Feb 10 08
by cara
at 9:27 PM
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Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake

Pecans, coconut, and chocolate are all favorites of mine.  Any dessert that contains all of these things is a match made in heaven, in my opinion.  I wanted to tackle a layer cake this week, and when I ran across this recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook for Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake, I knew I had to try it.  I’ve made one or two layer cakes before, but I have by no means mastered the technique.

In this case, the recipe itself is daunting.  This is definitely not a weeknight cake–best left for the weekend or a day off, as it is very time consuming.  Baking the cake layers, chopping and toasting of the coconut and pecans, an hour and a half for the dulce de leche, refrigerating the chocolate glaze for an hour, refrigerating the cake for an hour before serving….there were lots of steps and lots of waiting.  The final assembly of the cake itself was tricky.

So was all that work worth it?  I’d say yes.  The cake turned out light and moist, and with a delicious chocolate flavor.  The cake itself was so good that I’ll probably be using this part of the recipe again for cupcakes and other chocolate cake variations.  Toasted coconut and toasted pecans are always delicious.

What were the downsides?  The dulce de leche didn’t seem like anything special to me, and I think I prefer a chocolate ganache made with cream, like the one used on the Creamy Nutella Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache and Toasted Hazelnuts.  But all in all, this was a delicious cake, and once I have more experience assembling a layer cake, I hope I can make it look beautiful as well.


Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake

from The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl

Serves 12

For Cake Layers:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

For Filling:

  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For Glaze:

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Make the Cake Layers: Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Oil cake pans and line bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper.

Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk together milk, butter, egg, yolk, and extracts in a medium bowl until just combined.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture, beating with an electric mixture at low speed, then increase speed to high and beat for 1 minute.  Reduce speed to low and mix in boiling water until just combined (batter will be thin).

Divide batter among cake pans and smooth tops.  Place two pans in upper third of oven and one pan in bottom third (do not put top pans directly above bottom pan) and bake, switching position of pans and turning them around halfway through baking, until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes total.

Transfer pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.  Run a think knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.

Make the filling while the layers cool:  Spread coconut on a baking sheet with sides and spread pecans on another sheet.  Toast coconut in lower third and pecans in upper third of oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 18 minutes.  Transfer sheets to racks to cool.  Put a rack in middle of oven and increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

Pour condensed milk into pie plate and cover tightly with foil.  Put pie plate in larger baking pan, add enough boiling water to reach halfway up sides of pie plate, and bake for 45 minutes.

Add more boiling water as needed to reach halfway up sides of pie plate and bake, still covered, until milk is thick and brown, about 45 minutes more.

Remove pie plate from water bath.  Stir coconut, pecans, and vanilla into baked milk and keep warm, covered with foil.

Meanwhile, make the glaze:  Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan.  Remove from heat, add chocolate and corn syrup, and whisk until chocolate is melted.  Transfer 1 cup glaze to a bowl and set remaining glaze aside in pan.  Refrigerate glaze in bowl, stirring occasionally, until thickened and spreadable, about 1 hour.

Assemble the cake:  For easier handling, put bottom cake layer upside down on a cardboard cake round or removable bottom of a tart or cake pan and place on a rack.  Set rack over a baking pan, to catch excess glaze.  Drop half of coconut filling by spoonfuls evenly over layer and gently spread with a wet spatula.  Top with another cake layer and spread with remaining filling in same manner.  Top with remaining cake layer.  Spread chilled glaze evenly over top and sides of cake.

Heat reserved glaze in pan over low heat, stirring, until glossy and pourable, about 1 minute.  Pour glaze evenly over top of cake, making sure it coats sides evenly.  Shake rack gently to smooth glaze.  Refrigerate cake until glaze is firm, about 1 hour.  Transfer cake to a plate before serving.

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