Happy Birthday Nelson!

Today is my roommate Nelson's birthday. I baked this German Chocolate Cake for the occasion. I've made German Chocolate Cake from scratch a couple of times before. It's worth making it from scratch even though it calls for pretty specialized ingredients (like cake flour and sweetened baking chocolate) and it is a rather complicated cake to make. This time I varied the recipe for the cake slightly and experimented some with the frosting. Overall I was quite pleased with the results. The frosting calls only for egg yolks, so at the recommendation of The Joy of Cooking (my favorite cookbook) I added the extra egg whites left over from the frosting to the whipped egg whites folded into the cake to make a total of seven egg whites. This did make a noticeable difference in the texture of the cake: it was lighter and fluffier. I ended up making two batches of the frosting so there would be enough to frost between the layers and on the top and sides. I made the first batch normally; for the second one I toasted the pecans and the coconut before adding them into the frosting. Initially the difference was pretty stark, but after putting it on the cake and letting it cool the difference was only very subtle. I definitely prefer the toasted frosting. I don't think most people tonight could tell the difference between the two. I also used half-and-half instead of the usual evaporated milk for the frosting. I think the flavor did turn out better. I am pretty sure it would be even better when made from heavy cream. I intend to do that next time. Finally, for the chocolate drizzled down the sides I used Ghirardelli semisweet baking chocolate combined with a small amount of shortening. I typically simply use melted chocolate chips for things like that. Ghirardelli was markedly better and is definitely worth the extra cost. Happy Birthday Nelson!