Saturday, November 26, 2011

German Chocolate Birthday Cake

Happy post-thanksgiving everyone!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday.  It was a lovely one up here in Boston.  So much food, so much cooking, and of course the family and friends.  All of the fixings for a good day.

So now Thanksgiving is over and we are on the fast track to Christmas.  Whew.  It's flying by isn't it?

Before we get to Christmas however, there is something else important happening...

Today is my dear friend Joseph Esch's 21st birthday!  Mr. Esch and I met way back when in the 5th grade (when I was a cute little tub of lard) and the friendship lasted through the wild junior high and high school years.  It seems like forever ago.

Since I couldn't be with him today to celebrate the big day...I decided to make him a cake.  A German Chocolate Cake to be exact.  A little birdie told me he had been craving one lately.  Or...he told me when I blatantly asked him a week or so ago.  And while it might not have been the nicest thing for me to make him a cake that he couldn't eat...I still wanted to do something to celebrate.

So, *Joseph-This is a promise that I will make you a German Chocolate Cake the next time we happen to be in the same city, or the same state for that matter.*

 German Chocolate Birthday Cake
from David Lebovitz
Ingredients: for one 3 layer 9 inch cake

for the cake:
  • 2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the filling:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted
for the syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum 
for the icing:
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
 1. Butter three 9-inch pans and line the bottom with rounds of parchment.  Preheat oven to 350°.
2. For the cake: melt both chocolates and 6 tablespoons of water using a double-boiler or microwave.  3. Stir until smooth and set aside.

4. With a mixer beat butter and 1 1/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in melted chocolate and then egg yolks, one at a time.

 5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

 6. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.

 7. Then the buttermilk.

 8. And the vanilla.  Follow the vanilla with the rest of the dry ingredients.  Mix until well combined.

9. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they hold soft droopy peaks.  Beat in the 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff.
10. Fold egg whites into the batter.
11. Divide batter into the 3 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops and bake for about 45 minutes.  Or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool layers completely when done baking.

12. While the cake is baking prepare the filling, syrup, and icing.
13. For the filling: Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan.  
14. Put 3 ounces of butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.
15. Heat cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon.
15. Pour the cream mixture immediately over the pecan mixture and stir until butter is melted.  Set aside to cool.

16. For the syrup: heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted.  Remove from heat and stir in dark rum.  Set aside.

17. For the icing: Combine 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with corn syrup and 1 1/2 ounces of butter.
18. Heat cream until it just begins to boil.  Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let stand for a minute and then stir until smooth.  Let cool to room temperature.

 19. To assemble: place one layer top side down.  Generously brush the top with syrup.  Top with filling.  Continue with the next layers.
20. Frost the sides with the chocolate frosting.
21. Top with the filling and add any decorative touches that make your heart sing.

22. Finally ready to eat!
23. Time to dig in and go tell Joseph Esch Happy Birthday!

*Just so you're not confused...the pictures show a smaller cake but the recipe is for a much larger one!*


  1. Hi Emilie, I haven't used bittersweet chocolate, only chips. Is there a brand you like?

  2. I usually use Baker's! Semisweet chips would also work.


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