By / Photography By E. S. Bruhmann | January 01, 2013


  1. 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.
  2. Combine flour, coconut, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
  3. 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.
  4. Combine buttermilk and extract. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions, beating just to blend after each addition.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

For frosting:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


  • 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)
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