Preparation / Directions:
Grease and flour three 8x1 1/2-inch or 9x1 1/2-inch round baking pans. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar; beat on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla; beat well. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and soda. Add dry mixture and buttermilk alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in pecans. Thoroughly wash the beaters. In a medium mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Stir about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter. Fold in remaining whites. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes for 8-inch pans (or 18-22 minutes for 9-inch pans) or until wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
Frost top of 1 cake layer with Cream Cheese Frosting. Top with another layer, frost and then top with the last layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting. Sprinkle top with toasted coconut. If desired, garnish with pecan halves. Cover loosely and store cake or any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Makes 14 servings.
Cream Cheese Frosting In a medium bowl beat together cream cheese, butter or margarine and 1 vanilla until smooth. Gradually add enough powdered sugar (6 to 7 cups) to make of spreading consistency, beating until smooth. Makes 4 cups.