Sometimes you feel like you’re batting a thousand, and sometimes you just don’t.

German Chocolate Cake with a decadent coconut and pecan frosting

I’m watching The Biggest Loser as I write this. Well sort of watching, it’s more in my sideline view. Those people are seriously changing their lives. 160 pounds lost and more? I mean wow. They have a team and millions of eyeballs motivating them to succeed and the big money prize for the winner doesn’t hurt.

But they themselves are making it happen.

I also watched the State of the Union address tonight. I cried at the President’s introduction of Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, a man who fought for his country and who on his 10th deployment (TEN!??!) was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

German Chocolate Cake with a decadent coconut and pecan frosting

Tonight he was celebrated by President Obama and a 3 minute standing ovation from both sides of the divided aisle.

“His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.

For months, he lay in a coma. And the next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, hours of grueling rehab every day.

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again, and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.

“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.

Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy. Truer words…and he’s making it happen.

German Chocolate Cake with a decadent coconut and pecan frosting

German Chocolate Cake with a decadent coconut and pecan frosting

I’m certainly no soldier. I haven’t conquered the internal struggles of those biggest losers.  But January is birthday month for me. Time to take a look, evaluate and see who and what I am and what challenge I see in my future. Sometimes I love what I see, sometimes, not so much.

But if I don’t take a look at myself, and cross check my perception versus reality, then where is the next challenge to conquer, the next mountain to climb? Or even a reason to get out of bed?

Are you happy? Are you yearning? Are you challenged? Are you bored? Are you still searching?

My birthday challenge to you is the same one I’ve given to myself. Take a look at where you are, right now. Today. While you’re surfing the internet because you’re bored or hungry or a friendly follower (thank you!)

Today, choose one thing you want to change and make one goal, one statement, to make it happen.

And then just do it. Love yourself. Be yourself. And keep on being you.

German Chocolate Cake with a decadent coconut and pecan frosting

German Chocolate Cake with a decadent coconut and pecan frosting

This German Chocolate Cake has always been my birthday cake favorite. It’s the only one I ask for, well, except for this one. I’m a fan of things that contain real ingredients, which is why I make this cake from scratch rather than from a box. And that’s why I always look for the ®REAL Seal when I’m buying the real deal instead of imitators. It’s the only way I know I’m buying dairy products made from U.S.-produced cow’s milk, obviously including milk, but also the buttermilk and butter in this recipe, not to mention my favorite cheese and sour cream i may or may not have nibbled on the side. Yep, get the real deal.

About the recipe:

German Chocolate is merely a chocolate that is 48% cocoa. It isn’t really even German (although I am) but was originated here in the U.S.

My mom always made me my German Chocolate Cake in the bundt form, but this time out, I broke out my new 8-inch cake pans that my husband visibly shuddered at as I bought them, and made myself a 3-tier cake. He’s happy I made the purchase now.

I revert back to my days as a Hostess Twinkie packager—and sometimes Hostess Cupcakes—when I take the cakes out of the pans. The guys on the line would SMACK the cupcake pans as hard as they could onto the conveyer belt for the cupcakes to be released from the cakepan’s hold and onto the frosting dripper. So I do what they did and SMACK them on my counter. I get a clean release every time.

I usually freeze my coconut and pecans because I don’t use them as often as I’d like. They’ll stay good for 6 months to a year.

I forgot that I usually double the frosting, just to have it extra gooey. Next time, I will.

German Chocolate Cake with a decadent coconut and pecan frosting

German Chocolate Cake
Serves: serves 8-10
For the Cake
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 8 ounces German’s sweet chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
For the Frosting
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
For the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter three 8-inch baking pans and line them with parchment paper.
  3. Set a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Add the German chocolate and melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  4. Whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium size bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolk and beat into the mixture one at a time. Add the vanilla and mix in. Add the buttermilk and the flour mixture in 3 alternating batches, ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the melted chocolate until incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes come out clean. Place the cakes on a rack and let cool completely. Turn the cakes out of the pans and peel off the parchment paper.
For the Frosting
  1. Add the yolks to a small saucepan and beat with a hand mixer until yolks thicken and begin to ribbon, about 2-3 minutes. Add evaporated milk, sugar and vanilla and mix. Add butter and heat on medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes or until mixture becomes golden brown and thickens. Remove from heat and add coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Using a knife or offset spatula, spread one third of the frosting evenly over the top of one cake. Top with the second cake layer and spread one third more of the frosting on top. Top with the final cake and spread the rest of the frosting. Serve at room temperature.

As always, thanks for reading. And thanks for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. This post is in partnership with ®REAL Seal, and I always like buying real ingredients.

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