January 26, 2014

Legal German Chocolate Cake

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Chocolate cake was part of my childhood. It was present at every birthday celebration, every family event, it joined us for many happy Sunday afternoons, it came into school classrooms with us and on holiday with us, and it was always there when we had tea at my grandparents house. In my family, pretty much right after learning to walk, we were taught to make cake. It’s an extremely important life skill, right?!

More than childhood birthday presents or parties, my birthday memories are actually of the cakes. Every birthday we would get a themed cake that my parents would create in secret with a theme of something we’d been loving that year. My Mum would bake pounds of chocolate cake and my Dad would then work late into the night cutting, sticking and decorating into incredible creations. So now when birthdays come up, I have a need to make chocolate cake, it’s my way of celebrating people, it’s not a real birthday without a real cake. This weekend one of our favorite people turned 30 and her husband threw her an incredible party… Desserts, wine, candles, fire pit, quad bikes, a bit fat cheque for a shopping spree… And I had the fun of getting to make her birthday cake.

The request was German Chocolate cake ‘Kezia style’. I went for my standard legal chocolate cake cooked in two sizes, then a date caramel with coconut butter and pecan pieces stirred in to go in between all the layers. I wanted a clean look so I went for chocolate panels around the edge and then filled the top with frosting. To keep it all legal I made the chocolate panels and then melted down leftovers to create the M and 30 plaques for a little added personal touch 🙂

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I used about a triple of the recipe below but I figured most of you won’t want the volume of cake we made so this will make you a four layer 8 inch cake.

Line and grease 2 8 inch springform pans and preheat the oven to 350F

2 cups coconut butter
2 cups honey
9 eggs at room temp
1 1/2 cups cocoa
1 two vanilla
3 cups nut meal (I used an almond/pecan combo)
6 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

I make the coconut butter freshly and use it straight away. Place the butter in a bowl and beat in half of the eggs one at a time add the honey and then the remainder of the eggs and vanilla. Beat really well, preferably with a beater. Mix all the dry ingredients together and fold them into the wet mix until combined. Split between the two pans and place in the oven for 30 mins. Check them at 25, depending on your oven they might be done, you don’t want them overcooked. You’re looking for them to feel springy to the touch and to have a skewer come out clean (or almost clean). Remove them from the pans and cool on wire racks.
When they are cool take a large knife and cut them through the middle.

For the filling:

3 cups date purée (soaked blended dates)
2 cups liquid coconut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2-1 shot brandy
1 cup ground nuts
2 cups chopped pecans
1 tbsp vanilla
Good pinch salt

Blend everything together except the pecans adding enough of the date soak water back into until you have a spreadable consistency. When it’s well mixed, add in half of the chopped pecans. Divide in 4 and spread between the layers and on top.

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For the chocolate panels:

The easiest way is to melt chocolate and spread it on baking parchment and them chop it up when it’s cool, but because I wanted mine honey sweetened I made my own.

2 tbsp raw honey
2 1/2 cups liquid coconut butter
1/2 cup cocoa

Gently heat the honey with the cocoa and then mix in the coconut butter. It may go grainy but don’t worry, it will be ok. Mix it well and then pour it out onto baking paper, place another layer in top and then roll it out until it’s really thin, no more than 2mm.

Leave it to cool in the fridge for at least an hour. Remove from the fridge for 10 mins then cut into panels using a sharp knife.

I made a basic chocolate frosting to stick the panels on using roughly 2 cups date purée, 1 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup coconut butter and enough date soak water to get a good consistency. Spread a little over the outside of the cake and then put a little on each panel and gently press them onto the sides.

Top the cake with the remaining pecans and 1/2 cup shredded coconut! Now light some candles, sing Happy Birthday and make someone’s day!

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