German Chocolate Cake

Valentine’s Day is almost here and my social media feeds are full of pink, purple and red. I love it all and I promise I’ll post some pink soon! Although there’s no pink or red, the cake I’m sharing today is full of love and great memories. My mom made German Chocolate Cake for my Grandpa (her dad) and my Dad for their February birthdays every year. I liked it but I never loved it until I got older. She always used the recipe printed inside the box. Did you know there’s nothing German about it?

German Chocolate Cake is a dark and decadent triple-decker dessert topped and layered with a buttery frosting loaded with shredded coconut and pecans. I did a little research and the sweet is a creation of Mrs. George Clay of Dallas, Texas, who submitted a recipe for “German Sweet Chocolate Cake” to the Dallas Morning News in 1957. The paper ran the recipe, and it caused such an enthusiastic response that newspapers around the country reprinted it.

German’s Sweet Chocolate, an ingredient originally made by Walter Baker & Co. of Dorchester, Massachusetts. (The product’s name was chosen after Samuel German, who developed the chocolate for the company back in 1852.) It was Mrs. Clay’s recipe that put German’s Sweet Chocolate on the map (THANK YOU!). Within a year of the recipe’s publication, Walter Baker & Co. capitalized on the cake’s popularity by printing a recipe for German Chocolate Cake on every box of its sweet chocolate.

German Chocolate Cake is rich and delicious. You could skip making the cake and just make the frosting and you’ll be all set for the rest of your life. No kidding! I’ve been known to make a batch and eat it by the spoonful. While it’s still warm. Also when it’s cool. It’s perfect for this cake, over ice cream, sandwiched between cookies, you get it.

I actually did eat way too much of it this time around. My first attempt at making the cake failed and I turned to the frosting in my time of need.

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I found a recipe online that had some minor changes that sounded good so I gave it a go. The cakes didn’t rise and I had to start over. I went back to the original recipe I’ve used for years and it worked perfectly.

This cake is light and delicately flavored with chocolate. The frosting is the real star.

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Let’s start with the cake. The only thing you unique in the ingredients list is the Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate. You’ll also need: AP flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, eggs, unsalted butter, vanilla and buttermilk.

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Melt the chocolate in boiling water and set aside. Separate the eggs and set the whites aside. Mix butter and sugar then add egg yolks one at a time, mixing well in between.

Add the vanilla, cooled chocolate mixture and dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, alternating with the buttermilk.

Mix the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold those gently into the cake batter. Once incorporated, fill prepared pans and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes.

Frosting ingredients are simple and rich! Butter, evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs, pecans and coconut.

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I like to toast my pecans to give them more crunch and flavor but you can certainly skip that step. They do need to be chopped. Heat evaporated milk, egg yolks, butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium size pan over medium heat. Cook for about 12 minutes until thick.

Once thick, remove from heat and add chopped pecans and coconut and stir. Let cool. This is the point you’ll be wishing you’d doubled the recipe so you can eat a bowl of it and still have enough to frost the cake!

When the cakes are finished, remove from the oven and let them cool completely on wire racks. Place one cake on a plate or platter and smother it in frosting, add next layer, frosting and the final layer and frosting. That’s all the “decorating” that’s involved!

Gorgeous, right? You can get all fancy and add pecan halves to the top or whip up some chocolate frosting and pipe swirls. That would be beautiful! I keep mine simple because that’s how I like it. I always think about my dad when I make this cake. When he and my mom divorced, I made it for him for his birthday before he moved a little further away from where I live. Now, I make his favorite cake, send him a picture and eat a piece to celebrate how thankful I am he’s still having birthdays!

It’s a huge cake and I would definitely have no problem eating the whole thing but I’m trying to maintain my “everything in moderation” plan. I sliced this beauty up and delivered some to my neighbors. You’d be surprised how happy folks are when you knock on their door to hand them German Chocolate Cake on a cold winter day! The smiles warmed me right up and reminded me that I really love to bake people happy!

German Chocolate Cake is yummy for any occasion and especially perfect for February birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s party (it’s yummy with wine) or to simply hand out to your friends and neighbors. Sweet!

From the heart,
Shannon

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Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake

Cake
Ingredients
1 pkg. (4 oz.) BAKER’S GERMAN’S Sweet Chocolate
1/2 cup water
4 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cover bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round pans with parchment; spray sides with cooking spray.
  3. Melt chocolate in boiling water; set aside to cool.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.
  6. Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
  7. Add egg whites to cake batter; fold in gently until well blended.
  8. Pour into prepared pans.
  9. Bake 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small spatula around cakes in pans. Cool cakes in pans 5 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.

