Cream butter in a large mixing bowl; gradually add 2 1/2 cups sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
Sift together flour and baking powder; repeat sifting procedure. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla.
Combine egg whites (at room temperature) and salt; beat until foamy. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.
Pour batter into one 4-inch, one 7-inch, and one 10-inch waxed paper-lined and greased round cake pans.
Bake layers at 350° as follows: 10-inch layer for 1 hour; 7-inch layer for 50 minutes; 4-inch layer for 30 minutes. Cake layers will be done when a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Split layers in half horizontally. Spread Almond-Coconut Filling on split layers; cover with tops to reassemble.
Assemble filled layers by placing 10-inch layer on cake plate, and consecutively centering 7- inch and 4-inch layers on top, spreading Buttercream Frosting between each filled layer to secure. Spread top and sides with Buttercream Frosting. Set remaining frosting aside.
If a white chocolate basket and white chocolate leaves are desired to decorate top of cake, melt white chocolate in top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water until almost melted. Remove top part of double boiler from water, being careful not to get any water into chocolate. Stir chocolate until melted.
Spoon melted chocolate into basket-shaped candy mold. Allow chocolate to harden in refrigerator; invert mold and tap it gently to release chocolate. Place basket on top of cake.
Using a small artist's brush, "paint" chocolate onto surface of small ivy leaves. Place painted leaves on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, and chill until hardened. Carefully peel leaves away, and discard. Gently arrange "chocolate leaves" attractively around sides of cake.
Using paste food coloring, tint reserved Butter cream Frosting to desired pastel shades of green and orange. Fill pastry bags with tinted frosting, and attractively pipe clusters of grapes and grapevines onto sides and over top of cake.
Oxmoor House Homestyle Recipes
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