To make chocolate glaze: Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons cocoa in a small heavy saucepan. Add 1/4 cup evaporated milk and whisk until you have a smooth paste. Add the remaining evaporated milk, place over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook at a gentle boil, stirring almost constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add bittersweet chocolate; stir until melted. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled and thickened, about 2 hours.
To make chocolate cake and meringue: Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9- or 10-inch tube pan (with flat bottom and unfluted sides) with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment or wax paper; set aside.
Combine dates with water in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the dates have softened and absorbed most of the liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool completely.
Spread pecans in a shallow baking pan and bake until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Select 16 pecan halves for garnish; set aside. Once the remaining pecans are cool, finely chop them. Grate unsweetened chocolate; set aside.
Sift flour, 1/3 cup cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl; set aside.
When the date mixture has cooled, add egg, 1 cup sugar, oil, vanilla and coffee granules. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Alternately fold the reserved dry ingredients and buttermilk into the date/egg mixture with a rubber spatula, making 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 additions of buttermilk. Set the cake batter aside.
Beat egg whites in a clean mixing bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold in the reserved grated chocolate and chopped pecans with a rubber spatula. Spread the meringue on the bottom of the prepared pan and three-quarters of the way up the sides, as though lining it. Pour the reserved cake batter into the pan. (It should be surrounded on all sides by meringue.)
Bake until the top of the cake springs back when touched lightly and the meringue is crisp, 60 to 65 minutes. If necessary, trim away any meringue that protrudes above the surface of the cake. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 1/2 hour. Carefully separate the meringue from the pan with a metal spatula, then turn the cake out onto a serving plate. Peel off parchment or wax paper and let cool completely.
To glaze cake: Carefully pour the chilled chocolate glaze over the cake, spreading gently so that it drips down the sides. Arrange the reserved pecan halves around the top of the cake.
Per serving :
11 g Fat;
2 g Sat;
4 g Mono;
14 mg Cholesterol;
49 g Carbohydrates;
5 g Protein;
2 g Fiber;
187 mg Sodium;
165 mg Potassium