Thursday, April 18, 2024

Book and Birthdays -- BOOK THOUGHTS


Books and Birthdays

Today is my husband’s birthday so I baked his favorite German chocolate cake! 

I have other birthday plans in the works, but I'm going to take a book break first. I plan to put my feet up for a few minutes with this terrific book, Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by husband and wife writing team Laney Salisbury and Aly Sugo. I've only just started it and am completely sucked in. It’s mesmerizing.

Here’s a bit of baking trivia for you. Every time I make this cake for my husband, I am reminded that “German chocolate cake” has nothing to do with Germany. “German’s Sweet Chocolate” is a type of baking chocolate developed in the US by Samuel German in 1852 for his employer, Baker’s Chocolate.

A newspaper invented the recipe for German chocolate cake in the 1950s. It is a popular cake, mostly because of the coconut pecan frosting. But don’t try to order it in Germany! They don’t know what you are talking about.

I don’t know if German chocolate cake is even a thing outside the US. Is it?

To be honest, this is a "Perfect All American Chocolate Butter Cake" from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Hubby likes any chocolate cake with this frosting (which I make with toasted, unsweetened coconut and toasted walnuts instead of pecans). I find a real German chocolate cake to be a little pale and sweet. I picked this recipe because it isn't difficult and doesn't require the eggs to be separated. I am always put off by having to whip and fold in the egg whites separately.  

And to be even more completely honest, I messed it up. Despite baking chocolate cake for my husband at least a dozen times, not to mention baking in general for about 55 years, I had some kind of brain blip yesterday and put in half the butter! That’s why the layers are so thin. I was ready to start over and make another cake, but Hubby saved me from myself. He said he would like it no matter what, even if it was more like a giant cookie. Fortunately, we tried it this morning and it is good. A little dry, yes, but not bad. The frosting is delicious and saves the cake.

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