No Nomsense: Bea’s Chocolate Cake

It might be a bit of a stretch to call this a German Chocolate Cake, though admittedly it is a chocolate cake, and it is German. During my Junior Project, I attended a high school in Germany, and one of my classmates, Bea, brought in a couple slices of this cake one day. She shared some with me, and since the school had no lunchtime, I gladly accepted. Even if there were a lunchtime and I was stuffed, I would have eaten this cake, because it is quite delicious. It isn’t so intensely chocolate, but it has a gentle crumb and a light frosting.

The frosting recipe that Bea gave me called for Frischkäse, which roughly translates as fresh cheese, and is the term that is used to refer to thick dairy products, of which there are many. (I had good luck in saying “I’m from Philadelphia- Like the Frischkäse”) Due to the vague naming of the dairy products (how very un-German), I decided to start my frosting with quark, a product similar to runny sour cream or greek yogurt in texture. It tastes a bit like a fresher version of cream cheese and sour cream, but the flavor is quite unique, so I suggest buying some even if you aren’t making frosting. You can find quark at the Weaver’s Way Co-op in the dairy case, and it is also great for spreading on breads, putting on chillies and using instead of yogurt in recipes.

The frosting also calls for melting white chocolate chips, but don’t worry if the chips don’t totally melt. As long as they melt into a single blob, you can mix it into the rest of the frosting and get a smooth, sweet, and slightly chocolaty frosting. I dyed my frosting a pale pink, just for fun, but I left the middle of the cake not dyed.

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Cake:

6 tbsp butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

½ cup vegetable or canola oil

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

400 g 70% chocolate (2 ⅔ bars Divine Chocolate, Semisweet)

1 cup buttermilk

6 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Cream the butter, add the sugar and oil and mix to combine. Set aside. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan, stirring frequently. Alternatively, melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every few minutes. Pour the melted chocolate into the butter mixture, and stir until well combined. Mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture and then the flour mixture into the chocolate butter mixture.  Beat the egg whites until fluffy and stiff. Slowly fold the batter into the egg whites. Divide the batter into two (or three) buttered and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Cook for 30 minutes. Allow to cool to the touch before removing from pan, and allow to cool entirely before frosting.

Icing:

6 tsp butter, at room temperature

3 oz cream cheese

8 oz quark

1 ¼ cups (400 g) white chocolate chips

¼ tsp almond extract

Cream the butter and cream cheese. Add the quark and almond extract and mix well. Melt the white chocolate chips in a saucepan. They may not melt fully, but they should become one blob the texture of hard dough. Add into the creamed mixture and mix until combined.

Preparation: Place a cake on the serving plate. Frost the top of it, and add another cake. If you have three cakes, frost the top of this cake, too, and put the third cake on top. If you want a nice color to your icing, dye it now. I used two drops of Neon purple dye. Frost the entire cake, and place in the fridge to allow the frosting to harden. Remove it from the fridge an hour before serving. If you are planning on serving the cake right after it’s been frosted, there’s no need to refrigerate.