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Baker's Sweet Choc. (Subs for German Choc. Cake)


jgarner53
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A good friend requested German chocolate cake for her birthday. Since I can't stand it, I never make it, and thus have never even looked for a good quality subsitute to the "sweet baking chocolate" called for in the recipe. I know that typically, one uses Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate (which is what's found in the supermarket).

Can I use my 62% E. Guittard instead? Or is this chocolate sweeter, with a lower percentage of cocoa solids?

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I've made German Chocolate Cake a couple of times, but I've never used Baker's German Chocolate. Are you talking about the chocolate for the cake or the frosting? Not knowing what the recipe calls for (bittersweet/semisweet, etc.), I don't know to suggest. My guess is that Baker's German Chocolate does not have as much cocoa solids as the E. Guittard's 62%. I think any good chocolate (like Guittard) would do. Good luck with your cake. Just curious, how come you don't like German Chocolate Cake? I love it!

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A good friend requested German chocolate cake for her birthday. Since I can't stand it, I never make it, and thus have never even looked for a good quality subsitute to the "sweet baking chocolate" called for in the recipe. I know that typically, one uses Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate (which is what's found in the supermarket).

Can I use my 62% E. Guittard instead? Or is this chocolate sweeter, with a lower percentage of cocoa solids?

I would think it would be fine. I have made it with different chocolates and it works well. I bet your friend is more looking for the frosting, that I believe, overwhelms whatever cake you would pour it over

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Bakers will certainly be sweeter but the frosting is so sweet no one will likely miss the sweetness in the cake. I think most people have only ever had german chocolate cake from a box so the texture will be different, the flavor will be different, they'll be amazed that you actually made a cake from scratch and will see the differences as more "gourmet".

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The January/February issue of Cook's Obsessive, er, Illustrated has an article on "Perfecting German Chocolate Cake," and the recipe they develop uses good-quality chocolate and some cocoa instead of the German's Chocolate, which they say is "too sweet and lacking in chocolate flavor." I'd try that.

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Doh. Now why didn't I remember that from the Jan/Feb issue? Probably because I didn't read the article, since I don't like GC cake.

I'll just go ahead and use my E. Guittard. Then at least I can scrape off the frosting and eat the cake by itself. :raz: The cake does also have cocoa powder in it (the recipe I'm using is from Cooking Light, since she's on WW and wants it lighter), and I use good, rich cocoa, so it will definitely be a chocolate cake.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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  • 1 year later...

I'd like to follow the recipe for the 'german's chocolate cake, question is what can I sub for their brand of chocolate? The box says only that it's a sweet chocolate bar. My sister is convinced that only the German brand will do for the German chocolate cake, I say you can make it better with a better quality chocolate....

So, I've got Schaffenberger bittersweet and semi, also a 99% unsweetened. I'm using good butter etc, so why not use a better chocolate? The chocolate flavor is really just water and chocolate melted together and mixed into the batter. It is not in the frosting at all, but if I use my good stuff, I'll probably announce it with curls on top.

So what do you think????

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edited to reflect merge

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Actually, I was working on my own German Chocolate cake recipe a few weeks ago. The secret is replacing the baking chocolate with cocoa. It's a tip I already discovered working on some of my other chocolate cake types, but Cook's Illustrated illustrates it clearer, such a pun. They discovered, as did I, that by making a paste with cocoa and hot water, then letting it cool slightly before adding to the recipe, you get a more pronounced chocolate flavor.

To do this though, you either have to find a chocolate cake recipe that calls for cocoa or convert the one you have using German's chocolate and by that, I mean figure out the breakdown of the amount of chocolate called for and note its components, such as sugar, fat, etc and alter the recipe as such.

The other problem, which is why I was never a big fan of German chocolate cakes until I figured them out, is that traditionally, they tend to include a large portion of milk. Milk, as it does in a cup of hot chocolate made with milk, tones down flavors and especially so with chocolate in cakes. One could say that German chocolate cakes are really milk chocolate cakes. That is not to say you should replace the milk in the recipe. Milk has other wonderful characteristics in cakes such as giving them substantial texture. The key for a successful German chocolate cake is to add enough chocolate to the recipe to counterbalance the muting effect.

Whalla! There you have the problems and some solutions for German Chocolate Cake, probably more than you wanted. :biggrin:

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I agree with your sister. I mean, if you don't use German's Chocolate, it ain't a German chocolate cake. Put it this way, if you were making liver & onions, you wouldn't substitute fois gras and called it liver & onions. German's chocolate is what you use to make German chocolate cake. You can make a zillion chocolate cakes out of any chocolate. Using what is described as better chocolate makes a different chocolate cake, not a German chocolate cake.

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Actually, I was working on my own German Chocolate cake recipe a few weeks ago.  The secret is replacing the baking chocolate with cocoa. It's a tip I already discovered working on some of my other chocolate cake types, but Cook's Illustrated illustrates it clearer, such a pun. They discovered, as did I, that by making a paste with cocoa and hot water, then letting it cool slightly before adding to the recipe, you get a more pronounced chocolate flavor.

To do this though, you either have to find a chocolate cake recipe that calls for cocoa or convert the one you have using German's chocolate and by that, I mean figure out the breakdown of the amount of chocolate called for and note its components, such as sugar, fat, etc and alter the recipe as such.

The other problem, which is why I was never a big fan of German chocolate cakes until I figured them out, is that traditionally, they tend to include a large portion of milk.  Milk, as it does in a cup of hot chocolate made with milk, tones down flavors and especially so with chocolate in cakes. One could say that German chocolate cakes are really milk chocolate cakes.  That is not to say you should replace the milk in the recipe. Milk has other wonderful characteristics in cakes such as giving them substantial texture. The key for a successful German chocolate cake is to add enough chocolate to the recipe to counterbalance the muting effect.

Whalla!  There you have the problems and some solutions for German Chocolate Cake, probably more than you wanted.  :biggrin:

I agree with all of the above. I dug out my issue of Cooks to see what else they had to say.

To counteract the almost non-existant choc. flavor (I just made the German's cake last week, so results are still in my head) I subbed semi sweet and coco powder. I didn't worry about adjusting the sugar, as I agree with Cooks..the cake is too sweet as written. !

I really think the above subs add a good flavor, even with keeping the buttermilk. I also like their idea of adding the whole eggs instead of separating and whipping and folding etc. Anything to save a step!And the icing is overkill imo, but is soooo addicting. It really is a favorite though, and when someone wants it for their birthday I comply.

Cake is out of the oven, I'll start the frosting and put it together in the morning. Thanks, everyone. I cannot give the bottom line on the flavor until the birthday girl blows out the candles, but I can say that it sure smells richer, and the color is not as anemic.

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fyi, the icing is done, but doubled. What we usually do is to double the icing so that we can frost the sides of the cake. This takes A LOT longer for the frosting to cook, just beware. Also, I have 'issues' with this recipe (the original), for example: usually you add the vanilla at the end, after cooking. When you use vanilla on heat I've understood that it screws up the vanilla flavor. don't know how, but I've always understood it to be so. My point is that, when doubled, I'm using 3 tsp. of vanilla. I'm thinking I could use the original 1 1/2 tsp. and stir it in when the mix comes off heat

the other is that the original does not use toasted pecans. I think this is the ideal. That said, I ruined 7 bucks worth breaking up yet another sibling thing.

It'll work, I could almost wish it didn't....then they wouldn't ask again! but that would take out the joy. I do like doing this, and I like tweaking things. I really think that what you (literally) bring to the table is important. This will be perfect. I've promised. and I will supply pic's as soon as I read the tutorial.

It's all good.

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