Friday, April 23, 2010

The Secret of the Best German Chocolate Cake

When I was a young girl, my father’s birthday meant Esther Stinchfield’s German Chocolate Cake. At that time, my dad was a bishop in our church and watched over the elderly widows as part of his duties. One sweet, energetic woman called Esther Stinchfield, then in her late 80's, never tired of expressing her appreciation for his help by making his favorite concoction for him each year for his birthday.

The cake she presented him with annually was not a typical German chocolate cake that would weigh one down; instead, it seemed to float in a heavenly manner down to your stomach where it would settle with a great deal of satisfaction. Outside, the cake was smothered in creamy white whipped cream frosting; inside, the moist double-layered cake contained a thick coconut pecan filling.

For years we wondered how she made it taste so good and begged her for the recipe, but she usually just smiled in response to our requests. Finally, when I was a teenager and she was in her 90's, I struck a deal with her. She had been in poor health, so I offered to clean her cute little house if she would teach me the ways of the German Chocolate Cake- and she agreed! I enthusiastically cleaned, then we made her cake step by step, side by side.

As it turned out, she was quite the little tiger and had been using boxed cake mix and canned frosting all those years! I still say her cake is the best - maybe it’s the frosting! The silky, light whipped cream (slightly sweetened with powdered sugar) balances out the dense filling so that overall cake is not too heavy. In recent years, I have learned that if I dot the top of the cake with walnut halves and sprinkle generously with toasted coconut, it makes an extremely impressive dessert. I made this cake last week for a co-worker’s birthday and everyone loved it. It reminded me to be grateful for that wonderful, giving woman who has since passed away. Thanks, Sister Stinchfield - for the "recipe".


  1. Oh how I miss that woman! What a sweeheart!

  2. I know, wasn't she? Not to mention her amazing quilts!


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