Life member Liz has been refining this cake recipe ever since her mother gave it to her more than 25 years ago. “The three extra egg whites make it moist and lighter than the original, plus, using butter instead of shortening gives a rich, lovely taste,” Liz says.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
5 eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
3 egg whites
2 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 1/2 to 9 cups powdered sugar
3 cups flaked sweetened coconut, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted, divided*
1 Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (9x2-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper; spray parchment with cooking spray. Sprinkle with flour, tapping out excess.
2 Whisk flour and baking soda in medium bowl. Beat sugar and 1 cup butter in large bowl at medium speed 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 parts alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup coconut.
3 Beat egg whites in large bowl at medium-high speed 2 to 3 minutes or until stiff but not dry peaks form. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into cake batter to lighten mixture; gently fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into pans.
4 Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; remove parchment. Carefully turn topside up; cool completely.
5 Beat cream cheese, 1 cup butter and vanilla in large bowl at medium speed 3 minutes or until soft and fluffy. At low speed, beat in 7 1/2 cups powdered sugar, adding additional powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time to achieve desired consistency. Stir in 1 cup of the coconut.
6 Place 1 cake layer on serving platter; spread top with 1 1/2 cups of the icing. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the pecans. Repeat with second cake layer. Top with third cake layer; frost top and sides with remaining icing. Press remaining 2 cups coconut over top and sides of cake. (Cake can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
PER SERVING: 835 calories, 44.5 g total fat (27.5 g saturated fat), 7.5 g protein, 106 g carbohydrate, 150 mg cholesterol, 475 mg sodium, 2 g fiber
TIP *To toast pecans, place on baking sheet; bake at 350ºF. for 6 to 8 minutes or until slightly darker in color. Cool.