What You Need
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter ( at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs( at room temperature, separated)
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla or coconut extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
2- 9 inch round cake pans
Large mixing bowl
Medium mixing bowl
Wire cooling racks
Before You Start: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Cut 2 circles of parchment paper to fit pans and place in bottoms. Butter paper and sprinkle pans with flour. Turn and shake pans to coat surface evenly. Tap out excess flour.
Make cake: In a large mixing bowl beat butter until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Gradually add sugar, beating constantly until well incorporated. Add yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour with baking powder and salt onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until medium-firm peaks form, but don’t allow whites to become dry. Fold about a third of whites into batter to lighten, fold in remaining whites. Divide batter between pans and bake on middle rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes; turn out onto racks to cool completely.
Make frosting: Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring only until sugar dissolves. Cook syrup until it reaches soft-ball stage, 234°F on a candy thermometer. Cool slightly. In a clean, dry bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. With beaters running, slowly pour in warm syrup. Beat in vanilla, and continue beating until cool and thickened.
Assemble cake: Arrange one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread top evenly with about 1/2 cup frosting. Set second cake layer on top. Spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Gently pat shredded coconut onto frosting around sides and sprinkle coconut generously over top.