Most of my fond childhood memories revolve around food, family, and special occasions, and my Grandmother Nora’s Old Fashioned German Chocolate Pound Cake would be at the forefront of those memories, not only for me, but also for our entire family.
This recipe was one of her signature cakes which was served at family reunions, church luncheons, and every day meals. I’m sure it was also taken to those who were sick and homebound, and to the funeral home to offer solace and comfort to those who needed it most––those bygone, small Southern town traditions at their finest.
Finding Our Heirloom Recipes
A couple of summers ago, the boys and I went to visit my Aunt Kay who was recovering from knee surgery. As we sat talking, I asked her if she had Nan’s recipe box.
“No, there was no recipe box”, she said–– or even a notebook. But Aunt Kay did have a big bag of recipes that she dragged out for me and we sorted through, shared memories, and reminisced for quite some time.
Nan had written most of the recipes in her spidery scrawl on, I imagine, what was closest at hand at the time––old envelopes, the order pad from her restaurant, receipts, etc. Each piece of paper offering up a story of its own of what she was doing and when she was doing it. Most of the recipes looked like this one:
A simple list of ingredients.
Without any directions.
If you’re a cook, then you probably don’t see a problem with this. However, if you’re like me, then you need every step written out for you.
But I took pictures of the recipes, uploaded them on my computer, and promptly forgot about them.
Then one day I decided to be brave. I was going to revive our family’s Old Fashioned German Chocolate Pound Cake.
I searched Google.
I searched Pinterest.
I searched my collection of vintage recipe books.
And I found nada. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Where did this cake come from? Surely there was a recipe somewhere out there which was similar?!?!
So I did the next best thing. I sent a text to my mom and Aunt Kay, both of whom quickly responded with, “We didn’t watch her make it. We just ate it.”
Another long, exasperating sigh.
But I kept after them and they finally did give some input in how things should be combined.
So here’s my family’s take on how ingredients should be combined to make the batter.
We decided she had used plain flour instead of cake flour. I’ve tried it with both with very similar results.
My aunt believes Nan used granulated sugar for the icing because it often had a grainy texture. You can always try powdered sugar for a smoother icing but I’m not sure how it will turn out.
Old Fashioned German Chocolate Pound Cake
- 2 sticks margarine
- 2½ cups sugar
- ½ cup Crisco (shortening)
- 3 cups plain flour
- 5 eggs
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 square German chocolate
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup Crisco
- ⅔ cup milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- Boil 2 minutes then beat for 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease and flour a round tube pan and set aside.
- Melt German Chocolate. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Cream margarine, sugar, and crisco until light and fluffy.
- Beat in one egg at a time and blend well.
- Sift dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients alternating with the milk making sure not to over beat at this point.
- Add melted German Chocolate and vanilla.
- Pour into prepared tube pan and bake on center rack at 325 degrees for an 60 to 80 minutes.
- Remove from oven and invert tube pan and allow the cake to cool.
- Chocolate Frosting:
- Place all ingredients in sauce pan and bring to a slow boil.
- Boil for 2 minutes while stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and beat (with mixer) for 5 minutes.
- Pour over cake that's resting on a cooling rack and baking sheet.
Tips: Allow eggs to come to room temperature before beginning. This will make for a fluffier cake.
Be careful not to over bake or the cake will turn out dry. If this happens you can leaving it sitting for a couple of days. We’ve found that it generally gets more moist the longer it sits. Maybe it’s due to our high humidity here in the South.
Frosting the German Chocolate Pound Cake
After you have boiled the frosting for 2 minutes then removed it from heat and beat it with an electric mixer it’s time to pour it over the pound cake.
Here is what it looks like immediately after pouring the frosting on the cake
And here is what it looks like just about a minute later.
And a couple minutes after that it’s all set up.
I left it sitting on the rack for a while before transferring it my cake plate.
I have also poured the icing on while the pound cake was already sitting on a larger cake plate than the one shown in these pictures.
Just a warning. It’s doable but messy. If you prefer a neat presentation then use the cooling rack and baking sheet method. If you prefer to have all of that extra chocolate icing yumminess, then go for the cake plate. Just remember to use a large cake plate so that it doesn’t run over the edges.
I hope you enjoy my Nan’s Old Fashioned German Chocolate Pound Cake. If you have any tips please leave them in the comments for future reader’s.
You may also enjoy:
The Scoop at Worthing Court
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home