Frosting
Ingredients
4 egg yolks
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans (toasted if you like)
1 pkg. (7 oz.) sweetened shredded coconut (2-2/3 cups)

Instructions

    1. Beat egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with whisk until blended.
    2. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
    3. Add pecans and coconut; stir well. Cool to desired spreading consistency.

Recipe adopted and modified from various sources, including the Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate box version.

Nothing Bundt Apples and Cider

Do you know the bundt cake scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding? It’s the one where Maria Portokalos receives a cake from Ian’s mom. She has no idea what it is. Finally, she says, “It’s a cake! I know! Thank you! Thank you very, very much…There’s a hole in this cake.” Maria had the hardest time understanding why there was a hole in the cake and she put a plant in the center. It cracks me up every single time!

How did the bundt cake come to be? I did a little searching and found a fascinating article on Food 52 about the history of our beloved bundt cake, specifically, the bundt pan. I’m going to summarize the article but it’s definitely worth a read!

In the 1950’s, H. David Dalquist of Minneapolis, created and trademarked the word Bundt which is actually a variation of the German word bund, which translates to “association.” Dave hoped Bundts would inspire the gathering together of people. I don’t know about you, but if there’s bundt cake, I’m happy to gather!

Dave and his wife Dotty founded Nordic Ware in 1946. They made Scandinavian inspired bakeware. They were approached by a Jewish women’s group who were in need of a traditional old world cake pan. They needed one with a hole in the middle. Dave and Dotty agreed to make them but the pans didn’t sell right away. It wasn’t until the 60’s that a local Texas woman made a “Tunnel of Fudge Cake,” which required a bundt pan and featured a filling of Pillsbury frosting, as her entry for the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. She was awarded 2nd Place prize, and many bakers wanted the recipe. They also needed bundt cake pans!

Today I’m making an Apple Cider Bundt Cake with Brown-Butter Apple Cider Glaze. Not only is it apple season but it’s also my oldest daughter, Hannah’s, birthday! I won’t see her but I still feel the need to make a cake to celebrate her amazing soul! You definitely don’t need an excuse or reason to make this cake so just go for it. I promise this is unlike any cake you’ve probably had. It’s delicious!

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This cake recipe is inspired by several recipes. I wanted something that included apple cider because we have tons of it in the fridge, fresh apples, spices and a rich glaze. Something a little more warm and special than the standard powdered sugar and milk drizzle. I combined various ideas and decided to go with a bundt pan. That’s what got me wondering about the history of bundt cakes.

Simple, seasonal ingredients. Local flour, eggs, apples and cider. Yes!

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Prep the bundt pan. Hannah’s turning 24 so that’s my love note inside. 🙂 Generously butter the pan, a dusting of flour, then a note!

Combine dry ingredients, shred the apples and place the sugars, eggs, oil, applesauce, apple cider and vanilla in a mixing bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients, add the dry and gently fold in the apples. Inhale. It smells divine!

Pour that beautiful batter into your prepared bundt pan and into the oven she goes!

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Bake the cake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it cool for about 10-12 minutes then invert the pan onto a cake plate or serving dish. Let her cool.

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While the cake cools, there are dishes to be done. Why do I love baking? Ha! I’m just keeping it real! At least my Halloween mugs are there to cheer me on!

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Ready to dirty up more dishes? Time to make the glaze. Sift powdered sugar and add either vanilla bean seeds or the vanilla bean paste. Brown the butter and add to the sugar then whisk in half and half and apple cider. Brown-butter has a nutty, rich flavor. It can burn easily so be careful on this step.

Here’s what not to do! Don’t try to put the glaze on while the cake is even the least bit warm! Oops! I’ll try to be more patient!

Once the cake is really cool, add the glaze and that’s it! I picked up some gorgeous flowers at the farmers’ market this morning and added them to the photo session. We just did a Facetime with Hannah and now I’m going to dig into this cake! It’s a really easy cake to make and perfect for a fall birthday. It would be delicious with warm apple cider (with or without bourbon), ice cream and mostly shared with family and friends.

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You could also tap into your inner Maria Portokalos and stick a plant in the center to really fancy it up!

From the heart,
Shannon

Apple Cider Bundt Cake with Brown-Butter Glaze

Ingredients:
Cake:
1 TBSP unsalted butter and some flour for preparing the pan
4 medium apples – peeled, cored, & shredded
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used local whole wheat pastry flour)
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tsp. vanilla

Brown-Butter Glaze:
2 to 3 TBSP half and half
2 to 3 TBSP apple cider
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
vanilla bean seeds scraped from a vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 oz. unsalted butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:
Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. Get butter and flour in every single crevice.

