Back in August 2008, after mentioning that German Chocolate Cake wasn’t German but rather Texan in origin and named after a chocolate company executive, I went on a German Chocolate Cake baking spree.
First, I looked at the German Chocolate Cake recipe from Kraft – who now owns German’s Sweet chocolate. I could have done things the easy way and started with their back-of-the-box version, but they’ve changed it in the past 10 years and while it’s easier to make (no egg white folding), it’s different than the one my grandmother made. So rather than make the convenient version first, I looked for a recipe from someone who seemed informed on the subject (my grandma’s dead) and chose this recipe, which had a pictorial. It looked good and was almost identical to a recipe by an authority on the subject, Jean Anderson, who wrote about it in the American Century Cookbook.
The cake was delicious, but a little too sweet for my tastes, so I decided to try another recipe. Several people recommended a Cooks Illustrated version posted on David Leite’s site, so I tried that one next. It was excellent, but not really like the cake I grew up on in Texas. Along with missing the buttermilk flavor, I also wondered if a cake without German’s Chocolate could really be considered German Chocolate Cake. Well, sure it could. But it didn’t seem right even though the CI cake is terrifc. Incidentally, the German Chocolate Cake served at Gramery Tavern is **INCREDIBLE** but nothing like the original, either. Sometimes I like to try to stay close to the original.
Cake number 3, my final version and one that turned out to be a hit at a potluck, was the traditional version (the one I made first from the site with the pictures), but with changes I thought would improve it such as
1. the subtraction of sugar
2. the addition of a little cocoa powder and
3. an increase in the amount of salt.
The third cake was wonderful, but I haven’t made it since and am posting this because a) I’ve been craving German Chocolate Cake and might try another one on Friday and b) I noticed all of my German Chocolate Cake recipe were never indexed here on Cookie Madness but rather buried in uncategorized archives where only the intrepid German Chocolate Cake web searchers would find them.
So if you’re thinking about a holiday cake and German Chocolate sounds good, there are four links within this post to try – Kraft’s recipe, A traditional and Sweet version from a site with a pictorial, Cooks Illustrated’s version as posted on David Leite’s site, and my final version which was a reduced sugar, increased unsweetened chocolate (in the form of cocoa powder) version of the one from the pictorial.
I’m hoping by this weekend I have a new one.