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The Importance of Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk (which is basically just unsweetened condensed milk) has been sold by Nestlé since 1897, and was used in the original German Chocolate Cake frosting recipe to impart a creamy, rich texture. Because it does help make the frosting so gooey, you'll want to wait until it's totally, completely cooled before spreading it on the cake, or else it's liable to slide off and make an unsightly—if still tasty—mess. Some recipes swap it out for heavy cream or mixtures of whole milk and half-and-half, or even condensed milk, and of course you can also find vegan versions now.