Akram's Ideas

German Chocolate Cake

Our next door neighbors have been rather sweet to us, and in return me and my husband decided to do something sweet for them. Thus, what would be better than making sweets.
One afternoon from across the fence, my husband made an inquiry as to what the couple liked in the way of sweets, and the response was “German Chocolate Cake”. Now I’d never made “German Chocolate Cake” before, but I have made other chocolate cakes, so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard. First I decided I wanted to be very authentic in my making of this classic dish, so I looked up a recipe online. I came across this one on Pinterest which originated from a website called Annie’s Eats, I liked some of the complex features of the recipe, such as making the egg whites and Chocolate Ganache frosting. The Rum syrup brushed on the cake seemed interesting as well, and since I like a challenge I decided to try this one out. 

Now whatever recipe I choose I knew I was going to have to make it sugar-free, because of the diets of the neighbors and because I usually make things sugar-free anyways for my husband (who can’t digest sugar). Therefore although I would follow the recipe I would substitute Splenda for sugar and Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate chips for all the chocolate.

I was quite pleased with myself as I embarked on this challenge to bake this seemly complex cake recipe. One of the things that made it complex was the making of a meringue (whipped egg whites) that would then be folded into the batter. This was unfortunately where I also feel it all went wrong. As I was folding the meringue I could help but feel I was more mixing them and that they kind of were separating apart. Also, I thought that the meringue would make the cake light and fluffy but that was not the case.

The egg whites
The egg whites

The recipe also indicated that the cake would take 40 minutes to bake, which I foolishly set the timer to and didn’t check it. Although the cake didn’t burn I couldn’t help but feel that it was dry and so flat. This recipe was to make a two 9 in cakes which could be sliced into a 4 layer cake. Now I’ve read that  using sugar substitute can affect the fullness of a cake, but this was really flat, not like other cakes I’ve made. After removing it from the oven you were to brush on this Rum syrup mixture on the cake. I went for a non-alcoholic version by using Rum extract instead. I don’t know what real Rum smells like but oh this Rum extract smelled awful, though I added the syrup like the recipe called for. Following the directions I made the coconut and pecan filling with success and then came the chocolate  ganache. I’d made a chocolate ganache before but I followed the instructions as they were written in this recipe, which had you cook the cream on the stove then pour over your chocolate, to melt it. I don’t know if the cream wasn’t hot enough or the chocolate too cold, but it did not melt the chocolate, so I was forced to microwave it a bit, which ended up making the frosting lumpy. By the time I assembled the cake I was so disheartened on  how it came out that I just drizzled the left over chocolate on the top of the cake. 

First German Chocolate Cake attempt
First German Chocolate Cake attempt

Trying to cheer me up, my hubby reminded me this was just a test cake, and we should might as well try it out. So we cut into it. I was a little bitter for my tastes and yes the frosting lumpy. Luckily the smelly rum syrup could not be smelt or tasted really, and the coconut / pecan filling was really good, and I don’t even care for coconut. It also turns out that this cake was even better topped with vanilla ice cream.

Slice of test cake
Slice of test cake

With the first cake being a loss, I decided to try again this time I found a recipe on the Joy of Baking’s website. This recipe was much similar and more chocolatey , since on top of the chocolate it included coco powered and coffee.Like before I substituted the chocolate for sugar-free chocolate chips, and since I didn’t have any coffee around I added Swiss Miss sugar free hot chocolate instead. 

German Chocolate Cake - Sugar Free adpation
Serves 14
German Chocolate Cake
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  1. 4 ounces Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
  2. 2 1/4 cups white flour
  3. 3/4 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1 cup lukewarm Swiss Miss Sugar Free Hot Chocolate
  7. 1 cup buttermilk
  8. 1 1/4 cups butter, room temperature
  9. 2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
  10. 5 large eggs, room temperature
  11. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Coconut Pecan Frosting
  1. 1 cup crush pecans
  2. 1 cup granulated white sugar
  3. 1 cup heavy cream
  4. 3 large (60 grams) egg yolks, lightly beaten
  5. 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
  6. 1 1/2 cups toasted unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  1. 8 oz. Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolate Chips (1 pkg.)
  2. 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  3. 3 tbsp. butter
  4. 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray your pans with cooking spray. I used two 9 inch round pans.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl melt your chocolate chips. Heat in small bursts until chocolate is melted.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the hot chocolate and buttermilk.
  5. In a separate bowl beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (this will take about three to five minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Then add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated.
  6. Add the hot chocolate/buttermilk mixture and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are mixed together.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes.
Coconut Pecan Filling
  1. In a frying pan on medium heat melt a tablespoon of butter, covering the bottom of the pan. Toss in the coconut and pecans. Stir a few minutes over heat to get them nice and toasty. The coconut should turn a slight golden color. Then remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, and when the mixture begins to boil and thicken, remove from heat (about 5 minutes). Stir in the pecan/coconut mixture and vanilla extract. Let cool until spreadable (about 30-60 minutes).
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  1. To make the icing, place the chocolate chips in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter; and microwave in small burst until the chocolate is almost melted.
  2. Heat the cream just until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until everything is throughly melted. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator or freezer until firm enough for decorating.
To Assemble
  1. Place on cake down then top with 2/3 of the coconut/pecan filling. Top the cake with the next cake layer. Frost the cakes using the chocolate ganache, make sure to frost the sides and top evenly.
  2. Pour the remainder of the coconut/pecan filling on the top of the cake, over the frosting. Try to keep the filling from going past the edge of the top.
  3. Using a frosting bag and tip, create a decorative border around the top of the cake to hold the filing in place. Add the border to the bottom for decoration.
  1. This cake is an adaptation from the Joy of Baking, by using sugar free substitutions. This cake also includes hot chocolate as opposed to coffee. Lastly there is an inclusion of a chocolate ganache frosting, to create a more finished elegant look.
Adapted from http://www.joyofbaking.com/GermanChocolateCake.html
Adapted from http://www.joyofbaking.com/GermanChocolateCake.html
Akram's Ideas https://akramsideas.com/
When I pulled this new cake  out of the oven, I was already pleased. The cake with more moist and much fluffier than the first cake. I used a bread knife to level out the tops of the cake, and by doing so got to sample a bit of the cake it self. It was so chocolatey and not at all bitter like the first cake. As the cake cooled I made the filling and the frosting like before. After everything had chilled it was time to assemble and frost the cake. 

Time to frost the cake
Time to frost the cake
Frosting the cake
Frosting the cake
Getting involved in the frosting
Getting involved in the frosting

After having too much fun frosting I was really happy how the final cake turned out. I hope the neighbors will enjoy this treat and that it is to their liking. All in all I can now say that I’ve made German Chocolate Cake.

The end results
The end results


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Akram Taghavi-Burris

designer, writer, educator, tech nerd, crafter, baker, sewer and vintage collector, who Brings Creative & Crazy Ides to Life.

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