Grandma's German Chocolate Cake

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This recipe was a hit at our easter dinner party.  Decadent, HUGE, and a combination of chocolate, pecans, coconut...and perfectly paired with vanilla ice cream and a little whipped cream.

Grandma's German Chocolate Cake

Coconut-Pecan Filling

3 cups sugar
3 sticks butter (unsalted)
3 cups evaporated milk
12 egg yolks, beaten
3 cups flaked sweetened coconut
3 cups chopped pecans (the smaller the pieces, the better the frosting adheres, I would do more of a mince)
3 tsp vanilla extract


2 1/3 cups AP Flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

Filling:  Combine and stir together first four ingredients into saucepan, and cook over medium heat until thickened.  Cool for 20 minutes, then add coconut, pecans and vanilla.

Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using 3 9-10" round cake pans, liberally apply softened butter to thinly coat inside and sides of pan, and then dust with flour to create a non-stick barrier between batter and baking pan.

Then, sift all dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl (first seven ingredients).

 Separately, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and coffee.  Then combine with dry ingredients, and stir to combine.  Lastly, add melted butter, and incorporate.

  Pour cake batter equally into 3 baking pans and then tap pans on counter to remove bubbles.  Bake 20-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out of middle of cake cleanly, with no batter attached.  Let cakes cook in pan for 10 minutes, and then invert onto cooling racks and allow to come to room temperature.

Assembly:  If cakes have rounded tops, carefully "level" them with a serrated or bread knife, and discard (or eat!).

** A nice and neat way to frost a cake is to lay two or three pieces of parchment or wax paper under the bottom layer of cake, on the plate or cake stand until frosting is complete.  Once cake is frosted, carefully and gently remove the paper to reveal a clean plate!

So, next I layed down 3 overlapping pieces of parchment under the bottom layer.

Then, with a thin spatula, spread an even layer of frosting on bottom layer, and then place second layer on top.  Do the same with the second layer, and add top layer of cake.  Add frosting to top and sides until even coat is achieved.  My nuts were heavier than I would have liked, so they tended to slide off the sides of the cake, but I noticed that as the frosting cooled and thickened completely - the frosting was easier to apply.



Feta and Oregano Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This recipe is an adaptation of Chicken Chevre, with a greek twist.  I grow fresh oregano in my raised garden out back, and right now even in early spring, I have an abundance of it.  This is a really nice, juicy baked chicken recipe that can come together in a matter of minutes.

Feta and Oregano Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2-3 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-5 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves reserved
juice 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and gently pull skin away from 3 of the 4 sides of the chicken breast, being careful not to detach the 4th side.  Pat chicken dry and move to a 9x12 glass baking dish.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season outside and inside of the skin lightly with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients to create a stuffing.  Gently tuck the stuffing under the skin of the chicken, smoothing the skin overtop.  Finish with a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar overtop.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until internal temperature reads about 150.  Allow chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes, lightly covered with foil, the chicken will rise to about 160 degrees without drying the meat.

I served this alongside the Squash and Zucchini Salad.  It was a delicious variation of one of our all time favorites.

Marinated Squash and Zucchini Salad

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ok, I came upon this one by accident, but somehow the ever so thinly sliced discs of squash, zucchini and red onion were dying to be eaten we obliged.  And wow, were they yummy.

Marinated Squash and Zucchini Salad

1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 green zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For this recipe, it is much easier to get the vegetables sliced thin using a simple hand mandoline, I have one like this that I picked up for a few dollars at the grocery store.  The vegetables should be so thin that they easily bend in half when held up between your fingers.  As thin as you can get them. 

Add the vegetables and garlic to a medium-sized mixing bowls, and then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Set aside for 20-30 minutes on your countertop.  This allows the vegetables to soften and mascerate slightly, and they should taste completely "cooked" and not crunchy.  These veggies were delicious alongside my Feta and Fresh Oregano Stuffed Chicken Breasts...which I will share shortly.

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nick wanted Caesar Salad to accompany our handmade Veal Cannelloni last night, which I will post and share separately.  I went through every one of my favorite cookbooks and could NOT find a recipe for Caesar Dressing.  I was really surprised.  Then I turned to my Cooking Light cookbook and was pleasantly surprised.  This is a refreshing, easy, simply and zingy dressing that is light on fat, and heavy on flavor.

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

6 tbsp light mayonaisse (I used Hellman's)
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
1 1/2 tbsp anchovy paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Simply mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, and then refridgerate until serving.  I served this with a variety of Artisan Lettuces in green and purple with fresh shaved Parmesan Reggiano.  I topped the salads with Texas Toast Garlic Croutons.  Yumm!

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