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Nostalgic Craving for Cake

Asked by Zozee. Answered on 19th June 2012

Full question

Hi Team Nigella, I have a very vivid memory of eating delicious chocolate sponge cake, served at children's parties when I was little (about 20-25 years ago), that had desiccated coconut either in the cake mixture or in the icing. It seemed to be a popular choice for birthday cakes back then, but I haven't had anything like it for years! If this sounds at all familiar to you (or is it just me that remembers it?), then have you any idea how I could recreate it at home? Thanks very much! Zoe

Our answer

We suspect that the cake you are thinking of is known as a German Chocolate Cake. It is still a popular choice in American bakeries and cake stores (both as a layer caker and in cupcake form). The cake gets its name from a US brand of baking chocolate, called Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, which bacame popular from the latter half of the 19th Century.

Unfortunately Nigella hasn't yet developed her own recipe for the cake, however there are many recipes avilable in baking books (usually American ones) and on-line. The cake is a chocolate sponge which usually contains melted chocolate in the batter. The filling is a caramel flavoured custard-type icing with chopped pecans and shredded coconut mixed in (we would suggest using American style sweetened shredded coconut for this). Sometimes the cake is just sandwiched with the filling and some extra spread on top, and sometimes it is sandwiched with the caramel filling and then coated on the top and sides with a chocolate flavoured buttercream.

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