German Chocolate Cake: A Special Birthday Gift For James

James’ Birthday Cake

My hairdresser, James, lost his mother in 2009, every year for his birthday she would bake him a German Chocolate Cake. A friend of his was given the recipe and has taken on that responsibility of baking his birthday cake. Sydney and I asked him what I could do this year for his birthday. He wanted us to create a German Chocolate Cake for him. The last thing I wanted to do was compete with his mother’s recipe, that would be a recipe for disaster (ha ha). I went with my own creation and hoped he would enjoy my cake as well!

James is a unique sole, he is caring and sweet. He has a way of making you feel at home, he and Sydney connected from the first time he styled her hair. He is a born entertainer;  singing and dancing all come with an appointment.

This cake needed to say thank you and have a WOW factor!

German Chocolate Cake:

For the cake:

113 grams/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

89 grams/6 tablespoons water

226 grams/1-cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

245 grams/1 ¼ cup brown sugar, crumble

50 grams/¼ cup suga

72 grams/ about 4 egg yolk

120 grams/  about 4 liquid egg whites

1/4 teaspoon egg white powder

118 grams/ 1 1/8-cups cake flour

118 grams/ 7/8-cups all purpose four

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

245 grams/1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spray with baking spray 3-6-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.

Prepare your mise en place. Sift together the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Whisk the buttermilk with the vanilla extract.

Prepare a double boiler, fill a saucepan 1/4-inch deep with water, place a bowl on top of the saucepan. Melt the chocolate together with the espresso powder and wait, stirring with a rubber spatula till smooth, and allow to cool down to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.

Alternate  the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, starting with the flour mixture and ending with the flour mixture.

In a separate very clean bowl on medium speed, whisk the egg whites, a pinch of salt, and egg white powder, to soft peaks. Slowly whisk  the 50 grams/ ¼ cup of sugar, raise the the speed to medium-high, continue whisking the meringue until stiff form.

Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.

Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake layers completely.

German Chocolate Cake Filling:

220 grams/ 1 cup heavy cream

198 grams /1 cup brown sugar

54 grams/ 1 large egg yolks

85 grams / 3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces

½ teaspoon salt

218 grams/ 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

113 grams/ 1 1/3 cups dehydrated- unsweetened- organic coconut, toasted

To make the filling:

In a dry sauté pan evenly lay the coconut, stirring occasionally, toast the coconut to a light brown color, pour into bowl and set aside.

Repeat with the pecan pieces and place in the bowl of the coconut with the cubed butter and set aside.

Mix the cream, brown sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom and sides as you stir) until the mixture just begins to thicken and coats the spoon, and an instant thermometer registers 79 degrees C/ 175 degrees F.

Pour the hot cream mixture immediately, while still hot into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (The mixture will thicken as it cools).

For the syrup:

177 grams grams/3/4- cup water

62 grams/1/4-cup fresh orange juice

150 grams/¾ cup sugar

13 grams/ 2 tablespoons dark rum

In a small saucepan, heat the sugar, orange juice, and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat, cool to room tempature and stir in the dark rum.

For the Chocolate Gananche Frosting:

452 grams/ 1 ¾-cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely

2-teaspoons espresso powder

40 grams/2-Tablespoons corn syrup

40 grams/ 2-Tablespoons glucose

84 grams/ 3/8-cup butter

440 grams/ 2-cup heavy cream

96 grams/ 4-Tablespoons cornstarch

Place the  chopped chocolate in a bowl of a food processor and pulse about 4 times. Heat the cream to a kiss of a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate, with the food processor motor running, add glucose, corn syrup, butter pieces, and cornstarch. Process till silky smooth and shiny. Pour into a large glass bowl whisking a few more times and allow too cool down.

To assemble the cake:

Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.

Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ of a cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.

Frost the sides and about 1/4- inch around the top with the chocolate frosting, pipe a decorative border of chocolate frosting around the top, and repeat the same design on the border of the inner circle. Leaving the pecan-coconut topping peeking out.

Decorate with large flaked coconuts and a few whole pecans in the center of the cake.

James and his friends throughly enjoyed the German Chocolate Cake!



  1. Yummy is pretty much all I can say!! Great work, your hairdresser is very lucky!

  2. You make the simplest cake look like a masterpiece! Looking forward to trying out this recipe!

  3. Wow, awesome cake, Bobbie. I have definitely seen German Chocolate cake but this one looks more appetizing than any other one I have come across.

  4. Thanks for the recipe I have been trying to find one and I think I will use this! I really enjoy all your cakes especially the ones that you made for your husband’s birthday….They are wonderful!

  5. Gorgeous, definitely a Wow cake!

  6. Yum! What a delicious looking cake! Your hairdresser should be very thankful!

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