Be prepared to spend some time on this cake, but you'll be rewarded with the best Italian Cream Cake ever to exist on this planet at any time. Ever. Well, maybe not, but it IS fantastic! You will definitely impress folks!!
Preheat oven to 350°F Prepare 3-9” cake pans with grease and flours.
In bowl, with mixer, beat shortening, sugar and margarine until fluffy. Add yolks one at a time.
In another bowl, sift together flour, soda and salt. Alternating with buttermilk, beat into shortening. Begin and end with flour. Beat in vanilla, coconut and pecans.
In another bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks; fold into batter. Pour into pans, smooth top. Bake in upper 2/3 of oven; switch positions halfway through baking. Bake 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Remove from pan to rack until cool.
With mixer, beat together cream cheese, margarine, vanilla and confectioner's sugar for the frosting. Frost cooled cake.
If desired, top with toasted chopped pecans or toasted coconut.