Aunt Mary's Triple-Decker German Chocolate Cake Recipe

"I tried it, mission accomplished!" -John Fountain on baking Aunt Mary's German chocolate cake shown here.

“You almost need to Zoom it, at least the steps and what you do or its not going to come out good...” -Aunt Mary, 82 

Well, I won't Zoom it, but I’ve included pictures from my own foray into baking Aunt Mary’s German Chocolate Cake, which turned out splendid. Here’s the recipe and detailed instructions.

Ingredients for Cake: Four egg yolks; one bar of Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate; two cups of sugar; two sticks of unsalted butter; two cups of cake flour (or sifted, if ordinary flour. Aunt Mary sifts her flour about five times); one cup of buttermilk; one teaspoon of vanilla extract; one teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt. (Three 8-inch pans greased with Crisco Regular Shortening  and sprinkled with flour (shake off all excess flour.))

Ingredients for Icing: For icing: One stick of unsalted butter; one can of evaporated milk, one cup of sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla extract; Three egg yolks, one medium bag of pecan pieces; 1 medium bag of coconut.

Cake Instructions: Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Aunt Mary says she sets them out eight hours before she bakes. As you get started, separate seven egg whites from yolks; beat seven egg whites, and set egg yolks to the side (four for the cake, and three for the icing). Aunt Mary says, “I usually put all the egg whites together and beat them and set them to the side...”

In main mixing bowl, beat two sticks butter about a minute, adding sugar slowly. Continue to beat that until it’s completely mixed (John’s hints: Definitely use an electric mixer. I can’t imagine doing this by hand); Add German’s chocolate that has been melted about half an hour before time to use it… (Beforehand put chocolate into 1/4 cup of hot water in a pan or small bowl and let it melt and pour off the water.) 

Add four egg yolks. Add teaspoon of extract. Add two cups of flour (Aunt Mary says, to add the flour one tablespoon at a time, though you can add more. The point is: Take your time, don’t dump the flour in because if you do, you're going to get a different texture.) Add buttermilk (The process is: A little buttermilk, a little flour, a little buttermilk a little flour.) Add teaspoon of soda and 1 teaspoon salt. (Hint from John: If you use self-rising flour, don’t add baking soda. I used Swans Down Cake Flour (sifted 27 times, according to its maker) and followed Aunt Mary’s recipe to perfection.)

Fold in all egg whites that have been beaten with a mixer until stiff (Seven that have been beaten.) Fold until it’s all one color and entire batter is lighter in texture. “Then you’re ready to bake,” Aunt Mary says.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Insert a toothpick. If it comes out dry, the cake is done. Remove and let them cool for at 10 to 30 minutes.

Icing Instructions: In a medium pot, stir one can of evaporated milk, one stick of butter, and the remaining three egg yolks and one cup of sugar at medium heat and stirring consistently. Cook for about 10 minutes at medium heat and it will bubble up and you will know it’s done. Remove pot from stove. Add pecans and (Baker’s) coconut. Spread on first layer of icing then add each layer separately with icing, No icing on the side. In the end, top with pecan halves in a pattern of your choosing.

“Oh yeah, you can make it pretty if you wanna,” Aunt Mary says. “It would be really pretty.”

-Aunt Mary & John W. Fountain

John Fountain lays out the ingredients in preparation to bake Aunt Mary's German chocolate cake.