John Cusack – Mama’s German Chocolate Cake

By Vera Fourie

John Cusack was born on June 28, 1966, in Evanston, Illinois. In 1983, Cusack made his first feature film appearance in the teen comedy Class. His quirky, self-effacing humor earned him roles in numerous films throughout the ’80s, including Sixteen Candles and Better Off Dead. In 1989, he starred in Cameron Crowe’s classic Say Anything. In 1990, he won his first mature role in The Grifters. More recent films include The Butler (2013) and Love & Mercy (2015). Despite his high-profile status as an actor, John Cusak is a virtual stranger to the gossip rags.
He is very, very wary of fame and repelled by Hollywood culture, and highly values his privacy. “The Hollywood culture just eats young actors up and spits them out. It’s a hard thing to survive without finding safe harbour,” John has claimed.
While still in elementary school, John and his sisters Joan and Ann went to the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, Illinois. The Piven’s son, Jeremy, became best friends with John, and the two have done 10 films together.
When he has free time, John likes to go ‘helicopter Snowboarding’ and kick-boxing – for which he has a black belt.

John Cusack - Mama's German Chocolate Cake

Mama’s German Chocolate Cake

1 225-285g chocolate slab (crumbled)
2 Cups of cake flour
1 Teaspoon of baking powder
¼ Teaspoon of salt
1 Cup of softened butter
2 Cups of caster sugar
4 Large eggs (separated)
1 Teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 Cup of buttermilk


Preheat your oven to 180° and lightly grease your cake pans. Melt the crumbed chocolate bar in ½ cup water, making sure it’s melted completely and smooth. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, add egg yolks one at a time – mixing well – and then stir in the chocolate mixture and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, and add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture alternately with buttermilk, and beat well. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and gently fold this into the batter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans and then bake for 25 to 30 minutes (or until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean). Remove from oven and gently run a knife around outer edge of cake layers to loosen them from the sides of pans. While the tiers are still in the pans, let them cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack. Then remove the tiers from pans, and let them cool completely on the rack. Once this is done, spread the coconut-pecan icing between the layers, as well as on top and down the sides of cake.

 John Cusack - Mama's German Chocolate Cake

Coconut-Pecan Icing

2 Cups of chopped pecans
1 Can of evaporated milk
1½ Cups of sugar
¾ Cup of butter
6 Egg yolks (lightly beaten)
2 Cups of coconut
1½ Teaspoons of vanilla essence


Place the evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture becomes a light caramel colour, is bubbling, and reaches a pudding-like consistency. Remove pan from heat and stir in the coconut, vanilla essence and pecans. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and let it stand, stirring occasionally until it’s cooled completely. Spread on your cake and enjoy!!

John Cusack - Mama's German Chocolate Cake

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