Source: And Now for Something Completely Delicious
Southern Coconut Cake
From Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
Makes one 8-inch layered cake
5 egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1-2 tablespoons coconut flavoring**
3 cups cake flour
2 1/3 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
For the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, slightly chilled
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper (The original recipe is for a triple layer cake, but I only have two 8-inch pans and so I adjusted the cooking time for two thicker layers instead of three thinner layers.)
Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the 1/2 cup milk and coconut flavoring and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and coconut milk and combine on low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the egg white mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between additions. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
To make the frosting, put the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until fluffy and smooth. Add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until creamy. Set aside.
Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, have the egg white in the bowl of an electric mixer, ready for when the syrup is at the proper temperature. Slowly add the hot syrup to the egg whites, while mixing on medium-low. Take care not to cause the hot syrup to splash. When all of the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture has cooled to body-temperature and it forms stiff peaks.
With the mixer on medium-low, add the cream cheese and butter mixture one spoonful at a time. When all is incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Frost the cooled cakes and cover with shredded coconut.
**Add the amount of coconut flavoring depending on how coconutty you want the cake to taste. Add 3 tablespoons even, if you want. Or, if you'd rather tone down the coconut flavor, substitute for 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.