German Chocolate Cake Exposed

Everyday life has been taking up all of my time, which means I haven’t had time to bake, haven't had time to blog and found myself needing to buy a cake for my very own mother’s birthday.

After accepting the fact that there was just no way I could manage to bake a German chocolate cake for Sunday if I was leaving directly from work Friday to go wakeboarding all weekend, I started to call around on my lunch break to find a bakery that would make a great German chocolate birthday cake.

After calling three bakeries I found a place that actually made authentic German Chocolate Cakes. The first place, an upscale grocery store that will remain nameless said, “we don’t have the ingredients to make a German chocolate cake”, the second place, an independent bakery, tried to trick me by replying to my request for a German chocolate cake with, “…so we'll make a devil’s food cake with…”. Turns out they don't actually make German chocolate cake. OK, third times the charm- Creekside Bakery in Novato, CA made me a wonderful traditional German Chocolate Cake.

The first time I made a German chocolate cake was a few years ago, and it of course got me researching chocolate and what German chocolate is really all about. And now young scholars, I pass this knowledge on to you:

A Brief History
  • German chocolate was actually created by a man named Samuel German. (Much less romantic then what you expected the origin of the name to be, huh?)
  • It only has 48% cocoa liquor (generally less than semi-sweet) and has added white sugar
  • Mr. German created this chocolate mixture in 1852 because he thought it would be convenient for bakers
  • The German chocolate cake gained popularity when a recipe appeared in the 1950s in a Dallas newspaper
Turns out this chocolate is quite convenient if you want to make a traditional German Chocolate Cake (recipe from the Bakers' box).

Though an authentic German chocolate cake leaves the sides of the cake exposed to show the beautiful frosting layers of caramel, pecan, coconut goodness, I frosted the sides of the cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting (and so did the bakery that I bought my mom’s birthday cake from-go team!) You can never have too much of a good thing (frosting) when it comes to baking.

Not only is baking your own cake generally less expensive than buying one, it’s also much more satisfying to eat and share with your friends and family (at least if you’re a baker!)  But, overall this purchase worked out great- we had a delicious birthday cake after a great dinner and the only thing I had to worry about was getting to the baker before closing on Sunday.

...What else can you use German chocolate for? I’m glad you asked.

Try making chocolate peanut butter bomb cookies, yet another variation on my peanut butter cookies in which you omit the chocolate chunks in the cookie batter. Instead melt Bakers' German chocolate in a double boiler, adding in a tablespoon of light corn syrup once it has melted. Peanut butter cookies should be chilled, and the melted chocolate should be some-what cooled. Completely cover the peanut butter cookies with the melted chocolate and place on a cooling rack on a plate. Place it in the fridge to completely chill the chocolate coating. Once the chocolate has set, the cookies are ready to eat. They are best kept in the fridge so they don’t get to messy. I'd love to hear of other great recipes that call for German chocolate...

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