German Chocolate Cake

1 package (4-oz.) sweet baking chocolate 1/2 cup water 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup shortening 3 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk* 1 recipe Coconut-Pecan Frosting; -- see recipe 1 recipe Chocolate Butter Frosting, (optional), -- see recipe

In a small heavy saucepan heat chocolate and water over low heat till chocolate is melted, stirring to blend. Cool. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. In a small mixing bowl stir together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat sugar and shortening on medium speed of an electric mixer till fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed till combined. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Beat in chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk or sour milk, beating on low speed after each addition just till combines. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans. Bake at 350 about 30 minutes for 9 inch pans; 35 to 40 minutes for 8 inch pans, or until toothpicks inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on wire racks. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. To assemble: Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread half of the Coconut-Pecan Frosting on top; repeat layers. If desired, frost the sides with Chocolate Butter Frosting. Store in the refrigerator till ready to serve. Makes 12 servings.

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