FOR THE CAKE:
- 4 large eggs (separated)
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup milk (2% or whole milk)
- 1 cup grated coconut (sweetened)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM:
- 1 1/2 cups butter at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons coconut extract
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream*
- 1 cup shredded coconut
MAKE THE CAKE:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites only using the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the eggs are frothed and hold stiff peaks.
- Transfer the eggs to a separate bowl.
- In the same stand mixer bowl using the beater blade attachment, cream the butter and sugar.
- Add the egg yolks and continue to beat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, salt and baking powder.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and vanilla extract, beating thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Gently fold in the coconut and stiffly beaten egg whites until the egg whites are completely incorporated.
- Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans.
- Divide the batter equally between the two cake pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the center of the cake bounces back when you touch it.
- Cool for 10 minutes then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
MAKE THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until it is almost white in appearance.
- Add in the coconut extract and mix again.
- Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with the heavy cream and mixing well as you go. Add in enough heavy cream to get a good spreading or piping consistency.
- Mix in the shredded coconut just until combined.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
- Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Frost the top.
- Place the second cake layer on top of the frosted cake.
- Cover the sides and top of the cake with the coconut buttercream.
- Decorate with additional coconut if desired. Be sure to do this before the frosting sets.
- Store at room temperature until serving. Store leftovers in a airtight container in the refrigerator.