A German Chocolate Cake for “Apriltoberearthweberfest”

April 2011

There’s a German at work, and a man born on Earth Day.  Thus, with little rhyme or reason (well, Germans are an environmentally focused nation, no?), I slapped all those ideas into one new theme:  Apriltoberearthweberfest 2011 (celebrated just a bit before Earth Day for logistical reasons).  We had German beer, bratwurst, sauerkraut, schnitzel and other potluck provisions. 

For the dessert and birthday component, I added my version of a German Chocolate Cake.  I say “version” because my major tweaks were cocoa and coffee in the frosting.

German Chocolate with Pecans

Cake and Cake Stand

Little German Choc Cake

Slice and Glass Cover

German Chocolate Cake

Cake Ingredients

6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
6 Tablespoons Dutch-processed 100% cocoa powder
2/3 cup boiling water
2  2/3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup organic light brown sugar
2/3 cup Agave syrup
1 teaspoon salt
7 large, local, free-range eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting

2 24-oz cans of organic evaporated milk
7 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups organic light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped fine
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 Tablespoon instant coffee
1 Tablespoon cocoa
2 cups local, heavy whipping cream

For the Cake

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position, and heat the oven to 350 degrees  F.

Grease a 9-inch springform pan and line a glass 9×13 pan with parchment paper.

Whisk the chocolate, cocoa and boiling water in a bowl until smooth and let cool.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl.

With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, agave syrup and salt until combined.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture lightens in color and sticks to the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute.

Scrape down the bowl, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well to combine.

Reduce the speed to medium, and add the chocolate mixture and vanilla until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of sour cream, and mix until just combined.

Divide the batter amongst the two pans.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting

Whisk the evaporated milk, cornstarch, butter, brown sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until bubbling, about 3 minutes.  Add the instant coffee and cocoa, and mix well.  Continue to cook until the mixture is thickened, about 7 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat, and add the vanilla.

Assembly

Remove the round cake from the springform pan.  Slice it into two layers.  Add the frosting to the upper side of the base layer.  Sprinkle with the chopped pecans and coconut flakes.  Add the second layer of cake.  Frost the entire cake.  Sprinkle coconut flakes and chopped pecans.  Use larger pecan pieces for a garnish.

*Use the rectangular cake to create an alternative layer cake using only the chocolate frosting because Julia doesn’t like coconut flakes or nuts in her desserts (so she says). You probably have a Julia in your life too.

Rectangular Version

Happy Birthday Weber!

PS:  I had to leave the party a little early to look at a moped. More on that to come!

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