I've always wanted to try boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk to make caramelized milk. I read about it first almost ten years ago in a Russian novel called In the First Circle - prisoners in a special academic prison camp manage to acquire a can of it for a birthday celebration. The recipe sounded magical and improbable, about as unlikely as their "orange cake" made of potato peels, but Solzhynitsyn did not make this one up.
|Photo by Pinot & Dita|
Once it cools it's simple to stir in coconut and pecans for a cake filling. So thick! So sticky! And the cake becomes so very tall. Originally I planned to put some coconut filling on top of the cake too, but it was easier this way. And it meant there was more room for chocolate.
The cake itself is made with coconut flour, which is gluten free, higher in protein than wheat flour and less of a tease to your blood sugar levels. Alternative flour may seem like an exotic or expensive ingredient, but most recipes only call for a small amount of it and make up for lost volume with eggs. The small bag of coconut flour I got in order to try it out has lasted me several months of baking now, but I used almost a whole dozen eggs making this one cake. The chocolate flavor covers any trace of coconut in this recipe. Of course, you could just swap in any chocolate cake recipe you like.
Ganache was the natural choice for topping. I'm not sure why anyone bothers with chocolate icing.
The ganache starts out very runny- you may begin to wonder if the topping will ever harden. It should still be spreadable after refrigeration, but it will stay firm on the cake as long as you store the cake in the fridge. The cake doesn't stand up to heat well, so that's something to keep in mind if you make this during the summer. But does that matter when it's so enticing by the light of birthday candles?
Double Coconut German Chocolate Cake
Coconut filling: Recipe from Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake on Epicurious
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
4 ounces coarsely chopped pecans (1 cup)
14-ounces can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the can of sweetened condensed milk by at least one inch. Bring the water to a boil. Remove the label from the milk can, and boil for 90 minutes.
2. Once the can is cool enough to handle, pour the contents into a bowl and stir together with pecans, vanilla and coconut.
Chocolate Cake: adapted from the Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake recipe from Elana's Pantry
3/4 c. coconut flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. vegetable oil
1 c. agave nectar
1/2 c. honey
1 T. vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare two 9" cake pans by buttering and then dusting with coconut flour. If you want to be sure they will come out clean, use an oiled circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (coconut flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda) and stir until they are thoroughly mixed and there are no lumps in the coconut flour. In a separate large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the liquid ingredients (eggs, oil, agave nectar & honey, vanilla extract) and whisk together. With the mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients to the wet until completely combined. Don't worry about over-mixing - coconut flour can handle it.
3. Pour equal amounts of batter into the cake pans, and bake for 35-45 minutes. Because the cakes are dark, checking them for doneness after 35 minutes.
1 c. heavy cream
12 oz. dark chocolate, semi-sweet or bittersweet
To make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in the chocolate pieces until combined. Refrigerate until almost firm.
Assembling the cake:
After stacking the layers and filling, I suggest refrigerating the cake to firm it up while preparing the ganache. A chilled cake will help the chocolate set more quickly.
Other ways of eating: gluten-free