DSC01568

Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1cup shredded coconut
1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

Icing:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Garnish:
1 cup toasted coconut *
Pecan or walnuts halves

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk.
Add the vanilla and blend well.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Fold in the coconut and pecans or walnuts.
Divide the batter among the 3 cake pans, about 2 cups per pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean when inserted in the center of each cake.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
Turn the cakes out onto wire racks to finish cooling.

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the icing.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix thoroughly until combined.

Stack the cake layers with a layer of icing between each layer. (See tip below)
Spread the icing on the sides and top of the cake.
Press the toasted coconut into the icing around the sides of the cake.
Decorate the top of the cake with the pecan or walnuts halves.

How to toast coconut:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange shredded or flaked coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
Stir and check frequently to prevent burning.
Remove from oven and cool before using.

You can also toast coconut on the stove top:
Place the coconut in a dry non-stick skillet.
Gently stir it over low heat until golden brown.
Transfer the coconut to a plate and allow it to cool before using.

Tip for frosting a layer cake:
To begin frosting a layer cake, place the bottom layer on the serving plate.
Place small strips of waxed paper under the edges of the cake to keep the serving plate clean during frosting.
Remove the strips after you finish all your cake decorating.