Cake is one of those things that no matter which way you cook it, it’s always going to end up being delicious. Whether it be cheesecake, chocolate cake, or confetti cake, you just can’t go wrong when making this all-time favorite dessert.
German chocolate cake, however, is the crème de la crème of baked goods, particularly cakes. While we can all agree that German chocolate cake is delicious, not everyone seems to agree on proper storing methods.
Does it need to be frozen? Refrigerated? Wrapped in aluminum foil? These are all questions that any baker is desperate to know the answers to.
The Proper Way to Store German Chocolate Cake
To put it plainly, no, German chocolate cake does not need to be refrigerated in order for it to stay fresh. However, it is important to store it in an airtight container that will keep it from getting stale.
Just because you don’t have to refrigerate German chocolate cake doesn’t mean that you can’t do it at all. In fact, many people seem to like their frosting chilled, so keeping it in the fridge is always a good way to make sure that it stays cool, not to mention that this will keep your cake fresh for as long as you need it to.
Many people also prefer freezing any leftover slices of cake so they can keep it longer. After working so hard on this delectable dessert, you’re going to want to enjoy it as long as you possibly can!
German Chocolate Cake: A Breakdown
So, what exactly is German chocolate cake made out of? This type of cake doesn’t use just regular, run-of-the-mill chocolate. It has to be German chocolate for it to be legitimate.
Combined with boiling water, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, it creates the beginning of the mixture for the cake aspect of the recipe.
This mixture also includes butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Once all of these ingredients are added together, it creates the perfect German chocolate cake batter.
The recipe requires you to make two separate layers of the cake so you’ll need to put the mixture in two pans.
After you’ve baked it long enough, you can move on to making the most important part — the coconut pecan frosting. This frosting is special because it has a custard-like consistency, unlike other types of frosting.
The frosting includes butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg yolks, evaporated milk, and a pinch of salt. Before doing anything, you are going to want to take this mixture and boil it so it turns into that custard-like consistency we just discussed.
If you’ve got a spare whisk around, use it to turn the mixture often to keep it from getting stuck to your saucepan.
After you’re satisfied with the consistency of your frosting, you can begin to add in all of the fun ingredients. This includes your chopped pecans, shredded coconut, and vanilla extract. Your mixture must cool completely before you start to apply it to your cake.
While you can leave the cake as is, you also have the option of including a buttercream frosting that can be included in between the layers of chocolate cake or as extra decoration.
To make the buttercream frosting, you will need butter, cocoa powder that is unsweetened, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and evaporated milk. Once you have both frostings made and the cake has cooled entirely, you can begin layering.
Differences Between German Chocolate Cake and Regular Chocolate Cake
As mentioned earlier, German chocolate cake is special because of one ingredient, the type of chocolate that is used in the recipe. The chocolate is low in cacao but sweetened, which gives it a subtle flavor.
Because of this, some people say that the cake can sometimes lack in flavor. However, using the right chocolate will leave your cake as tasty as any other cake!
History of German Chocolate Cake
Unbeknownst to many people, there’s a little fun fact about German chocolate cake that might surprise many people; it didn’t originate in Germany. That’s right! The name actually comes from the inventor of German chocolate, Samuel German.
German decided that it would be a good idea to combine chocolate with sugar instead of having the extra step that involves adding both ingredients separately to the cake mixture.
While Mr. German is credited with the invention of this particular type of baking chocolate, the idea for the cake came from a woman in Dallas, Texas named Mrs. George Clay, who in 1957 submitted the recipe for the cake to her local news station.
After the recipe was published, it gained quite a large popularity and General Foods, who owned Baker’s brand chocolate, began to circulate the recipe. The rest, as they say, is history. I
n fact, the cake has become so popular that June 11 has been declared National German Chocolate Cake Day.
Funny enough, many people have gotten the cake’s origin mixed up a lot over the years, including U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson, who had the cake served at a luncheon with the then German chancellor, Ludwig Erhard.
So now you know that no, German chocolate cake does not need to be stored in the fridge. However, if you want it to last longer, it would be advisable to store it in the freezer.
If you do decide to take this route, be sure to slice up the pieces of cake first and wrap them in parchment paper so they don’t stick to one another.
German chocolate cake can be modified to be unique to your tastes. You can add maraschino cherries as decoration, which is what is most often seen on top of a completed German chocolate cake.
You can also choose whether or not to frost the sides using the chocolate buttercream frosting that we mentioned earlier.
At the end of the day, you are the one in charge of making this sweet, scrumptious dessert!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.