For cake layers
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup boiling-hot water
7 oz sweetened flaked coconut
4 oz coarsely chopped pecans (1 cup)
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
10 oz fine-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
Special equipment: 2 (9-inch) round cake pans
Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack positioned in the center of the oven and oil cake pans.
1. Butter and lightly flour the baking pans. Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and canola oil and beat the mixture on medium until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. With the mixer on low, add the boiling water, letting the mixture come together. It will be sloshy.
3. Divide batter among cake pans and bake for 20 to 35, or until a tester comes out clean.
4. Let the cakes completely cool before assembling
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
1. Spread coconut in a large shallow baking pan and pecans in another. Bake pecans in upper third of oven and coconut in lower third, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 18 minutes. Remove pans from oven.
Stir in coconut, pecans, and vanilla and keep warm, covered with foil.
2. Place the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a large saucepan, or small stockpot. Pour enough water to completely submerge the can. Bring the pot, with the can completely submerged in water, to a boil. Turn the heat down and let the can simmer for 3 to 4 hours, adding water as need to ensure that the can remains covered with water the entire time. Let the can cool entirely before proceeding.
3. Empty the caramelized sweetened condensed milk into a large mixing bowl. Add the toasted coconut, toasted chopped pecans and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. If not immediately using, cover tightly with plastic wrap.
Make glaze while cake is baking:
Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate and corn syrup, whisking until chocolate is melted. Transfer 1 cup glaze to a bowl, reserving remaining glaze at room temperature in pan. Chill glaze in bowl, stirring occasionally, until thickened and spreadable, about 1 hour.
Put 1 cake layer on a rack set over a baking pan (to catch excess glaze). Drop the entire coconut filling by spoonfuls evenly over layer and gently spread with a wet spatula. Top with another cake layer and spread with remaining filling in same manner. Top with remaining cake layer and spread chilled glaze evenly over top and side of cake. Heat reserved glaze in pan over low heat, stirring, until glossy and pourable, about 1 minute. Pour glaze evenly over top of cake, making sure it coats sides. Shake rack gently to smooth glaze.
Chill cake until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer cake to a plate.
1. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
2. For easier handling when assembling cake, place bottom layer on a cardboard round or the removable bottom of a tart or cake pan. Was extremely messy at first! But was glad with the result.