German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting

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I love to celebrate my birthday.  I have a few different parties throughout the month with my hubby and friends and I enjoy every minute of it!  I think one should always celebrate birthdays in style.  I mean, it’s your day!  Before I became this passionate with cooking and also before I had my own kitchen, I usually bought nice cakes from bakeries for each celebration, since I love desserts.  This year, my husband suggested the same thing to me and offered to purchase a nice cake for me so that I didn’t have to spend the time to make it.  He also said that I shouldn’t have to bake my own birthday cake!  But, the difference was, I wanted to make my own cake!

I love chocolate and anything to do with chocolate so I decided to make a German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting, a dessert that I have been meaning to make for a while now.  The real kicker in the recipe is the toasted pecans as it adds an additional layer of flavour and texture with ever slice…. or two!  Also what is special in this cake is a secret section of cake that had toasted almonds instead of pecans specifically tailored for my husband since he is allergic to pecans.  This was so that I can still have my cake and eat it too and also include my dear hubby in my birthday cake celebration.  Probably not a safe game you’d like to play with food allergies to pecans, but I keep an extremely clean kitchen, and with careful techniques I can ensure no cross contamination!

The cake was a success and nothing was left over even after my birthday feast.  I would recommend it to anyone!

German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting

Grocery list

12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups strong brewed black coffee, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup goat’s milk (or additional whole milk)
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds reserved
2 tbsp corn syrup
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
1/2tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Coconut Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup cream of coconut
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Preheat oven to 325oF.  Butter and flour two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper (alternatively, you can also use cooking spray such as PAM butter).  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Melt the 12 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat, add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and whisk until dissolved.  Add the coffee, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract and continue whisking until smooth and just combined.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the round cake pans and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.  Cool the pans on a rack for 20 minutes then run a small knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake and invert the cakes onto the rack.  Remove the parchment paper and let cool for at least 1 hour before frosting.

Make the Frosting:  Combine the whole milk, coconut milk, and goat’s milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.  Keep warm while you prepare the caramel.  Combine the sugar and ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook without stirring for 8 – 10 minutes (it should turn a deep amber color).  Slowly whisk in the warm milk mixture and continue whisking until smooth.  Add vanilla seeds and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce is reduced by half and resembles the consistency of a caramel sauce (approx 55 minutes).

Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla extract and salt.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the pecans and shredded coconut.  Let the frosting cool to room temperature, stirring it occasionally, before frosting the cake.

Slice each cake in half horizontally.  Reserve one of the flat bottom layers for the top of the cake. Place one cake layer on a cardboard cake round cut-side up and spread 1/3 of the Frosting evenly over the top.  Repeat this step for two more cake layers, stacking each one cut-side up.  Top with the reserved cake layer, cut-side down.

Make the Ganache:  Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Put the bittersweet chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; add the hot cream and corn syrup and let sit for 30 seconds.  Gently whisk until smooth, then let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Set the cake (with the cardboard round) on a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet.  Pour the Ganache over the cake, letting the excess drip down the sides.  Sprinkle the top with toasted coconut and pecans.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing (but not more than 4 hours).

Make the Coconut Whipped Cream:  Combine all of the ingredients for Coconut Whipped Cream and whisk until soft peaks form.

Slice the cake and serve with a dollop of Coconut Whipped Cream.

German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting


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