Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, and turn pan to coat bottom and sides.
Process flour, nuts, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Combine egg yolks, vanilla, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl. Stir in flour mixture until fully combined. (Mixture will be stiff.)
Beat egg whites with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir one-third of the egg whites into flour mixture to loosen it up. Gently fold remaining two-thirds egg whites into flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 350°F until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Invert onto a plate. While cake is still warm, very gently press coconut evenly into top of cake. Cool completely.
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