I am in absolute awe of bakers. I’m not going to lie. I used to think baking was the “easier” of the two, between baking and cooking. I mean, all you need to do is follow directions. Measurements and methods are there, just mix it up and bake. It gets messy, and it takes time, but it’s not that hard, right? That was also the reason I hated baking – I don’t like measuring, and I like tasting my food, adjusting seasonings if necessary, before it gets served.
But, wow. Lately, I have a serious appreciation for bakers. After making this cake, I found myself wondering how all the bakers out there do what they do, as often as they do, and as well as they do it. I mean, I realize not every recipe is a layer cake and muffins and whatnot are easier to make. But, take for example, Annie. This girl is a doctor, a wife, a mom, and a ridiculously amazing baker. She is superwoman. How does she have time to do stuff like this? Me? Not so much. One layer cake per year is enough for me.
Anyway, back to this cake. My husband likes to taunt me, apparently, so he asked for German chocolate cake for this birthday this year, again. You remember what happened the first time I made it, right? Yeah. He couldn’t ask for the Boston cream pie I managed to turn out just fine, thankyouverymuch.
I went with a recipe I found on David Lebovitz’s site, though the recipe is actually from Mary Jo Thoresen of Chez Panisse fame. I apparently picked this cake because, in addition to being a non-baker, I’m also a masochist. It doesn’t just have cake and coconut-pecan filling. No no no. It’s got icing and a syrup, too. But actually the syrup is one of the things that drew me to this recipe. More sugar? Yes, please. And rum? Okay!
This cake took 7 bowls, 2 pans for toasting pecans and coconut, so many spatulas I lost count, a cake pan, a cooling rack, a cake stand, a cutting board, a KitchenAid mixer, a piping bag/tip, 3 saucepans, knives, and like 4 patridges in rather large pear trees. After I finished this cake, I was in serious need of a nap. And, even though I was cleaning as I was going along, I still found a mess at the end.
I only made half a recipe (one 9″, 2-layer cake) because we really don’t need a ginormous cake around since it’s just the two of us. It obviously didn’t look as towering and beautiful as it should have for that reason but also because, well, I suck at cake decorating. I may have used a little too much of the filling in between the cake layers and didn’t have enough for the top. My piping (a pretty horrible job on its own, actually) was like 2″ in from the cake instead of on the edge. Haha.
But that’s ok, really. Because here is the part you are waiting for: despite the full dishwasher and hideous piping…
The cake is incredibly moist. The syrup adds even more moistness and a little hint of rum. The coconut-pecan filling is absolutely the perfect consistency and has the right amount of sweetness, and the dark chocolate used throughout makes this so, so decadent. It is truly the best German chocolate cake I’ve had. And that’s saying a lot, because I’m not one to throw “best ever” around.
Since this cake already tired me out, I’m not going to retype the recipe. Just go here for the original recipe.
- The halved recipe (1 cake) took about 35 minutes to bake.
- I used sweetened coconut (since I already had half a bag handy) for the coconut-pecan filling. I found the amount of filling just a tad too little for my liking, so I may 1.5x the recipe next time.
- This makes a lot of rum syrup. I’d reduce it down next time.
- I added just a little powdered sugar (maybe 1-2T) to the icing. Without the sugar, it would have been fine for icing, but it wasn’t quite stiff enough for piping. I’m glad I added just a bit though because, well, I like sugar and what’s icing without it? :)
- I used bittersweet chocolate throughout, my husband’s favorite. With the exception of the icing (which doesn’t normally have added sugar), I definitely think that’s the way to go or even *I* might think this cake to be too sweet.