I still think about her each time I bake this cake. Got the recipe about 36 years ago and have fixed it just about every year for my husbands birthday. I will say this, If I bake him a cake, it better be this one. I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as we have.
Cream butter and shortening. Add sugar and beat till smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time and beat well. Sift flour, measure and sift again with baking soda. Add flour alternately with buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla, then coconut flakes and chopped nuts. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8 inch layer cake pans. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out on racks. when the cake is thoroughly cool, frost.
Icing: Beat cream cheese with butter until smooth. Add vanilla and sugar and beat until smooth. Spread thin layer between each layer and on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.