Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cupcakin's First - German Chocolate Icing

I love making birthday desserts - and I've recently discovered my love of making cakes (thanks to my new non-stick, Williams-Sonoma 8" pan!) It has taken some practice, but now my cakes don't cave in, causing my med student fiance to re-engineer them using icing as gauze and butter knives as scalpels. What can I say, I'm a cupcake girl - cakes are new to me! This German chocolate cake was my first success.

Now, whether it is a faux pas in the baking world or not, I used the Duncan Heines cake mix for the cake part. People always remark how moist and rich my cakes are when I use their mix. I like it a lot better than Betty Crocker.

To make absolutely sure this cake wouldn't cave in, I cut the tops with a sharp knife to make them perfectly level (not rounded). What that revealed was tiny air-pockets that had formed in the cake's foundation. Upon some investigation, I learned that air pockets not only jeopardize the structural integrity (and thus the likelihood of a cave-in... or cake-in as we bakers might say!) but are also a sign of over-mixing. I always thought that you couldn't go wrong my mixing at a high speed, but apparently, medium speed is best over all - according to Duncan Heines, the alotted time for mixing on medium speed is 2 minutes. Eureka!

While I was letting my cake cool, I moved onto the icing, which was suprisingly complicated and not well-explained online. Here is the recipe I used from
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 cup margarine (I used butter instead!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
You are supposed to cook these ingredients in a saucepan over low heat (adding the pecans and coconut after the other ingredients are combined). What I could not seem to get a straight answer online about was how long you cook it or what the consistency should be when it's done. After all, it calls for raw eggs... I don't want to poison the birthday boy!

Here's what I did - I stirred in all ingredients and let it sit on very low heat, stirring it again every 5 minutes. I continued this for 20 minutes, careful to not let the bottom burn. I found the consistency of the above recipes to be a little watery, so I added extra coconut and sugar. This made it very sweet - but that's what you're going for with German Chocolate Cake!

Every stove/oven is different. Allrecipes put the cook time at 15 minutes. I probably cooked mine for 25 minutes total, adding more coconut as needed. Then, I let the entire mix cool completely (for about an hour). Applied it to the cake and refrigerated the cake. It did not melt or lose its structure and still tasted good even though it was refrigerated.

Not sure I would make this again, unless it was specifically requested... it was too sweet for my taste. Maybe if the cake were a straight dark chocolate flavor it would be a richer contrast to the super sweet icing....

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