Decadent German Chocolate Cake pairs an intense flourless chocolate cake with coconut and pecan frosting – insanely indulgent and sure to please a crowd!
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Hello everyone! As you may know, Liz and I are expecting a new member to join the Ready to Yumble crew here shortly, and we might possibly be using this fact as an excuse to make more decadent desserts than we might otherwise. But you know the ol’ adage: If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. So give this impressively decadent German chocolate cake a try (maybe for Mother’s Day?) to keep your loved ones happy!
Courting with Cake
The base of the dessert is a flourless chocolate cake, from a recipe that I have been enjoying for many years. In fact, I think this was the first real dessert I made Liz back when we were dating in college. Some local friends in Houston were nice enough to let me use their kitchen to cook, and in the process, I somehow killed their microwave. No idea how it happened, but it did. But because they are about the nicest people you will ever meet, they just shrugged and got a new microwave. No big deal. Hopefully you won’t have the same problem.
It’s pretty easy to put together, starting with combining the butter and chocolate in a double boiler (or a microwave, if that’s what you have available). Separately, you beat the eggs and sugar together, and then combine about 1/4 of the egg mixture to the chocolate to lighten the batter. For that addition, don’t worry about folding, just whisk it in until it’s fully incorporated. Once that’s done, you fold in the remainder of the eggs, and then cook in a water bath. Before you start this recipe, make sure you have a vessel large enough to contain a 9″ cake pan in a water bath. I had to resort to our big roasting dish (the one for roasting turkeys and the like). This is a recipe that I would insist that you begin with lining the cake pan with a parchment round. It will save you so much heartbreak later when it comes time to de-pan. Oh, and I should inform you, you’re going to making two of these lovely cakes. You did see the “decadent” in the title, right?
This flourless chocolate cake is usually served with a sweetened raspberry sauce accompanying it, and quite frankly, it’s a fantastic combination. Dark chocolate and raspberry are every bit as good a combination as chocolate and peanut butter, or chips and queso… and I’m going to stop there before I get REALLY hungry. But as good as that combination is, I was looking to go with something a bit more over the top. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing, right? Enter my favorite German Chocolate Cake frosting…
Adding frosting? Are you coco-nuts?
Liz absolutely loves German Chocolate Cake. And by that I mean the frosting. Typically I try to make it when she’s not in the house to avoid having to whack her with a spatula to stop snitching. And any remaining frosting? Well she’ll put it on waffles, pancakes, cookies, spoons… you get the idea. And who can really blame her? It’s delicious!
After combining, you heat the eggs, sugar, and cream until it hits 170 degrees, and then you add to the toasted coconut, pecans, butter, and salt. Mix until the butter is melted, and you have an even consistency. Then comes the hard part: you have to wait for it to cool down without eating all of it. I’d recommend leaving the house.
Once it’s cooled down, it’s time to assemble. Pretty self-explanatory – put one cake on the bottom, cover with a generous layer of frosting, top with the other cake, and repeat. If you’re looking for a bit smoother finish, you can do what’s called a “crumb coat”. Once you’ve placed the second cake, cover the top with a thin layer of frosting (or as thin as you can, as the coconut and nuts will make this a little more difficult than a buttercream frosting would). Once that’s done, put the cake in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes for the frosting to set up. Then apply the rest of the frosting. It should be easier to apply to the layer of slightly hardened frosting than to the cake itself. But if you are in a rush, you can certainly do this in one shot.
This may be a time for half measures…
If you’ve made it this far, you can tell that this isn’t exactly a light dessert. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but unless you having a bunch of people over to help you eat it, this dish can be a little much. (Luckily we had a dinner party to help us eat our cake – sadly that meant Liz couldn’t take photos of individual slices. Trust me, they were pretty.) But if you still want to make it (and I know you do), I have a couple suggestions. One is to half the recipe, cut the cake in half, and then layer the two halves so you end up with half a layered cake. Alternatively, you can make one cake, and then use a biscuit cutter or other round cutter to make small rounds to layer and frost. That’s what I did when I was experimenting with the recipe. Of course, in this method, you end up with some cake scraps, which you then have to store in an airtight container and eat as a snack. Oh darn. The point is, you can still make this dessert without worrying about having to run an ultra-marathon to work off the leftovers.
Hope all of you are having a great spring, and that you get to enjoy some awesome food this Mother’s Day!
- 24 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, cut into ½" cubes
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
- 1⅓ cups unsweetened coconut, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 9" cake pans with cooking spray and insert a 9" parchment round. Then spray the parchment and dust with flour, discarding the excess.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. Whisk as needed to combine. Alternatively, melt together in the microwave, starting with 30 second increments, and decreasing duration as the contents melt.
- In a stand mixer, combine the sugar and eggs and beat until pale yellow and thick, about 4 minutes. The beater should leave a ribbon when pulled from the mixture.
- Bring approximately 4 cups of water to a boil for your water bath.
- Add ¼ of the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
- Add the remainder of the egg mixture and fold until there is just a trace of egg remaining.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pans and shake the pans back and forth to release any air bubbles.
- Bake in a water bath for approximately 45 minutes. Depending on the size of your water bath, you may need to bake the two cakes separately. When the cakes are done, a tester will not come out clean, but the top should be set.
- Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- Run a thin blade around the exterior, and then invert onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment round.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Chop the pecans.
- Roast the pecans for 10 minutes, stir, and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 300 degrees.
- Roast the coconut flake for 3 minutes, stir, and roast for an additional 4 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Combine the pecans, coconut flake, salt, and butter in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks together in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Continue to heat as the mixture thickens and reached 170 degrees with an instant read thermometer.
- Remove the mixture from the heat, and immediately add to the other mixture. Stir until the butter is melted.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Place one cake on your serving dish. Apply a generous layer of frosting to the top and spread evenly.
- Top with the other cake, and frost the top with a thin layer of frosting.
- Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to allow the frosting to firm up.
- Apply the remaining frosting to the top. Store in the refrigerator until service.