a german chocolate cake for the birthday boy

27 Nov

Today is Brette’s birthday.


I’ve always felt kind of bad that his birthday gets lumped in with Thanksgiving and sometimes falling on the day of turkey itself. However, he spends his birthday doing something he enjoys, so I get over my bad feelings pretty quickly.


On his birthday, Brette will get up at the butt crack of dawn, get bundled up in blaze orange and sit in a tree hoping to shoot his muzzle loader accurately with an end result of a freezer full of venison.  After sitting in his tree (which is equipped with a heater), he will head into the hunting cabin and cook breakfast for his dad, brothers, uncle, cousin and other hunting fools. They’ll talk smart and tell hunting tales that get taller each year. He will likely laugh so hard he’ll get a stomach ache and he’ll laugh just as hard as he re-tells the stories to me on the way home.

I love that he loves hunting on his birthday and everything that goes with it. I also love that on his birthday I get to sleep in, do some shopping, read, and chill out inside a warm house. Win – win!

At his request, I made one of his favorite desserts to celebrate the occasion; German Chocolate Cake. He has such good taste- this is one of my favorites as well.


I have always followed my mom’s recipe which I thought was an original. As it turns out  – it is the  exact recipe as Betty Crocker’s!  What the heck? It was like finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real. No matter it’s origin, the recipe is pretty full-proof, but there are definitely some steps and it takes some time. It’s worth every minute to put a smile on Brette’s face. Plus, it’s just so dang good!


Quality control.

Classic German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

from Betty Crocker and Jen’s Mom – I’m pretty sure it originated with Betty.

Notes: You can make this recipe in 3 round baking pans or 2 square pans for a layered cake, or one large 9 x13 pan.

1/2 cup boiling water

1 bar (4 oz) sweet cooking chocolate

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, yolks and whites separated

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

Coconut Pecan Frosting (recipe follows)


Preheat oven to 350.

For layered cakes, grease and line bottoms of pans with waxed paper. If using a 9×13, spray with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over chocolate, stir until melted. Set aside to cool.

In medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Set aside.

In large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. On low speed, blend in chocolate and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition until batter is smooth. Fold in egg whites.  Divide batter between pans (unless using just a 9×13).

Bake round pans 30-40 minutes, square pans 40-45 minutes, or the 9×13 pan 45-50 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly.

Cool completely before frosting. (if doing layers, remove cakes from pan and peel off wax paper. Make sure all layers are cooled before frosting. (I made my cake the day before frosting it).

Frost layers and/or top of cake with coconut pecan frosting.


Coconut Pecan Frosting

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

Combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla in a small saucepan. Cook and stir (constantly)over medium heat until thick, about 12 minutes. (this step took me 20 minutes as my butter was cold to start with) Stir in coconut and pecans. Beat until thick enough to spread. (I let mine cool for a little bit before frosting.

Happy Birthday to my best friend and favorite person in the world. Get down with your bad self today.


One year ago: Betty Crocker’s thoughts about the day after Thanksgiving…


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