German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

It's chocolate and it's cake. But German Chocolate Cake is a pure American creation — the Germans had nothing to do with it.

The name comes from Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, which is still around today. It was called "German's" chocolate after Samuel German, who invented the sweetened chocolate while working for Baker's Chocolate, which was then owned by General Foods and is now owned by Kraft. It's a chocolate that includes sugar, which provides a shortcut for bakers.

It's one of our favorite cakes with its chocolaty layers slathered in the coconut pecan frosting.

OK, now we need to go make this cake.

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

2½ cups flour, sifted

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 ounces Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate

1 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

4 egg yolks

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 egg whites, chilled

Coconut Pecan Frosting (recipe below)

1. Heat the oven to 350 F.

2. Combine flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl, set aside.

3. With a double boiler or microwave, melt the chocolate and let cool.

4. With an electric mixer using a paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Continue mixing and add the egg yolks to the shortening mixture one at a time. Once the eggs are incorporated, add the melted chocolate.

5. In multiple batches, add the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Once combined, add the vanilla extract.

6. Place the egg whites into a separate bowl and whip on high with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.

7. Pour the mixture into 3 greased (8- or 9-inch) layer cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove cakes from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Turn out the cakes on cooling racks for further cooling.

8. Once completely cooled, add a generous layer of coconut pecan frosting to the top of one cake. Top with an additional layer of cake. Continue this step until all cake and frosting is used.

Coconut Pecan Frosting

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

½ diced, unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ cups coconut flakes

1 cup chopped pecans

1. Place evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla extract into a saucepan. Warm over medium heat until the butter melts. Stir occasionally. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 12 minutes.

2. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Add coconut flakes and pecans. With an electric mixer using a paddle attachment, beat until the frosting is thick enough to spread.