In the 70s, when I was in high school, I had an affinity for collecting recipes. I carefully saved newspaper and magazine recipe clippings, cut out recipes that were on the back of store-bought goods, and scribbled down recipes that I happened upon. All of these recipes were carefully stapled or taped on 6 x 4 index cards. I kept the cards in a nifty cedar recipe box, and there they safely stayed for, oh, about 30 years.
One of the recipes I collected in the 70s was Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake and Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting. It’s stored behind the duo Christmas Rainbow Poke Cake and Rave Reviews Coconut Cake index card, and it’s stapled on the same card as a Decorated Layer Cake, which I’m sure I clipped because the recipe called for lots of M&M candies. Every year, when it’s time to think about holiday cooking, I pull out my recipe box and sift through my collection of index cards, but I never make any of the recipes. I have a list of tried and true cookies and that’s what I bake.
Over the last couple of years, my collection of recipes started to haunt me. It occurred to me that I collected recipes all of my adult life, and part of my childhood, yet I never made any of them.
Two years ago, on my dad’s birthday, I decided to make the 1970s version of German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake. When I picked up the Baker’s German’s Chocolate, I noticed that the recipe wasn’t exactly the same as my 1970s version. Still, I was set on making the recipe I collected so long ago.
There were a few people over that day for my dad’s birthday. We all like German Chocolate Cake, but it’s my dad’s favorite cake, and it was his birthday cake. It was a beautiful cake, but it tasted as old and stale as the recipe card that it was taped on for all those years. I’m not sure why it tasted so, well, bad, but I think it was a combination of too much flour and salt, not enough sugar, and baking powder. It was disappointing, to say the least, especially after waiting so long to try it. Everyone was disappointed, and the cake was thrown away.
That was two years ago, and I decided it was finally time to get over it. I picked up another box of Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, and this time, I made the recipe on the box. The ingredients and the method were significantly different from the 1970s version. The baking powder was gone, the salt and flour reduced, and the egg yolks were separated from the whites; the whites beat until stiff peaks formed. It was an awesome cake, and we all enjoyed it.
The 1970s version of the recipe is once again safely stored in my recipe box; I just couldn’t part with it (sigh). It’s safely hidden right behind the 2010 version.
Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake and Coconut-Pecan Frosting Recipe
Prep: 30 minutes plus cooling time (2 hours total)
Cook: 30 minutes
- 1 package (4 ounces) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate
- ½ cup water
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cover bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round pans with waxed paper; spray sides with cooking spray. Microwave chocolate and water in a large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-½ to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
2. Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high-speed until stiff peaks form; set aside. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.
3. Add egg whites; stir gently until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
4. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small spatula around cakes in pans. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Spread Coconut-pecan Filling and Frosting between cake layers and onto the top of cake.
Coconut-Pecan Frosting Recipe
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
- 4 egg yolks
- 1-can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1½ cups sugar
- ¾ butter or margarine
- 1 package (7 ounces) Baker’s Angel Flake coconut (about 2⅔ cup)
- 1½ cups Planters Chopped Pecans
1. Beat egg yolks, milk, and vanilla in large saucepan with whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat, 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown; stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
2. Add coconut and nuts; mix well. Cool.
YIELD: 16 servings of frosted cake (not in my house)