This delicate, silvery white layer cake has a subtle coconut-lemon filling and fluffy white frosting. Decorate it with more coconut and strips of lemon zest. Unlike many freshly baked cakes, this one tastes even better the second day.
In a mixing bowl cream butter. Add sugar gradually, beating after each addition until well blended. Fork-sift dry ingredients and add alternately to creamed mixture with milk. Add almond extract. Beat well. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the batter. Pour batter into 3 well-buttered, 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350º F for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 10 minutes, remove to a rack, and cool completely before frosting.
In a heavy saucepan or in the top of a double boiler combine cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks. Add milk and butter and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes. (Do not let mixture boil.) When very thick and smooth, stir in lemon juice, grated rind, and coconut. Cool and spread between layers of cake.
In the top of a double boiler combine egg whites, sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt. Mix well. Cook over hot water, beating constantly for about 7 minutes, or until mixture stands in peaks. Remove from heat. Add lemon extract and lemon zest. Beat until mixture reaches spreading consistency.