Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Line bottoms of three round 9-inch cake pans with waxed paper.
Microwave chocolate and water in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through heating time. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating after each addition until smooth.
Beat egg whites in another large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir into batter. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center.
Remove from oven; immediately run spatula between cakes and sides of pans. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Remove from pans; peel off waxed paper. Cool on wire racks.
Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting between layers and over top of cake.
Makes 12 servings.
Note: This delicate cake will have a flat, slightly sugary top crust that tends to crack. This is normal and the frosting will cover it up.
Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/6 oz./170g) unsalted butter or margarine
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Stir milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla in saucepan. Cook on medium heat 12 minutes or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Stir in coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature and spreading consistency.
Makes about 4 1/2 cups.
Date: October 5, 2002