Stir the shredded apple with lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the white sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining 1 cup white sugar, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, apple cider, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Then add the flour mixture and combine once again. Gently fold in the apples until they are evenly distributed. Pour into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto your serving platter. Let it cool completely.

Brown-Butter Glaze:.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds or paste.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the butter until golden brown. It should smell delicious and toasty. Do not let it burn. Heat it for 5-8 minutes. Strain the browned butter to remove the darker pieces. Pour browned butter into the powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Add 2 tablespoons of the half and half, add a little apple cider then add the vanilla. Stir vigorously until smooth. You want the glaze to be thick, but easily pourable. If it seems too thick, add the remaining tablespoon of half and half. Pour the glaze over the cake. Let it set then slice and serve!

Nordic Ware Bundt article from Food 52

Strawberry Fields and Cake

It’s summer break and we’ve had lots of rain here in NE Ohio.  School’s out and our schedules have shifted nicely to planning days packed with fun and nights that go a little later to allow for a decent amount of hammock time, games and star gazing (and more wine).

One of the many things I love about this time of year is all the fresh, local produce.  It fills me with joy!  A couple weeks ago, we grabbed strawberries from Huffman Fruit Farm at the Countryside Farmers’ Market.  We almost ate all of them before we got home!  All of a sudden, it tasted like summer.  I’ve been making a list of recipes I want to make over the next couple months and Strawberry Chamomile Olive Oil Cake with Honeyed Ricotta (mouthful), was on deck.  I found the recipe on one of my favorite blogger sites, Half Baked Harvest, and I knew it would be amazing! Everything I’ve tried on her site has been simple and yummy.

We decided to pick strawberries at Rittman Orchards and what a fun time!  We took Carrie’s friend and Daisy and started picking.  The weather was perfect and the view was incredible!

I couldn’t wait to get started on making something strawberry!  I made jam ASAP (I’ll share that recipe next) and then prepped everything to get going on the cake.  I’ve never made an olive oil cake before and my daughter, Hannah, and I were talking about making one the next time we’re together.  After making and eating this one, I’ll make an olive oil cake anytime!

This cake is light and refreshing and made me feel happy while I ate it.  It’s not too sweet and just melts in your mouth.  I love the simplicity.  It’s quick and easy to prepare for summer get togethers, brunch, birthdays or the upcoming Father’s Day weekend.  What dad wouldn’t love this?

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It all starts with fresh ingredients.  The cake is easy to prepare and using local eggs makes all the difference.  I used eggs from Mud Run Farm and that color is just what you want for this cake.

Once the cake was in the oven, I steeped chamomile tea bags in local honey from Brighton Wool and Honey.  The sliced strawberries took a dip in the infused honey.

This picture captures the moment nicely.

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Next up, was the honeyed ricotta.  Ricotta with honey and lemon whipped in the food processor until smooth and fluffy.  Easy.

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Did I mention Carrie’s friend slept over?  Here’s a view of our kitchen while I was making cake and breakfast.  This is real life and pictures that usually get posted don’t always share what’s really happening behind the scenes.  I love it! Could there be more going on in that small space?  🙂

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The cake finished baking, the strawberries were soaking and the ricotta was setting up in the fridge.  On our way back from taking Carrie’s friend home, I saw daisies growing on the side of the road and a bunch came home with us.  Some went in a mason jar while others adorned the cake.  So sweet.

I had so much fun putting on the finishing touches and photographing this cake.  It was even more fun to eat and I highly recommend making it! Just look at the inside.  It’s a beautiful color and texture.  I am delighted when baked goods turn out so well!

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As we were eating it, we talked about what we’d change or add.  It would be amazing with blueberries or raspberries!  I liked the ricotta but I think I’d substitute mascarpone next time.  I love the taste and texture of mascarpone and think it would compliment this very well.  You can also do whipped cream but the idea of whipped ricotta or mascarpone make it feel a little more special and unique.  Try it.

I did some research on how to share recipes I’ve found in cookbooks or online.  I made slight changes to the recipe, but not enough to take any credit for it.  Go to Half Baked Harvest to follow it exactly.  While you’re there, try all of her recipes.  She’s amazing and I’m thankful she shares her love of food with us!

This cake is versatile and you can easily modify to make it your own!  Let me know if you make it and how you like it!

From the heart,
Shannon

We did it (on wonderful timing, too)!

