To prepare cake, coat 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Lightly coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust pans with 1 tablespoon flour.
Lightly spoon 2 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place 2 cups sugar and 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes or until well blended. Add egg substitute and eggs to sugar mixture; beat well. Add flour mixture and coconut milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon extract.
Spoon batter into prepared pans. Sharply tap the pans once on countertop to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Remove wax paper; discard. Cool cakes on wire racks.
To prepare frosting, combine 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes, without stirring, or until a candy thermometer registers 250°. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; using clean, dry beaters, beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; continue beating until egg white mixture cools (about 12 minutes).
Beat 1/4 cup butter until light and fluffy; stir in 1/4 teaspoon extract, if desired. Fold in 1 cup egg white mixture. Fold butter mixture into remaining egg white mixture, stirring until smooth.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1 cup frosting. Repeat twice with cake layers and 1 cup frosting, ending with cake layer; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Chill until set.
This is a review for the buttercream only... Yes I got it to work and it's excellent, a little marshmallow-y from the meringue. The key phrase in the instructions is to cook the sugar "...until a candy thermometer registers 250°". At that point it has darkened and is nearly caramel. Quickly take it off the stove and pour it-- slowly-- into the egg whites which you have beaten till soft peaks (yes, do that first). Then just keep mixing and you end up with nice fluffy, lower-fat icing!
Cake turned out well, but I agree--icing was a disaster. The hot sugar syrup cooked some of the egg white and the frosting never got thick. I tried it a second time, but same result. I was out of time, so just used what I had as a glaze. Tasted okay, but looked nothing like the picture. If I ever make again, will use another frosting recipe.
This is the best cake I have ever tasted. The cake was buttery, and the icing was fluffy and perfectly sweet. The recipe was easy to follow. The only change I made was regarding the light coconut milk. My store doesn't stock the light version so I used 2/4 coconut milk and 1/4 cup coconut water. The icing was thinner than the butter cream icing I normally use to frost cakes. However it covered the cake well and stayed put.
Made this for a birthday celebration thinking it would be a beautiful spring vision. The cake is delicious, just sweet enough. I added coconut extract in place of the butter but it seems to work. The cake has a very nice texture. I gave it only 2 stars because the frosting was a disaster. It never really obtained the stiff peaks and then got thinner and less fluffy as the recipe progressed. I did frost the cake with it because the taste was wonderful and I was on a deadline. Lots of toasted coconut later it didn't look too bad. I would like to try it again once I research what can be done to get the eggwhites a different consistency.