- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1⅓ cups (loosely packed) sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3⅓ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup or so sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (see note)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Coat two 9- by 1½-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray; line bottom of pans with wax paper or parchment rounds.
- Combine flour, coconut, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well-blended, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks 1 at a time and beat to blend, scraping the bowl after each addition.
- Combine buttermilk and extract. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beating just to blend after each addition.
- Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a medium bowl until peaks form. Add ⅓ of egg white mixture to batter; fold into batter just to blend. Fold in remaining egg white mixture in 2 additions. Divide batter between pans.
- Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Run a small sharp knife around sides of cake pans. Invert cakes onto racks. Carefully peel off paper and cool cakes completely.
- Use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter until completely blended and fluffy. Add vanilla and a cup of sugar and beat again. Add remaining sugar and beat until blended.
- Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on plate. Spread with about 1 cup frosting. Place second layer, round side up, atop frosting. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle some of coconut over top of cake; pat more coconut on sides of cake.
- To toast coconut: Spread on a pan and place in a 350° oven for 6 minutes. Stir and heat 2 minutes more, or until light brown. It may take a few more minutes but keep an eye on it. Coconut will continue to brown when it comes out of the oven and will burn in a heartbeat.