Progress 100

If you didn’t hear the big SCREAM last night at 10:45 then you are just finding out that WE HIT OUR GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is incredible!! Thank you for all you’ve done to make this happen! We are truly blessed to have so many generous and kind people in our lives! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Want to hear something really neat?  If you watched our video or if you’ve read our story, you know my grandma was a big influence in my life.  Well, today would have been her birthday!  What a way to pay tribute to someone who touched so many with her cooking and baking!  This dream is about to become a reality and it’s all because of you!  I’m truly touched!

The campaign will stay active until our end date of 3/22/15. Please keep sharing and let’s see how far we can go!

Floured Apron Kickstarter

From the heart, Shannon

Floured Apron is going mobile!

You may have heard the news!  We are taking our home based business to the next level this spring!

Meet Rosie (pictured below), our vintage inspired mobile bakery and the newest member of the Floured Apron family.  Now we can share more of what we love with the community we love!  We are so excited!

In the meantime, we are trying to secure additional funding for the equipment we need.  We hope you’ll consider helping us get Rosie to her full potential. 

All the details are available here:   Kickstarter

Share it with EVERYONE and, most importantly, come see us this spring!  Stay tuned for updates on Rosie’s progress and her grand introduction.

From the heart,

Shannon

Rosie Drawing 3

Blueberry Bliss and a Recipe

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Happy end of July friends!  WOW!  I can’t believe it is almost August!  July is one of my favorite months.  Most importantly, it’s the month we celebrate Carrie’s birthday (she just turned 8)!  It’s usually the month when summer feels like summer.  Flowers are everywhere, pools are full of adults and kids splashing, local veggies are delicious and evenings are full of fireflies, games and s’mores.  This summer has been a little cooler than I hoped but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying most of  the things summer has to offer.

Remember the farm we stumbled upon to pick strawberries?  I never stopped thinking about what the farmer said about the blueberry picking in July.  As a matter of fact, I started calling the last week of June to check the readiness of the berries.  I know…

My mother-in-law came for a visit and I thought it would be fun to take her blueberry picking.  She and my father-in-law have a beautiful cabin in Minnesota where they pick wild blueberries every July.  As a matter of fact, there is a Blueberry Fest held each year in nearby Ely, MN.

I couldn’t wait to get to the farm!  The blueberry bushes did not disappoint and before we knew it, we had tons of blueberries!  Carrie was just as excited to pick blueberries as she was strawberries (maybe a little more since Granny was there) and we had a great afternoon!

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We ate lots of them while we picked and all I could think about was making one of our family favorites, Blueberry Cake.  The recipe is from The Chopping Block located in Chicago.  My sister-in-law took me for a cooking class just before my wedding in 2004.  It was there I first had this cake and it has been a staple in my recipe book ever since!  I’ve made this many times and it always turns out perfectly.  This time I used only blueberries but have prepared it with both blueberries and fresh peaches, a super yummy combo!  Add fresh peaches to anything and I’m there!  Here’s how to make this simple, not too sweet, delightful little cake.  I’m including the recipe at the end so please let me know if you try it and how you like it.

It all starts with dry ingredients:  flour, dark brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and salt; cut in butter.

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Next, you divide the mixture and add the following to about 2/3 of the mixture:  baking soda, buttermilk, egg

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Then you simply place half of the wet mixture in a baking pan or pie dish and sprinkle the berries on top

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Top the berry layer with the remaining wet batter then sprinkle the remaining dry crumbs on top and bake…EASY!

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I have served this cake many times with cinnamon ice cream along side.  I know, right?  I didn’t have any on hand so I made fresh whipped cream and added cinnamon.  Oh, the sacrifices I make.  Ummmmmm, y’all know about my love affair with whipped cream!  The cinnamon made it extra special and, well, you have to try it!  This cake is a scrumptious dessert and would be out of this world spectacular served for breakfast or brunch.  After all, it’s loaded with healthy, antioxidant rich blueberries.  It would be a tasty treat on a picnic.  The possibilities are endless.  It’s not fancy and that’s what makes it so delicious!  Bake this cake…you won’t be sorry!

From the heart, Shannon

Blueberry Cake 3

Here’s the complete recipe:

Blueberry Cake

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups blueberries (more if you wish-fresh, frozen, store bought; also, you can add peaches, raspberries, any berry)

Preheat oven to 325; butter and flour or spray a pan or pie dish (8-9” wide)

Stir together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly. Set aside about 1/3 of these crumbs in a separate bowl. Add the baking soda, buttermilk and egg to the other crumbs and combine well. Place half of this batter into your baking dish. Sprinkle the berries on top of the batter then top with the rest of the batter and top with the reserved dry crumbs.

Bake until firm and golden, about 35-45 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.