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German Chocolate Cake

Mitch Mandel

German Chocolate Cake


German chocolate cake, bananas foster and smoked cocktails are a few of Sean Pruett's favorite things

It's our favorite shopkeeper's birthday!

When he's not leading Southern Kitchen's merchandising team, you'll find Chief Merchant Sean Pruett talking about his love of cornbread and the University of Georgia. He has been in the retail industry for over 10 years and was able to combine two of his passions — cooking and retail — when he traded in his orange apron for one with Southern Kitchen’s logo.

sean pruettHere are a few things Sean has learned during his time at Southern Kitchen: 

"In the past year and change here at Southern Kitchen, I’ve been lucky enough to learn quite a few lessons, which is one of the really fun things about my job. I loved working at Home Depot, but when you are the 800lb gorilla in the room, life is a little easier than building a business. Working with a team of writers and content creators has also been a great new experience for me, full of surprises. Since this is my birthday story, I’m going to take the opportunity to share a few of those lessons. Here goes:

1. When you pitch an idea to an editor, expect her answer to be, 'Sounds great, Sean. Can you write that?' That's how I ended up writing these tips.

2. If you want to rile up a crowd quickly, start talking about sugar in cornbread. Personally, I like just about all cornbread, but people seem to choose this as a hill to die on, and I love them for that. Check out my favorite cornbread recipe here and my other favorite Southern Kitchen recipes below.

3. There’s a world of really cool kitchen products out there. I’d like to think our shop has the best of them, but every day we find something new, and bringing those finds to our readers is one of the best parts of this job."

Sean's favorite productsCrafthouse By Fortessa® Glass Smoke Box
Anyone who has ever held a glass of liquor knows that aroma makes a huge difference in how we perceive taste. The crown jewel of any bar set, this glass smoking box reinvigorates familiar cocktails with complexity and depth using actual wood smoke. It’s also easy to experiment with using various types of wood, dried herbs and spices — the smoke box can even be used with your favorite foods.
Get the smoke box

MIYABI Birchwood SG2 8-Inch Chef's Knife
Top-of-the-line MIYABI Birchwood is a work of culinary art. Both blade and handle are crafted from the most precious materials, which shape their striking appearance. A prized material for knife handles, Karelian Birch is also the only wood ever used in a Faberge egg. Exquisite and ergonomic, MIYABI Birchwood knives feel as good as they look.

Heirloomed Waxed Canvas Men's Grilling Apron
Perfect for year-round grilling, this waxed canvas, cotton-lined apron is a sturdy stunner. This apron was designed specifically to hold up to heavy outdoor use around hot fires and burning coals. The large side pocket is perfectly sized for tools and grill seasonings and the small bib pocket will hold pens, pencils and, of course, a cell phone. 

Sean's favorite recipesPeach Caprese Salad
A traditional caprese salad features the combination of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. Since they grow in the same season, we’ve given the salad a Southern makeover by substituting sweet peaches for the tomatoes. Feel free to experiment with your own proportions based on what you can find at the farmers market. Make sure to season everything to taste. 
Get the recipeBananas Foster
Popularized at New Orleans’ Brennan’s restaurant, bananas foster involves flambeéing bananas in a quick toffee of butter and brown sugar. If you're in search of a quick and delicious dessert, this boozy dessert only takes 15 minutes to put together. We also suggest using ripe bananas, which will soften faster in the skillet.
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Southern Skillet Cornbread
This loaded-up version of classic Southern cornbread is chock-full of corn kernels and jalapeños. The sugar found in the creamed corn provides more than enough sweetness to yield a savory cornbread with a pronounced corn flavor. Heating the cast iron skillet before baking helps form a crisp outer crust while the inside remains soft and fluffy.
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Anne Byrn's German Chocolate Cake
German chocolate cake uses canned evaporated milk to make its cooked filling and frosting velvety in texture. Added to the eggs, butter and sugar, along with the chopped pecans and coconut, the filling is cooked slowly over low heat and thickens almost into a pudding. After cooling, it is spread between three layers of German chocolate cake and piled generously on top, with, hopefully, just enough left over to sneak a big, spoon-filled taste. Honest-to-goodness and unapologetically rich, it is a cake that smacks of the late 1950s.
Get the recipe

Photo (Sean, smoke box, knife, cornbread): Ramona King
Photo (peach caprese): Lauren Booker
Photo (bananas Foster): Ideabar Austin

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Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.

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Sean Pruett leads Southern Kitchen’s merchandising team. He has been in the retail industry for over 10 years and was able to combine two of his passions — cooking and retail — when he traded in his orange apron for one with Southern Kitchen’s logo. Born in Florida and raised in Augusta, GA, he attended UGA and is an avid home cook, using recipes that let him combine great cuts of meat with fresh produce from his home garden in Atlanta. On a fall Saturday you’ll likely find him in Athens for football games, and in the spring he enjoys attending Atlanta festivals, or taking a walk to the local doughnut shop with his wife and daughter.