allrecipes Cake – This one is similar to the traditional version but has ½ cup less sugar. It also has fewer eggs. I have a feeling it will still be on the sweet side.

David Lebovit’z cake – Sounds good, but the syrup is putting me off a little because I’m worried about it adding too much sweetness. Still, DL is trustworthy so maybe…

Epicurious Inside Out – This is too far from traditional. I know it’s a great cake, but it seems like a chocolate coconut cake and not really German chocolate.

Global Gourmet – Looks good, but makes a huge cake.

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Published on August 9, 2008

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel B. August 9, 2008 at 8:48 am

Ooo, Cook’s Illustrated also published an “improved” German chocolate cake recipe a few years back that you might be able to find. Their new versions of Texas Sheet Cake and Tunnel of Fudge, both recently published in Cook’s Country, were very rich and chocolately. So you might check them out for any of these recipes!

Rachel B. August 9, 2008 at 8:51 am

P.S. I bet Lebowitz’s version would be great, too, and that the chocolate ganache would balance out the syrup. I LOVE his ice cream book, “The Perfect Scoop.”

Erin Mylroie August 9, 2008 at 8:55 am

Anna:
I have a request. Before the summer is over, will you do another top 10 of your favorite recipes from this summer. I love seeing which ones were your favorites and I always try to make them all.
That sauerkraut cake sounds intriguing. I do like the stuff, and I know how veggies add moistness.

Clumbsy Cookie August 9, 2008 at 8:58 am

Well, since you got the dat wrong at least we could see the interior of it! Great research Anna! Hope you find a good recipe!

Sue August 9, 2008 at 8:59 am

Wow! Your cake is really pretty! You’re wise to pass on the Inside Out German Chocolate cake if you’re looking for something more retro. I would make that cake again, but I would make modifications. It was seriously over the top, but a good choice for a “special” birthday.

After reading Karen’s comments in a previous post related to your cake, I checked out the Cook’s Illustrated recipe and I think I might make that one next year for my husband’s birthday. It looks like they’ve upped the chocolate a little and made other changes to update it a little without making it into another cake entirely. I can’t wait to see which recipe you choose next and read your comments about it.

VeggieGirl August 9, 2008 at 9:05 am

Ahh, sorry that the cake was too sweet – it still looks perfect!!

How about this recipe??:

http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/printer/german-chocolate.htm

Joanna August 9, 2008 at 9:08 am

Hey Anna,

I have a recipe for a German Chocolate Crater Cake. One of my coworkers gave it to me to try, but I haven’t gotten around to it. He says he brings it to picnics and parties a lot and everyone loves it. It’s not made from scratch, but who knows, it might still be amazing. You could probably make your own cake from scratch and just follow the other steps. It’s not a traditional 2 layer cake, though.

German Chocolate Crater Cake

1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup flaked coconut
1 box German Chocolate Cake mix, prepared as on box directions
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese
1 (2.05 oz) Milky Way candy bar
3.4 cup evaporated milk
1.2 cup butter
1 16 oz box powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
2. Spray 9 X 13 baking dish with non-stick spray
3. Sprinkle pecans and coconut over bottom of baking dish
4. Prepare cake mix as on box. Pour over pecans and coconut.
5. Melt over low heat cream cheese and butter. Stir in powdered sugar and continue stirring until blended.
6. Pour or spoon cream cheese mixture over the cake batter.
7. Bake about 40-45 minutes.
8. While cake is baking, melt milky way candy bar in evaporated milk. Cool slightly.
9. When cake is baked, poke holes over the top with fork. Pour the chocolate cream over the top of cake.

Sarah August 9, 2008 at 9:28 am

Another vote for the Cooks Illustrated recipe.
You can find it at http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipes/cookbook/german_cake.html

Anna August 9, 2008 at 9:34 am

Rachel, thanks for the tips! I’ll see if I can find the CI recipes. Also, David’s recipe does look quite good.

Erin, I started working on one and will have it up next week :).

CC, every cloud has a German Chocolate Cake lining.

Sue — I’ll take that as another vote for the CI cake.

Veggiegirl, thanks so much for that link. When I saw “Fat Free Vegan” my first thought was “Uh Oh.” But when I looked at the recipe, it seemed very reasonable. It starts with a chocolate crazy cake which is not fat free, but vegan. The topping in the link had coconut milk which sounded interesting too.

Joanna, that’s a cake I will definitely make! This weekend I want to do something from scratch, though.

Katrina August 9, 2008 at 9:48 am

Wish I could help, but I’ve only ever made German Chocolate cake from a mix. ;(
I’m sure you’ll pick a great one. Can’t wait to see. The one in the picture looks great!

Anna August 9, 2008 at 9:50 am

Sarah, thanks so much for the link!

It looks like David got permission to print it verbatim from CI.

Also, in looking at the recipe, it seems CI has done the exact things I would have done if I had the time and money to test. They used less sugar and even incorporated a little brown sugar. They threw in some cocoa powder, used sour cream instead of milk and avoided the whole process of separating eggs and beating egg whites altogether. Hooray. This is what I will make.

It will be fun to try CI’s version against the traditional version side by side.

Hannah August 9, 2008 at 10:51 am

Well at least it rose and looks nice!
I hope the other one turn out to your liking better……….

Hannah

Chris C-L August 9, 2008 at 12:00 pm

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/German-Chocolate-Cake-III/Detail.aspx

I use this recipe for German Chocolate Cake. I up the amount of chocolate to 6 ounces, as one of the reviewers recommends. This is now the only chocolate cake I make. We love it around our house – with or without the coconut pecan frosting. We really like boiled frostint on it. I think that mixing the beat egg whites in at the end gives the cake an amazing texture. The one recommendation I have is to grease your pans really, really well on the bottom and line with parchment paper.

Anna August 9, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Chris,

that allrecipes.com cake that you make (and linked to) is almost identical to the one I just made prior to the CI cake. I think it IS identical, actually. I just love the texture and none of the other cakes compare. My problem is, it seems a little bit on the sweet side.

Upping the chocolate up to 6 oz seems like a good idea, but I’m worried that might make it even sweeter or possibly mushy. I guess if you like it that way, it’s not.

I was thinking of subtracting 1 tablespoon of sugar and adding in 1 tablespoon of cocoa.

At any rate, this is the best German Chocolate cake so far. Maybe I’m just too sensitive to sweet today.

I’m going to try one more time.

HeartofGlass August 9, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I saw the America’s Test Kitchen German Chocolate cake episode–I assume it’s the same as the CI or perhaps not…anyway it was a fun episode and even though I don’t like coconut, the cake looked quite good and they tried to reduce the sweetness by not using the traditional German’s chocolate

Anna August 9, 2008 at 6:49 pm

Well, cake number 3 is ready to go. It looks good and came together without any issues, but I’ll need to wait until my panel of expert taste testers make their decision tomorrow.

But I have learned that making a good German Chocolate Cake is not as easy as making a chocolate cake and applying coconut/pecan frosting.

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