For the cake:
- 1/2 cup shortening, room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 eggs, separated and at room temperature
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 (8-oz.) packages 1/3 fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar, sifted
- 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, for garnish
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together onto a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. With the mixer on low speed, add the sifted ingredients in batches alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, and gently fold into the prepared batter. Add the coconut, pecans and vanilla and fold into the batter. Divide the batter among the three prepared cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of each cake. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla and, using an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. Ice in between the layers and then the whole cake. Garnish with pecans and shredded coconut. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to eat.
Source: Adapted from Food Network