Sunday Dessert – German Chocolate Cake (Smaller Version)

Since my 86 years have started to catch up with me, I don’t cook as often, particularly experimenting with new recipes that I can share. I do still cook the family holiday meals, though, and every Sunday fix lunch for my two daughters which features a favorite recipe and is followed by 3 hours of various kinds of needlework and chatting. For these lunches, I always make something they especially like from my blogs of over 10 years and I thought it might be fun to share my Sunday desserts each week.

On the two Sundays before Thanksgiving, I try to make something that’s the exact opposite of food we might have on that holiday. This week I went with a sort of German theme with a smaller version of German Chocolate cake as dessert and for an entrée, Reuben sandwiches.

My younger daughter is the only one who loves coconut, so I don’t need a big cake. I adapted my recipe to make this smaller version which is plenty for a lunch serving for the three of us with some left over for my daughter to take home. From my 2012 post:

German Chocolate Cake (A Smaller Version)

2 oz. Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate*
¼ cup water
2 eggs, separated
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
Dash salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup buttermilk**
*To substitute for German’s Sweet Chocolate, add 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar for each ounce of unsweetened chocolate.

**To substitute for buttermilk, place 1 Tblsp. white vinegar in a measuring cup and add enough milk to reach one cup (8 oz.). Let stand 5 minutes before using.

Cover bottoms of three 7-1/2 inch loaf pans with waxed paper. Spray sides with cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate and water on high for 1-½ to 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, until chocolate is almost melted. Remove from microwave and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

Beat egg whites in mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.

In the large bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition – beginning and ending with flour mixture.

By hand, gently fold in egg whites.

Divide batter among the three loaf pans.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Immediately loosen the sides of the cakes and allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes.

Remove from pans to wire racks. Remove waxed paper. Let cool completely.

To Make Coconut Pecan Filling/Frosting


2 egg yolks
¾ cup evaporated milk, undiluted
¾ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup plus 2 Tblsp. butter
1-1/3 cups Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut
¾ cup chopped toasted pecans
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, milk and vanilla until well blended. Add sugar and butter and cook on medium heat for 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add coconut and pecans; mix well.  Cool to desired spreading consistency.

Spread 1/3 of the Coconut Pecan Filling/Frosting on top of one layer of the cooled cakes, top with a second layer and spread its top with 1/3 of the filling/frosting. Repeat with the final layer and 1/3 of frosting. 

This is a wonderfully soft, delicious cake but I had a little of trouble handling the layers even in this smaller size. The cake isn’t picture-perfect-looking, but it sure tastes great.

Also served: Reuben sandwiches – corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on homemade rye bread, from my post of 2008




Rye Bread and Reubens


My daughters say they have never found a restaurant version of the Reuben Sandwich that is as good as the one I make, mainly because of my insistence on very lean, good quality corned beef, and because of my homemade rye bread.  They like this rye bread, called “Modest” probably because it is a light rye with no caraway or other strong flavor.


  • Servings: 2 7-1/2-inch loaves plus 4 large rolls
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  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 package fast-rising yeast
  • 3/4 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tblsp. molasses
  • 3 Tblsp canola oil
  • 2-1/4 cups water heated to 130 degrees F

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 cup of rye flour, yeast, dry milk, and salt.  Mix to blend and add molasses, oil and 130 degree F water.  Beat on medium speed with regular beater for 3 minutes.  Insert dough hook and beat another 6:30 minutes, adding flour as needed to make dough elastic and not sticky.

Place dough in oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.

Punch down dough and form into loaves.  I like to divide the dough in thirds and place a third in each of two loaf pans which measure 7-1/2 x 3-3/4 x 2-1/4 inches.  This size makes a nice size slice for making the Reubens.  The remaining third is usually made into large hearty rolls to eat with dinner.

Cover the bread/rolls and let rise 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake this size loaf for approximately 25 minutes and the rolls for approximately 12 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.



  • 1 lb. good quality corned beef, sliced thin
  • 1/2 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
  • Rye bread

To make the sandwiches, I prefer to bake the bread a day ahead of time so it’s more manageable to divide into thin slices (cut off the heels and cut about 12 slices).  Butter a slice of bread and place butter-side-down in a skillet, add a layer of corned beef, a slice of Swiss cheese and a spoonful of sauerkraut, add second slice of buttered bread.  Grill, browning on each side, at a medium high heat to give the beef and cheese a chance to warm before the bread gets too brown.

Serve immediately.  My daughters like to add Thousand Island Dressing to their sandwiches.  The two loaves of bread are about right for the quantity of corned beef, Swiss and sauerkraut, depending on how thick you make your sandwiches.