We don't have a very good relationship. I'm a messy baker by nature, so I tend to either forget small directions, or pay loose attention to things that can make or break a recipe. For cakes, I really try my damnedest to get them to rise properly, pop them out of the pans without any blemishes, and strive for that perfect texture without all of the pesky crumbs. I just can't seem to manage to check off all the boxes. I've graduated from honing my skills as a boxed cake gal, but once I step foot in the "from-scratch" zone, nothing goes as planned.
Dan and I have coined the term, Ariel's Ugly Cakes for my scary creations.
First things first, you need to prepare the proper equipment before you even touch the pre-heat button.
For this "almost german chocolate cake", I used 3 cakes pans, all measuring 6" in diameter. I've seen people use a mixture of butter and shortening, cooking spray, springform pans, you name it, to coat their pans and protect their layers, so I've combined a few methods. I'll trace 6" circles around each pan onto parchment paper (or wax paper, whatever I have on hand) and cut them out. Before setting the paper in the bottom of each, I'll spread softened butter in all of the edges, creases, and around the rim. I'll place the circle in the bottom, and cover that with butter as well, then dust the entire pan with flour.
It sounds like a crazy process just to prep the darn things, but this is one of the most important steps. As much as I hate to take this added time to do it, I'm not holding my breath when it comes time to pop them out over the cooling rack.
Once you make the batter, prep your pans, and get ready to put them in the oven, there's one more crucial thing to do if you plan on having some awesome layers to frost. I saw this suggestion on a Youtube channel I binge watched a while back where the woman took a wet towel, wrapped it around the pan, and pinned it with a safety pin before baking. I gave it a go on a few of the past cakes I've tried, and found that each layer will remain flat, and not dome, so frosting is a breeze.
Do any of you have good tips for baking or frosting cakes?? I need some more tips on my journey into the land of cake!
Thanks for reading everyone! Happy Sunday!
"Almost" German Chocolate Cake
Serves 8-12 people
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup strong coffee
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs yolks
1 stick unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Prepare two 8 inch cake pans, or three 6 inch cake pans via the suggestions above, or your own way, as long as they are coated and greased.
1. For the cake, sift together all of the dry ingredients into a stand mixer, or a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix the milk and vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes until it begins to thicken. Beat in the eggs, vegetable oil, and coffee and then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture very slowly as the mixer is whisking on a medium speed.
2. Divide the batter between the cake pans, and bang each pan on the table a few times to get the air bubbles out. Put the cake pans in the oven to bake for 35 minutes. Once done, let cool in the pans for 30 minutes before removing.
3. While the cake is baking, in a large saucepan over medium heat on the stove, whisk together the evaporated milk, sugar, and cornstarch. Add the egg yolks, and vanilla extract, and butter. Once the butter is melted and the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, add the coconut flakes. Remove from the saucepan and put in a cool bowl to refrigerate for an hour to 2 hours before frosting. (Any longer will result in the frosting becoming to hard to spread). Happy eating!