I am reading this great book right now called “Bread and Wine” by Shauna Niequist. My fiend Kim lent it to me and I have been TEARING through it. Nick is thoroughly surprised as I usually do not read through book suggestions this quickly… or through any books at all! I have this wonderful habit of reading a book 1/2 to 3/4 through and then starting another book and forgetting about it. I actually did this twice consecutively this summer leading up to this book. But it won’t happen this time as I can hardly put it down and will definitely have it finished within the 2 week mark.
Shauna’s simple and honest chapters have drawn me in and I have connected with them. They seem to be teaching me a few things. One, to experiment more with food and test and grow my boundaries. Two, she has rekindled my love for entertaining and instilled in me a desire to throw fantastically normal get-togethers at our house. What I mean by normal… is just, the reminder that things don’t have to be perfect, they will never go how you planned, but people, love, and community are the important parts to make central to the event.
I got to practice this “let go and host” mentality for an Oktoberfest event for our small group. I was only asked to provide dessert and open my doors and everyone else would bring the rest. I invited a few last minute guests as well to test my welcoming spirit and 2 out 3 invites came and made the party so much better!
The recipe I chose for Oktoberfest challenged me as a baker to make something pretty, not just good tasting. Most of the things I make are not difficult or detailed in presentation and I am not a detailed person so I do not often try complicated recipes. “The Best German Chocolate Cake in All the Land” was the base for my cake. I made a few adjustments based on need and preference, but just about followed this recipe from Yammie’s Noshery.
This picture describes the massive, messy, chocolaty German cake we had.
The alterations I made to the recipe (linked above) was as follows:
- Midnight Cocoa (high in protein) instead of dark cocoa
- Canned coconut milk instead of cow’s milk
- 2 cups sugar + 1/2 cup Stevia instead of 3 cups sugar
- All-purpose gluten-free flour instead of rice flour
- German frosting:
- Unsweetened shredded coconut instead of sweetened
- Pecans only for the top layer, not throughout
- Milk Chocolate Frosting:
- 4 cups powdered sugar instead of 5 cups
- Leftover evaporated milk instead of cow’s milk
So, a few of those things I changed out of necessity and might not have otherwise… like the pecans. I didn’t have any and by the time Nick got home with them the cake was done, so I sprinkled them on top. I do try to replace some sugar with Stevia when I can, and there is SOOO much sugar in this recipe that you will NOT notice a difference in taste. I also almost never put as much powdered sugar into frosting recipes as they call for, just on general principle that I am appalled at how much sugar it takes to make frosting!
Although I am not adding it to the Baked True North menu, it has inspired a few new recipes that I will be experimenting with and you may see those on the menu in the next month (German chocolate cookies…?)!
Overall I had a blast making this recipe and everyone loved how rich it was, even though they couldn’t eat more than a small piece.