My sister celebrated a birthday recently, and since we both believe that sending a card or present across the country for this event is necessary, I’ve been trying to think of other ways to celebrate. You know — it’s the thought that counts sort of thing. Two years ago, I posted a tribute to her. Last year, my husband and I held a candle and snapped a photo in mid, “Happy Birthday to You…” and this year? I thought I’d make her a cake.
When I first thought of this, I really didn’t think she liked any type of cake, but I asked to make sure. After all, if someone who doesn’t really enjoy cake is going to have to appreciate a cake they’ll never get to taste, then it should at least seem appealing to them, don’t you think?
Not only did I get a response from her, I got three: Angel food, German Chocolate, and cheesecake with coffee. The mention of angel food brought back memories of a cake she introduced me to, and that’s saying quite a bit because my sister doesn’t really enjoy cooking. So I thought about recreating that cake, but decided to save it for another time. Cheesecake is something I adore and make several times a year, so I passed on that one quickly. But German Chocolate cake?
Really? Call me completely surprised! My thinking about German Chocolate cake is wrapped in memories of a gooey exterior hiding a dry cake that isn’t chocolate enough. It always seemed rude that the frosting promised something quite flavorful inside, yet it never lived up to my expectations. But I seem to be in the minority because no sooner had I begun to mention that I was going to make a German Chocolate cake, that I found out it’s not only enjoyed my many — it’s a favorite.
Another surprise was finding out there’s nothing actually German about this cake. It’s named after Sam German who created Baker’s Sweet Chocolate. A Texas homemaker sent the now familiar recipe for German Chocolate Cake to a newspaper in 1957, and General Mills sent the recipe to newspapers all over the country.
My search for the perfect recipe sent me to David Lebovitz’ site first, but after a quick scan of the ingredients listed, I realized I didn’t have buttermilk. Next stop was epicurious. I couldn’t get past the idea of what they described as an “inside out” cake. Evidently, a few people had decided it was a darn good cake since there were 236 reviews, most of which were raves.
The problem I had with that recipe was the Dutch-processed cocoa. I can’t tell you how many stores I’ve searched in and have just decided to not deal with it anymore. Yes, there’s a conversion for using regular cocoa, but it’s not advised. And when it comes right down to it, there are just about as many recipes for chocolate cake out there as there are renditions of German Chocolate cake.
So guess what? I made it my own, of course. Sheer chocolate-coconut-dulce-de-leche-almond-crunchy-but-moist heaven.
Happy Birthday Lori! This is your birthday song — it isn’t very long…