Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until blended.
Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut and pecans.
Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Place 36 paper baking cups in 3 (12-cup) muffin pans; spoon batter into cups, filling half full.
Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Remove from pans to wire racks, and let cool completely (about 45 minutes).
the cake was very good, loved it. the caramel frosting, however, did not really taste like caramel. It tasted like buttercream with just a hint of caramel, maybe. but I still loved it and it will go on my list of cupcakes to serve in my variety of cakes to serve for special people.....
I made this recipe to take to work for a birthday party! I got RAVE reviews from everyone who tried them. Very simple to make. The frosting hardens up slightly after piping and it does not melt down. I added some toasted coconut to the top of the cupcakes as well. Very moist. I highly recommend!