Happy birthday to me… I am twenty three! I would be lying if I said I didn’t like my own birthday. I always have loved celebrating my day. In grade school people would joke that my birthday lasted a week, but I couldn’t help it that my birthday fell during midterms and no one could celebrate on the actual day!
And yes, I did bake my own cake. It does not make my mother happy, she would much rather bake it and “surprise” me. See, the thing is I usually don’t bake cakes just to have them sitting around the house. I usually only bake them for special occasions. So when those occasions come around, I take full advantage of it… even if it is my own birthday.
This year I have decided to master the German Chocolate Cake. I have a friend who says he has the best recipe there is and it is his specialty, but I beg to differ. This recipe is far superior and undeniably, sinfully delicious. The rich chocolate cake topped with the crunchy pecans and sweet, flaky coconut was all a girl could ask for on her birthday.
- 1/4 cup nonalkalized cocoa
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee powder
- 1/3 cup boiling water
- 1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Coconut Pecan Filling
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecan toasted
- 2 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Generously grease two 8-inch round cake pans and caver the pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Grease the parchment rounds and dust the pans with flour, tapping out excess. Alternatively, you can use my Miracle Pan Release.
- Mix the cocoa and instant espresso powder in a small bowl. Add boiling water and mix until smooth. Let cool and then stir in buttermilk and vanilla.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter on medium high speed until smooth—30 seconds. Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy and almost white—3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating 1 minute after each egg.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- With the mixer on low, add about a third of the flour mixture to the batter. Follow immediately with about a third of the cocoa mixture. Repeat the process twice more.
- When the batter appears blended, stop the mixer, scrape sides with a rubber spatula, and return mixer to low speed. Beat until the batter is “satiny,” about 15 seconds.
- Divide batter evenly between two prepared pans. Using an offset spatula, smooth the tops. Tap pans to release any air bubbles.
- Bake for 23-30 minutes until they feel firm in the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (maybe a crumb or two on it).
- Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Filling
- Mix the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat in the butter, and then gradually beat in the cream and vanilla.
- Pour mixture into a medium, nonreactive saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Continue until puffy and begins to thicken and the temperature reaches 180° F on an instant read thermometer—15 to 20 minutes.
- Pour mixture into a medium bowl and cool to room temperature. Stir in pecans and coconut.
- Use a long serrated knife to cut the cakes in half horizontally so that each cake forms 2 layers.* Place 1 of the cake bottoms on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup filling over the cake half. Repeat stacking and filling process with the remaining filling and cake, ending with a final layer of filling. Cut the cake into slices and serve.
Recipe from Baking Illustrated
A nice little card from my bro