Like Memama used to make

When asked recently "who do you admire the most?" I instantly thought of my grandmother. Growing up in Odessa, Texas, I used to spend every Friday night at her house watching Carol Burnett and and drawing super heroes. One Saturday morning we would go the The Mall and Memama would sit and "people watch" while I looked at books and toys. Lunch was usually at Pizza Hut.

Of course, my favourite food was the kind of Southern cooking that she made at home, and nothing tasted better to me than her German Chocolate Cake. Always the choice for birthdays, I got to relive the taste this year when Nick and I baked one for our garden party meal.


4 ounces Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, broken into squares
1/2 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated, then brought to room temperature
1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
 Caramel Pecan Filling and Frosting
1 1/2 cans (18 ounces) evaporated milk
6 egg yolks
2 cups sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) butter, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups toasted, coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour three 9 x 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with baking paper.

To make the cake: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate with the water, stirring to melt the chocolate, and blend well. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks, about 1 minute.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, beating until well combined. Add the chocolate mixture and the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, beating after each addition, until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on the high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Divide batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake, as this cake has a different, lighter texture than most.

Let cake cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the frosting: In a large saucepan, beat together the evaporated milk and the egg yolks. Stir in the sugar, the butter, and the vanilla extract. Stir over medium heat about 15-18 minutes or until thickened and bubbly and golden in colour. Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut and the pecans. Transfer to a large bowl and cool until room temperature and go good spreading consistency (about 2 hours; frosting will thicken as it cools).

When cake has cooled, spread frosting between layers and over top of cake.



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