Chocolate cake

It’s the icing that makes German chocolate cake | Way of life

I’m not here to celebrate German National Chocolate Cake Day on June 11 with a traditional recipe. Dessert is not in your typical Filipino foodie lineup, but I grew up with it at every family party at my lola’s in Piti. My grandmother Dolores Villamor Malubag was an excellent cook and pastry chef, and we always knew the cookie jar would be full when we got to ‘Lola House’.

My favorite dessert was a deep chocolate Bundt cake with a coconut tunnel in the middle. I realized as I got older that she had made it from a mix of Pillsbury boxes, which unfortunately got scrapped.

But I could still make my second favorite dessert: German chocolate cake. Like many people, I thought this cake was from Germany. Wrong!

It actually comes from the United States. A housewife from Texas who created the recipe in 1957 called it “German Chocolate Cake” after the brand of baking chocolate developed by American baker Samuel German. The possessive was then dropped and generations later we all confuse it with a German creation.

But I digress. I don’t care about baking the cake from scratch – Pillsbury and Betty Crocker are fine for me, and I just get the brand on sale. With this particular cake, it’s all about the frosting. So instead of a round or square layered cake pan, my favorite presentation is in a 13 inch by 9 inch pan.

Try a different German chocolate cake by replacing the foundation with a red velvet cake.

I made it like my lola, with a traditional coconut and pecan frosting. When I moved to Hawaii, I started putting macadamia nuts in everything. Now I’m making this frosting with just mac nuts.

Another adjustment comes from my sister. I’m known for experimenting with flavor combinations (I’ll give you my recipe for chocolate milk fried rice later because my family and friends love it when I post it on social media, just kidding), but she takes the cake. . Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

These days, she’ll ask me to make Lola’s German Chocolate Cake – but with a different cake flavor. Once it was pistachio, another time it was red velvet. They taste great, but again, it’s all about the frosting with this cake.

So here’s my version of German chocolate frosting. My recipe deviates from traditional recipes when it comes to the amount of coconut and nuts I use – adding more of the two makes it less runny.

This is what happens when you don't temper your eggs properly - you get little cooked egg fillets in the mixture.  It doesn't affect the taste, it's just a little unsightly.

German whatever cake frosting


  • 1 can of 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk (if you wish to change it, use sweetened condensed coconut milk)
  • 3 egg yolks, mixed
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 1 bag (14 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. Place the butter and condensed milk in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until heated through. When it’s hot to hot, take a spoonful and whisk in the egg yolks, stirring all the time. Then place the egg yolks in the pan – this process is known as tempering and helps to gently incorporate the egg into the mixture, rather than creating scrambled eggs in it.
  2. Stir the mixture constantly until it thickens – you can check by dipping the back of a wooden spoon into the mixture, then lifting it up and seeing how quickly the mixture drains. It should take about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Once it has thickened, stir in the coconut, macadamia nuts and vanilla.
  4. Let the frosting cool for 15 minutes before spreading it on the cake.


If you want to be more fancy, you can sprinkle the melted chocolate with a nice pattern on the cake. Heat the chocolate chips in the microwave, then place them in a zippered bag. Cut a small hole in one corner of the bag and pour the chocolate over the cake.

If like me your drizzling skills aren’t up to par, you can also chop some chocolate macadamia nuts or your favorite chocolate bar on top. I love the extra chocolate macadamia nut crunch on top.

I also used colorful glitter on the top to make it more festive.

This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: It’s the frosting that makes German chocolate cake

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