To prepare cake, coat bottoms of 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans). Line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour; set aside.
Place 1/3 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in pecans, coconut extract, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Fold egg whites into batter; pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen cake layers from sides of pans; remove from pans. Remove and discard wax paper. Cool completely.
To prepare frosting, place 1 tablespoon butter and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until smooth (do not overbeat). Add 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat well.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with one-third of frosting. Top with other cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
Delicious cake! Made it for a group of friends and everyone loved it. Next time I would probably make a little more icing and thin it down with some milk. I added toasted coconut between the layers and on top for more coconut flavor.
This cake was wonderful. Made for a party and everyone loved it. Need to make often, it's that good. I did add 2/3 cup of chopped pecans to batter--made it extra great and made a little extra frosting for the 3 layers. Decorated it with a ring of whole pecans around the top edge and a shell design around the bottom edge. Great presentation and better than a bakery cake. A keeper!
I would give 5 stars for taste, but it just didn't work for me with presentation. I only had 8" pans, so cooking time was screwed up and the cake got brown on the outside before the inside was done. So, it ended up having a very brown, chewy outer layer. Then, I didn't have enough powdered sugar, but having read the earlier reviews I figured it would be okay. And, it tasted fine, but there wasn't really enough icing to cover the too-browned cake AND it was kinda runny. I will make this again and try to figure out a better cooking temp/time...and make the icing as the recipe states. It worked out fine for the family, but I couldn't serve this to company until I perfect it.
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