A very yummy recipe for coconut vanilla cake garnished with maraschino cherries.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round pans.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Split and scrape the vanilla pod into the butter. Beat for 3 minutes on medium speed until the butter is light and creamy in color.
Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl before each addition. Add the eggs one at a time. Reduce the mixer speed. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until incorporated, mix in vanilla.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Make the Frosting: In a small, heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg whites. Place the bowl on top of a saucepan with about an inch of simmering water. Heat whisking occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the bowl from the heat and transfer the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium until the mixture becomes a light, white meringue and the mixture is cool to the touch. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix until frosting is smooth and glossy.
Add the vanilla extract, salt and coconut milk and whip for another few minutes on medium speed, or until the frosting is smooth.
To assemble, Place one cake layer on a cake stand and top with 2 cups of the frosting, using an offset spatula to spread it evenly to the edges.
Place the second layer on top, top-side down. Spoon 1 cup of the frosting onto the top of the cake and use a large offset spatula to spread the frosting on top and over the sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Spoon remaining frosting onto the cake and spread it evenly over the top and down the sides. Use a grooved spreader to create a fancy finish. Press the 1 cup shredded coconut onto the sides of the frosted cake.