My dad just had a birthday, so I made his favorite: German chocolate cake. And like the dutiful daughter I am, I didn’t work crazy hard on it because my dad told me not to. My parents are always telling me to take it easier.
While I was baking this cake, I realized that I don’t talk about my dad much on this blog, which is odd. My parents are a huge part of my life. We live close to one another, so I see them almost daily. And my dad explains a lot about who I am.
For one thing, he taught English for 40 some-odd years. I learned to love reading from him. Every Saturday, he’d read aloud to me for about an hour, even when I was a teenager. I’ll never forget that one of my favorite books, Pride and Prejudice, was first introduced to me with my father’s voice.
Also, my dad has been an instrumental part of my kids’ lives. When my oldest was born, my parents took care of him full-time so that he wouldn’t have to be in daycare while I went to work. They took care of my other two children part-time and they still pick all three up from school every day so that I can stay at work and go to meetings. My father is gentle and loving with my children, and I strongly suspect he thinks they’re even more fun than I was at that age. But as their doting mother, I’m not jealous!
So the least my dad deserves on his birthday is his favorite cake. I didn’t even know he liked German chocolate until relatively recently, because he never told me. And then one day it just came out in the course of casual conversation. That makes sense, because my father is pretty selfless. He wouldn’t run around asking people to make specific cakes for him. I would. But I’m a picky girl.
The cake base isn’t strictly German chocolate, so sorry. I stuck with the classic Hershey cocoa recipe, which I think makes an amazing cake. It’s easy as well, using just one bowl and no butter. My mom, who protects my dad’s cholesterol, would approve.
I can’t say that the frosting is butter-free, though. Sorry! It’s easy, though. You make it on the stovetop and let it thicken. It’s pretty much foolproof. How many frostings come that easy?
Happy birthday, Daddy. I love you. And I hope the rest of you love this cake. It’s as basic and easy as they come!
2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line three 9-inch round pans with parchment paper (cut to fit the bottom) and coat liberally with baking or pan release spray. Set aside.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, oil and milk, stirring until smooth. Fold in the boiling water. The batter will be thin.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Melt the butter with the condensed milk and egg yolks, stirring constantly. When the mixture bubbles and begins to thicken, remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla, coconut and pecans.
- Allow the frosting to thicken, about 15 minutes. When the frosting is thickened and cool, assemble the cake as shown. Place one layer on the cake plate and spread frosting over the top. Repeat that process twice more.
- Cut into slices and serve.