(Pe)can’t miss out on German chocolate icing

Until I married Joey, German chocolate cake was a dessert I was vaguely aware of but not one I’d eaten very often.

But it’s Joey’s absolute favorite—the flavor he chose for his groom’s cake at our wedding, in fact—so it’s become something I’ve had more often over the years.

Since Joey recently celebrated a birthday, I decided to bake him one.

In doing some research, I discovered it gets its name not from its country of origin but from the guy who created the baking chocolate first used in it: Sam German.

According to a 2007 article from NPR, the German chocolate cake was first popularized in 1957 when the recipe was sent in to a Dallas newspaper, and it’s been going strong ever since.

The website “What’s Cooking, America?” gives the original credit to Mrs. George Calay, but if you search online for a German chocolate cake recipe, you’ll find dozens of versions now.

That being said, the recipe I’m sharing with you is just for the from-scratch frosting for a German chocolate cake. I just like using my favorite chocolate cake recipe with the frosting. It would easily jazz up a boxed cake mix, too.

I found this recipe on the blog “Wives with Knives.” It also includes a from-scratch chocolate cake recipe that I didn’t try. You can find it at http://www.wiveswithknives.net/2011/08/19/made-from-scratch-german-chocolate-cake/. I doubled the vanilla in my version.

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German Chocolate Icing


4 egg yolks

12 ounces evaporated milk

3 teaspoons vanilla

1-1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter

7 ounces coconut

1-1/2 cups chopped pecans


Whisk together the egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and butter and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and becomes golden brown (this will take a little while), stirring regularly.

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the coconut and nuts. Let the mixture cool until it’s thick enough to spread on a cake or cupcakes.

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One thing to note about making this frosting is that (for me, at least) it takes a decent amount of time for the mixture to thicken in the pot. It feels like you’ll be stirring forever, and then it’s just suddenly done.

We enjoyed this recipe and brought the leftovers to share with the staff during production night for the newspaper, which went over really well.

Happy birthday, Joey!

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.