Sunday, February 7, 2010


Yesterday would have been my mother's 90th birthday; she passed away in 1987 from a brain tumor at the age of 67. Although lemon meringue pie was her favorite fruit dessert, German's Sweet Chocolate Cake was her favorite cake and so that's what I baked today. It's one of those special desserts that's not only decandent, but comforting. It's easy to bake so don't get scared off by the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Spray three 8 or 9-inch round cake pans with a flour/oil spray (Baker's Joy) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Microwave 1 pkg. (40z.) Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, broken into squares with 1/2 cup water
on HIGH for 45 sec to 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside.
Beat: 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
until light and fluffy. Then add: 4 egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Blend in melted chocolate and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Add flour mixture alternately with 1 cup buttermilk*, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stire into batter. Pour evenly into prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted in the centers, comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before turning layers out onto a rack. Cool cake layers completely then spread with Coconut-Pecan Frosting.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting: Beat 4 egg yolks, 1 can (12 ozs) evaporated milk, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla until well blended. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter. Cool on medium heat approximately 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Add: 1 pkg. (7 oz) Baker's Angel Flake Coconut and 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans. Mix well. (Makes enough frosting to do three layers)
*Substitue: If you don't have buttermilk, just add 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk; let stand 10 minutes.

My mother was not only a wonderful baker, but an accomplished watercolor artist, knitter, seamtress,  gardener and successful at pretty much anything she attempted.  She raised eight children and was married to my Dad for almost 50 years before her passing. I miss her everyday, but I will share a special gift she gave me and why this blog is so named "My Mother's Apron Strings." When I got married, almost 42 years ago, she gave me a sash cut from one of her aprons. At the time I thought it signified letting me go to create a home and raise a family. Now, I look back and believe she gave it to me as a way to hold on to her. Thank you for all my gifts...I miss you.
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  1. I wish we could still hold on to her in person--I miss her and Grandpa all of the time. I missed out on this cake for a lot of years because I "Hated coconut--yuck!" Now I love it and I'm so glad to have her recipe and memory with me.

  2. I am totally crying reading this! I never knew that story about the apron strings...that is so amazing. I miss grandma (and grandpa too). I remember this was her favorite...I love it as well.

  3. Your Mama is so beautiful! Ben's birthday is the day before your mother's and his favorite cake is German's Chocolate, too! I'm so glad to have this recipe. Thank you for sharing it and the precious story :)

  4. Making that beautiful cake is such a great way to honor your mother! :) Your blog is like food for the soul!

  5. Susan, thank you for the beautiful tribute to Mom on her 90th birthday. I,too, miss her evry day of my life but am grateful at the same time for the years we had together and all the wonderful things I have in my heart to remember her. My apron sash was given to me on August 30, 1957 and now I also think that it was a way of holding on to her. Thank you again. I love you, Barb

  6. Susan - thank you for sharing your mom with us - through you. It really feels special. hugs - Cathy

  7. Hi Susan! Molly made this cake and brought some to work - and it was DELICIOUS!!! Thought you would want to know! -Cathy

  8. What a nice tribute. I remember that photograph from Granddad’s table in the front room. Nanny was, without a doubt, the most talented and creative woman I've ever known. She introduced me to cooking, baking, sewing, gardening, painting and many, many other creative pursuits. It genuinely warms my heart to see that her extraordinary gifts have been past on to so many members of our extended family.