I actually baked this German Chocolate Cake the same week as the Gold Ingots, taking advantage of my college-age nephew coming to town for a football game to get another taste-tester for cake-of-the-week. The other advantage of his trip was to send lots of calories off with him when he left, especially as he was traveling with his two roommates. College-age males, or at least that subset of them, can afford the calories.
The cake part of the German Chocolate Cake is the same as we made for the ice-cream cake. It's an oil cake, not butter, for better texture when refrigerated (which the topping requires), and that also makes it easy to mix up. It also yields a disconcertingly thin batter, but luckily Rose warns about this in the recipe. All went smoothly with the mixing and baking, but I had a little trouble getting the cake out of the pan--a matter of coordination, not really an issue with the cake. One layer missed the rack a little and was damaged, but the crack was completely hidden with topping once the cake was finished. I'd already planned to make the option with ganache covering the sides of the cake for better storage, and the ganache also hid the damage on the sides.
Rose suggests the Dark Ganache from the True Orange Genoise recipe, which had given me problems when I made it back in February. No problems this time around, though--perhaps it was the different temperature in the kitchen, or more experience, or even that I didn't use the food processor this time and just poured hot cream over chopped chocolate in a bowl and stirred until it was smooth. I made the ganache well in advance of when I needed it, too, which probably also helped.
Then it was on to the topping, the critical part of German Chocolate Cake. A mixture of sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and butter is cooked until slightly thickened. Mine...got a little too thick. Let's call it "stiff", even, once I had stirred in the coconut, pecans, and vanilla. I had to warm it slightly to be able to spread it on the cake after it had cooled, and it was a little hard to cut when just out of the fridge, but the taste was just fine.
Tasting results: Very well received. Younger niece would have liked more coconut flavor, but did like the caramelly tones of the topping. College-age nephew said "this is really good" repeatedly. Next-door nephew and older niece chowed down without much comment besides "this is good". My brother doesn't like coconut and sister-in-law is restarting her diet, so both of them skipped tasting this one.
I liked it as well. The chocolate cake is moist, the topping (if a little stiff on mine) is the classic sweet combination, but as it is limited to filling and topping it's not as overwhelmingly sweet as if the cake was completely covered with it. The dark ganache frosting on the sides also helped balance the sweet topping. Put this cake in the winner column.