“Don’t let the name fool you.  This cake is a slice of pure Americana.  The first known recipe, which appeared in a Dallas, Texas, newspaper in the 1950s, called for German’s Sweet Chocolate, a popular home-baking ingredient.” James Oseland

For the frosting:

1-1/2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 egg yolks

0ne 12 ounce can evaporated milk

1-1/2 cups roughly chopped pecans

a 7 ounce package sweetened coconut

For the cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus additional butter for greasing the pans

4 ounces German’s Sweet Chocolate, chopped

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1-1/2 cups sugar

4 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

4 egg whites


1.  Make the frosting:  Combine the sugar, butter, vanilla, egg yolks and evaporated milk in a 2 quart pot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thick, about 12 minutes.  Strain through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the pecans and coconut.  Chill the frosting in the refrigerator until firm.

2.  Meanwhile, bake the cakes:  Heat the oven to 350*.  Grease three 9 inch round cake pans with butter and line the bottoms with parchment circles.  Grease the parchment and set aside.  Put the chocolates into a small heat-proof bowl, pour in ½ cup boiling water, and let sit for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth and set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

3.  In a standing mixer, beat together 1-1/4 cups sugar and the butter until fluffy.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time.  Add the melted chocolate mixture and the vanilla and beat until smooth.  On a low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk until just combined.  Set the batter aside.

4.  Whip the egg whites to soft peaks.  Add the remaining sugar and whip to stiff peaks.  Fold the egg whites into the batter, divide between the pans and smooth the batter.  Bake until the cakes are set, 25 to 30 minutes.  Transfer the cakes to racks and let them cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and invert them onto racks to cool to room temperature.

5.  Assemble the cake:  Place one layer on a cake stand or a platter and spread one-third of the frosting over the top, leaving the sides bare.  Repeat with the next two layers.  Slice into wedges and serve.

from Saveur:  The New Comfort Food, edited by James Oseland

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