Coconut lovers, here’s your treat! Moist and sweet, this is one of those cakes that adds a special touch to any occasion and deserves a high-quality brand of coconut (I use Bakers). As with all cakes that have cream cheese frosting, store this one in the fridge. You can freeze the leftovers, too.
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. shortening
2 C. sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flaked coconut
1/2 C. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (use full fat)
4 C. to one pound of powdered sugar
1/4 C. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
Extra coconut for garnish
Walnut or pecan halves (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º. Cut wax paper to cover the bottom of two round cake pans, then grease/spray the sides. Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar. Add the egg yolks and mix well. Add the flour and soda alternately with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in the coconut and chopped nuts. Beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the batter. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake about 40 minutes (center should spring back when you touch it). Cool in pans 10 minutes and remove from pans to a rack to cool completely. Peel off wax paper.
For frosting, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla until smooth. Frost the top of one layer and place the top of the other layer on it, then spread the frosting over the top and sides. Garnish by pressing extra coconut onto the sides and spacing nut halves along the edge of the top.
Kitchen Hint: No buttermilk? Stir 1 T. white vinegar into a cup of milk and let it sit for about five minutes.
In the story, Miriam baked this as a three-layer cake for Hiram’s birthday and for Rachel’s wedding. To do that, simply make half again as much batter and frosting: for instance, you would use ¾ C. butter, ¾ C. shortening, 3 C. sugar and 7 eggs, etc. Instead of garnishing the cake with nut halves, you could pipe some of the frosting around the edges with a pastry tube and decorative tip.