This cake is a decadent dessert, and one of our favorites. It is very light, moist and sweet with a delicious coconut pecan icing. Making this dessert does take quite a bit of time, but totally worth it. Most of the time, I make German Chocolate Cake a two layer cake instead of 3 because it has a very tender crumb, and having frosting between the layers of cake with nuts and coconut can make it fragile when cutting. If you chill the cake thoroughly and cut it with a serrated knife using a sawing motion, or use an electric knife, the cake will slice nicely with out ripping it apart.
Line the bottoms of 2 (or 3) round cake pans that are 8 or 9 inches in diameter, or a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pans.
In a small microwave safe bowl, heat/soften the sweet chocolate on low power; stirring often. Pour the warm milk over the chocolate; stirring until chocolate is melted and combined with the milk. Set aside to cool completely.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In another bowl, using the wire beater on the mixer; beat the egg whites until very stiff; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks; mix well. On low speed, add the cooled melted chocolate and vanilla and mix until well blended, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add in the flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix until batter is smooth.
Fold in the beaten egg whites into the batter until no white clumps can be seen. Divide batter into pans evenly. Bake layers for30-40 minutes, 9x13 pan for 40-50 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
Remove from oven and cool layer pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Very carefully, run a knife around the edges of each pan. Remove cake from pans onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper. Cool completely! Frost with coconut pecan icing.
In a 3 quart saucepan, using a whisk beat the egg yolks and the cold cream until smooth and combined.Add the sugar, butter, and vanilla to the egg-milk mixture in the pan. Turn heat on and cook and stir constantly over medium heat until thick, which takes about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and pecans. Cool completely. Frost Cake. Lick the spoon!!!!
Tips: After adding the coconut and pecans, I set the saucepan of icing on top of ice in a 5 quart stockpot that has been filled up half way with ice. I stir the icing for 5-8 minutes until icing gets thick and cold. This helps to cool and thicken the frosting.