February 02, 2011
My first cake turned out great, so I was up for making another cake last weekend. I had been considering two different cake recipes before deciding on the one I made the previous weekend, so for my second try at cake-making, I went with the one I didn't choose he first time around. A recipe for a Reduced-Fat German Chocolate Cake had been printed in Cook's Country awhile back, and reprinted in this year's edition of The Best of America's Test Kitchen. Although I'm fairly skeptical of low-fat recipes in general, and very much when it comes to thinks like cookies and cakes, this recipe looked and sounded good while promising a cake with less than half the calories and with less than 1/3 the amount of fat in a more typical German chocolate cake.
As it turned out, I needn't have worried about this cake turning out dry or lacking flavor. That isn't to say there weren't a few problems with the recipe, though.
The biggest issue with the recipe is part of how the author got to those low fat and calorie totals... by not completely frosting the cake! The recipe as written produces a fairly small amount of frosting, and directs you to spread it between the cake's two layers and on top of the top layer, and that's it. While the frosting is richly flavored of pecans, caramel and coconut, not frosting the sides of the cake leaves it looking incomplete and makes for a less satisfying eating experience.
That idea doesn't work for me. A big part of the appeal of German chocolate cake is the frosting, and I prefer to deal with calorie and fat issues via portion control rather than sacrificing flavor or enjoyment of what I eat. I ended up making 1 1/2 times the amount of frosting suggested by the printed recipe, which was just enough to frost the entire cake.
The cake itself was quite good. Juli thought it was better than the first cake I made, though I wouldn't go that far. It was flavorful, but not quite as rich as I would prefer for a German chocolate cake. Don't get me, wrong, I liked it, and except for the frosting issue, I think this is a good recipe, but next time I want to make this type of cake, I'll probably risk the extra fat and calories and go for a more traditional recipe. Besides, while I like making cakes, there's no way Juli and I are going to finish off a whole cake by ourselves. As with my first cake, I ended up taking the Reduced-Fat German Chocolate Cake to work and sharing it with my coworkers, and I'll most likely do the same if I end up making a more traditional version.