Sunday Cake: German Chocolate Cake with Seafoam Frosting

Does it deserve stars?

One day last year when I was on a walk, I came upon two ladies standing by the trunk of a car, one of them holding a cake looking like this one. I asked what it was and the baker told me that it was her family favorite and she was taking it to a meeting of friends who were going to pay $5 each for a slice. I asked again about the type of cake and frosting. She said that it was German Chocolate Cake with Seafoam Frosting. I offered her $5 for a slice then and there, but she declined. I then offered her $10 for a slice and she declined again, saying that all the pieces were already sold.

I’ve had that cake in mind since then and, having made three layers of German Chocolate Cake last month, using just one in a three-layer birthday cake and frozen the other two layers, I decided the time for my own experimentation with her cake plan had come, minus one layer.

There are basically two ways to prepare Seafoam Frosting, both requiring a lot of mixer time. One requires blending brown sugar, corn syrup, water and egg whites over boiling water and standing over it with an electric hand mixer for “7-Minute Frosting” which, in my experience as a youth baker, meant a lot more than seven minutes beating the foamy goo into a frosting. My hand mixer is very heavy! I’m no longer a youth and holding a heavy mixer over boiling water for at least 10 minutes did not appeal, so I opted for the other main way to prepare this frosting. Simply bring the sugar, syrup and water to a boil and to 242 degrees Fahrenheit, then slowly drizzle it into egg whites beaten to stiff peaks in a stand mixer while awaiting the candy syrup to reach temperature, then mix on high speed until peaks form before frosting. Voila!

The frosting is definitely the star.

The Seafoam frosting does not have as much sugar as buttercreams but it’s pretty sweet and I think maybe it’s actually too sweet for German Chocolate Cake. I shared the whole thing in slices and heard “yummms” and saw gratitude all afternoon as I delivered it on plate after plate.

It is more commonly used on spice cakes. However, it’s the kind of frosting which is easy to eat by the spoon! (I got the bowl during first quarter of the Seattle Seahawks game against the Lions, so I know.)

Note: I used the recipe in the 1971 Bantam version of my Betty Crocker All-Time Favorites cookbook. It’s called Satiny Beige Frosting therein, a variation of White Mountain Frosting. The recipe is: stir 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan with a handle; bring to boil on medium heat under a lid (I didn’t use lid because I don’t have one and it boiled before I could cut a piece of foil to fit) then insert candy thermometer and leave it alone to boil vigorously to 242 degrees WITHOUT STIRRING. While it’s boiling like mad, use your stand mixer to whip 2 egg whites to stiff peaks (don’t overmix and take care not to get a single drop of egg yolk in it.) When the syrup reaches 242, turn the mixer on medium speed and pour it in a thin stream (takes a couple minutes) paying attention to your work. Then turn mixer up to high speed and beat until standing peaks form in the frosting when you lift a bit up as you’re scraping the sides while bowl goes around and around. At that point, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, mix it in well. Frost your cake.

The differences between Seafoam Frosting (Satiny Beige) and White Mountain Foam are two: Seafoam has brown sugar, the other has granulated. Seafoam has only 1/2 teaspoon vanilla while the White Mountain has a full 1 teaspoon.

The recipe frosts a 13″ x 9″ cake lavishly or two 8″ or 9″ layers comfortably.


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