A good old-fashioned coconut cake recipe is White Lily's Old-Fashioned Coconut Cake, a basic white cake iced with hot coconut frosting. Another good recipe uses coconut milk in the cake with coconut flavor for the cake filling and icing.
To make the White Lily recipe, whisk 3 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder in one bowl, and beat 1 cup of softened butter, 2 cups of sugar and 4 eggs, one ingredient at a time, in another bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing in parts and alternating with 1 cup of whole milk until the ingredients are just blended. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon each of vanilla extract and lemon extract, and spoon the batter into three round cake pans.
While the cakes bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes, heat 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of coconut milk and 6 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan at medium-high heat. Boil the mixture for six minutes, and add 18 ounces of frozen coconut after the mixture cools. In a bowl, beat 3 egg whites into stiff peaks, and add to the coconut mixture. Bring the frosting to a simmer, add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and pour the hot mixture between the cooled cake layers.