I consider myself somewhat of an expert on German Chocolate Cake, which may or may not be the case, but I did have my own throwdown between Bobby Flay's recipe and the Best of Show Cook's Illustrated recipe. If you recall, it was a split decision.
So for Katie's birthday cake, I decided to try combining my favorite parts of each recipe into one hands-down winner.
I used the Cook's Illustrated recipe for the cake itself, but for the filling, I used Bobby's cajeta filling recipe. That cajeta is so delicious that I like to eat it by itself. I've also served it atop chocolate or vanilla ice cream. When I started making this batch of cajeta, I accidentally let the caramel base get too dark. Knowing it would make the cajeta bitter, I decided to make a fresh batch, but I drizzled designs on wax paper with the burnt caramel to make some decor for the cake plate. Um, ye-ah, that kind of worked, but not really.
I also made Bobby's coconut whipped cream and some ganache. The change I made was serving both on the side. Bobby's recipe instructs you to put ganache and toasted coconut and pecans on top of the cake. The ganache topping drew some complaints last time, so I put all those elements on the side of the cake plate so people could control the chocolate distribution.
I thought the result was a winner. This was one of the best cakes I've ever eaten.