FOR THE CAKE:
3¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cup granulated sugar, separated (1¼ for the cake, ¼ cup for the meringue)
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
5 large egg yolks (save the egg whites)
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1½ cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup egg whites
FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
1¾ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
9 cups confectioners’ sugar
15 oz. can sweetened cream of coconut
2 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes, plus another tablespoon – toasted
Pre-heat oven to 275 F and grease 4 8-inch straight-edge cake pans.
In large bowl, combine the flour, 1¼ cups sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk together buttermilk, yolks, oil, and vanilla.
Slowly incorporate melted butter.
Pour dry ingredients into creamed butter mixture and mix on low until combined. Set aside.
In large bowl, whisk egg whites, slowly incorporating remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar until egg whites peak.
Fold peaked whites into batter and mix on low until mixture comes together.
Pour batter evenly into greased cake pans.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
Cool completely on wire rack.
Once cooled, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to frost.
While cake is cooking, make the frosting by beating butter in large bowl until smooth.
Slowly incorporate confectioners’ sugar.
Add cream of coconut and coconut flakes to mixture and beat for 3 minutes or until fluffy.
Invert cakes from the pans.
Place one cake on serving dish. Use cake leveler to create even layers (optional).
Ice top of layer, and then repeat with remaining cakes.
Ice sides of cake and top with toasted coconut.
Serve and enjoy!