Place the eggs in a medium saucepan with water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover the pan, and let stand for 20 minutes. Pour off the hot water and refill the saucepan with cold water. Crack the eggsshells all over and let them sit in the cold water for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs, cover, and chill for at least 1 hour.
Halve the eggs lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and transfer them to a small bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork, then stir in the filling ingredients of your choice. Season with salt and pepper. Scoop a spoonful of the mixture into each egg white half. Sprinkle the tops with paprika.
4 ounces sweet dark chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
¼ cup warm milk
2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
5 medium egg whites
2 cups sugar
5 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk, well shaken
1 cup sugar
4 medium egg yolks
1 cup evaporated milk
½2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces fresh or frozen and thawed grated coconut
1 ½ cups finely ground pecans, walnuts, or almonds
Prepare the chocolate by melting it in the top of a double boiler, stirring until it is smooth. Add ¼ cup (½ stick) of the butter and stir until it is melted and blended. Add ¼ cup of warm milk and stir until smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line the bottoms only of 3 9-inch cake pans with circles of parchment paper, or grease each pan bottom only with solid shortening and dust lightly with flour. Sift together the sifted and measured flour, baking soda, and salt.
Whip the egg whites until stiff using the wire beater of the mixer. Transfer the beaten whites to a separate bowl and set aside.
In the mixer bowl, cream the remaining 1 ½ sticks of butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted, cooled chocolate and the vanilla. Mix well.
With the mixer on very low, stir in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Do this by adding about a third of the flour and slowly stirring it in completely. Then add about half the buttermilk and stir it in. Continue adding flour and buttermilk in this manner, ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir again. With a long-handled spoon or spatula, fold and stir the beaten egg whites into the batter until the batter is smooth with no visible clumps of whites.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Bake on the middle rack of the oven, allowing at least 1/4-inch clearance between the pans and the oven walls. The cake will rise above the pan edges as it bakes but will not spill over and will settle back down as it continues to bake. The cake is done when it begins to pull away from the sides of the pans and springs back to a light touch. Cool layers in the pans for about 8 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges of each pan and turn the layers out onto wire racks that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Cool layers completely before frosting.