TODAY

TODAY   |  February 21, 2013

Willie bakes a family fave: German chocolate cake

TODAY’s Willie Geist recalls fond childhood memories of baking family his favorite German chocolate cake with his mother, and chef Gesine Bullock-Prado demonstrates how to make her version of the decadent chocolate treat.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> that's the german theme on today's kitchen's melting pot . and a cake that brings back great memories for me, not just because of that frosting, the german chocolate cake . i started as a young kid, like a lot of kids, i had a superman cake or different theme cake. then i hit the age where i think my mom thought i was ready for the german chocolate cake she makes for my dad. she would make it for my birthday every year. just the sight of that, the taste of that frosting just reminds me of being at home with my mom and my dad and my sister and my friends. i went with the german chocolate cake because my last name is germ german, geist . when you break it down, i'm german, french, english, irish, i'm norwegian. it's not quite clear what i am. like a lot of americans, i'm a little bit of a mutt. i've just received word the german chocolate cake , like me, is not really german. i think there's something about the homemade birthday cake because my wife, on my daughter's first birthday, started a tradition, where she takes a full cake and cuts the number of the birthday out of it. the first is number 1 , i have the number 2 cake and 3 cake and just through those images the cake tradition lives on. funny how a piece of food can bring you back to such a good and happy place. it does every year, still, at my advanced age . here to make her version is our chef of "bake it like you mean it." and chrissy is here as well. can i be honest, the german chocolate cake is not even german.

>> not even remotely. from texas.

>> my childhood, i thought it was from my geist heritage.

>> i'm assuming a guy named german was german. it is like german and you can still pretend it's german.

>> you will make a twist, a more sophisticated version?

>> it is. this is a true german cake, my mother's favorite. they're called a german name and i called it after my mother, helga. couldn't be more german than that.

>> you're fluent in german.

>> how do you say no?

>> nin.

>> nin, nothing. what do we do here?

>> first, we have the batter incredibly easy. you have almond tasting butter and eggs and sugar and flower and spices. i like to add a little ginger to make it spicy and cinnamon. you don't have to. it won't change the batter. the important part is you divide it evenly among three.

>> why do you do that?

>> because we will mix stuff in two. to one we add cocoa powder and black currant jam, which is very very german. you can mix it up. feel free to add whatever you like.

>> all you. i will get in on it.

>> we will divide the batter, divide the batter. we will put it on the sheet pan as well as you can, because it can run over a little bit.

>> you want three separate sections?

>> three separate sections. you don't have to be perfect because you can trim it as you go along?

>> if you're not a baker, can you mess this up?

>> no. you bake and no one will know and you eat it and no one will ever know. we have one that is going to be plain. the batter is relatively thick. you can smooth it out and know you will have a nice barrier, if it's too runny, refrigerator it 10 minutes .

>> go in here?

>> easy-peasy. you can bake it until it is firm and springs back to the touch and here we have the cake.

>> beautiful.

>> what you will do then. this is one of the simplest cakes because it doesn't require simp fancy frosting on the inside. you boil the sugar until it is melted. if you accidentally overcooked your cake, no worries. isn't that simple? then you start stacking with a little more courant jelly and you stack that stack. we would put a piece of marsh marshpand on the top and treat it with gonash.

>> you stack them up.

>> and you cut them up like they are here or slices, one, two, three, four, for or kids' birthday cake . there you go.

>> chrissy, i will get you one. thank you so much. now, i feel actually german, not texas german .

>> you are always a german to me.

>> thank you.

>> with a name like geist .

>> right. how can i not be.

>> you cannot be.