1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch cake pans. Cover the pan bottoms with wax paper or parchment and grease the paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes, with an electric mixer at high speed. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside. Reduce speed to low and stir in 1/3 cup milk. Add 1/3 flour mixture and combine. Add another 1/3 cup milk and half of the remaining flour mixture. When just incorporated, add final 1/3 cup milk and remaining flour mixture. When just blended, divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden. Cool the layers in pans for about 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks and cooling completely.
3 egg whites
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
the meat of one coconut, grated (3 to 4 cups)
In a clean bowl beat egg whites with heavy mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and continue beating until glossy. Fold 3/4 of the grated coconut meat into the beaten egg whites.
To assemble cake, invert one cake layer onto a serving plate and spread with frosting. Top with second layer, spreading remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Mix remaining coconut with the remaining 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Press onto top and sides of the cake decoratively. Serves 12.