Sister’s Mother-in-law’s Baker’s German’s Chocolate Cake

Hello readers!  I’m Lara, older sister of Amy, the east coast half of lace and lemons.  Amy’s recent wedding made me think back on my seven years of marriage, and one of the important lessons I’ve learned:

Chances are, your husband has a strong attachment to some of his mom’s favorite dishes.  The beef stroganoff she slowly cooked to perfection or the Oreo dessert that, even now, makes him drool as he thinks of it.  For your sanity as a bride and daughter-in-law, figure out which of these dishes you can recreate for him . . .and which are best left for his mama to make.

In my husband’s family, birthdays are almost always an occasion celebrated with German Chocolate Cake.  I decided that this was a dessert I could recreate!

First of all, a word about what is, and is not, German Chocolate Cake.  This cake is actually a torte, with three chocolate cake layers filled and topped with coconut pecan topping.  There is no chocolate frosting involved, and there is no icing on the sides of the cake.

NOT a true German Chocolate Cake

Also, it has nothing to do with Germany (though you may serve it after a meal of viener schnitzel and sauerkraut if you wish).  The chocolate used in the cake is actually Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, invented in 1852 by a man named Samuel German.  And the cake recipe was submitted to a newspaper by a Dallas, TX housewife in 1957.  This recipe, with few changes, has been printed on the wrapper of the chocolate for many years.

The good stuff

Now, normally I am not a “from scratch” kind of baker, especially when a recipe results in so many dirty dishes and utensils (which this one does).  BUT….this cake is fantastic!  The cake layers themselves are so chocolatey and moist, and the coconut pecan topping is so good I always worry I won’t have enough for the cake (as I usually sample a good bit of it as I cook it).  Plus there is a ton of butter in it, and who doesn’t love that?

Does this cake take a lot of effort?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  Yes!  Does my husband think my cake is as good as his mother’s?  Yes!  At least, he says he does. 🙂

So here is the recipe for true German Chocolate Cake:

1 pkg (4 oz) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate  (Sometimes this can be tricky to find.  While my local grocery stores seem to stock it around Thanksgiving/Christmas, the only place I can find it other times of the year is Wal Mart)

½ cup water

2 cups flour, sifted (or 2 ½ cups cake flour)

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened.

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup buttermilk (you can substitute by using 1 cup of milk with 1 Tblsp of vinegar or lemon juice added, and let stand for 10 minutes; but the texture of real buttermilk makes it worth buying)


– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (I usually turn my oven on half way through making the cake batter, as it takes a while before you’re putting anything in the oven).

– Grease the sides and bottoms of 3 9-in cake pans.  Cut out wax paper circles to cover the bottoms of the pans.  Press circles into the pans to get them covered with Crisco, then flip and press down again.  This keeps the cakes from sticking to the pans and hopefully makes the wax paper easier to remove from the cakes.



– Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on high 1 ½ to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

– Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

– Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer) on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla.


– Add the flour mixture to the batter alternately with the buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

– Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with electric mixer (I use my hand mixer) on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Gently stir into batter.

Yikes! More dirty dishes!

– Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans.


– Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.  Immediately run a butter knife around the cake edges to separate them from the pans.  Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes, then remove layers to wire racks (peel off the wax paper, obviously) to cool completely.

Coconut Pecan Filling:

4 egg yolks

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed!)

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter

1 pkg (7 oz) flake coconut

1 ½ cups chopped pecans

– Beat egg yolks, evaporated milk, and vanilla in large saucepan with wire whisk until well blended.  Add sugar and butter and cook on medium heat for 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

– Add coconut and nuts; mix well.  Cool to desired spreading consistency (I usually put the pot in the refrigerator for an hour or so)

Soooo good…but more dirty dishes!

Finally, spread the coconut pecan filling between the layers of cake and on the top of the cake.  Then watch as your husband (and children) devour the cake and shower you with compliments! 🙂

A little toasty on the sides of the cake, but scrumptious none the less.

I love mommy’s cake!


4 responses

  1. Lara-this is a fantastic blog-I am glad I happened to scroll through Facebook tonight and saw it! One trick that I learned from my great-aunt Edna for the flour-always use cake flour for a cake and sift it several times after first spooning the flour into your measuring cups. The times I don’t follow this-the cake is much heavier in texture!

  2. Pingback: Simple and Sweet | lace and lemons

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