This is one of those recipes that everyone loves, you can dress it up, or dress it down. My husband & I were shopping one day & he wanted to pay a lot of money for this cake, & it was only 1 layer with a lot of frosting on top, I told him I could make one, & it would taste a lot better. So I did, & now he loves it. My version is slightly different from the original recipe, I use ALL butter in my version, & also use all purpose & whole wheat flour, the first time by accident, because I didn't have quite enough A P flour. But because it was successful, it became my preferred method to make it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease & flour 3- 8inch cake pans, or use non stick cooking spray. Then set aside till needed. Beat egg whites till stiff peaks form, and set aside till needed.
Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, and beat well after each addition.. Mix flour with baking soda in a small bowl. Mix coconut and chopped nuts together in a medium bowl, and stir till evenly mixed together.
Alternately add flour with buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Then add vanilla extract.Add the mixed coconut nut mixture and stir till well blended. Remove beater and fold in stiffly beaten egg whites, and fold into cake batter using a spatula or spoon, being careful to incorporate egg whites into batter by folding from top to bottom and turning bowl as you go, until cake batter is light and all of the egg whites have been incorporated into cake batter.
Divide cake batter evenly among the 3 - 8 inch cake pans. Smooth cake batter over the top, and bake in preheated 350 degree F. oven for 25 to 35 minutes till center springs back when lightly touched with finger.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.
While cake is cooling prepare frosting. Beat cream cheese & butter until smooth. Add confectioners sugar, gradually, and mix well. Add vanilla & beat until smooth. Stir in pecans and spread on cooled cake. Or you can add nuts to outside of cake & leave frosting plain.