Now that I have that restaurant recommendation out of the way, let's talk about Italian Cream Cake. First of all, this cake isn't a cake made out of cream or a plain cake. Instead, it is a lovely combination of pecans and coconut in a white cake that is moist and oh so delicious. To top it off, it is frosted with a dreamy cream cheese frosting. Mmmm. You might think I am exaggerating, but it was just that good!
I love coconut and pecans, so it was a perfect combination for the birthday cake that I wanted to make for my birthday but ran out of time and instead made Molten Mocha Cake. Just so you know, that was delicious too! I ended up having two types of cake that were both wonderful and were both for my birthday (even if this one was made a week or so after my birthday :P). No matter what the occasion is or isn't (you don't need a special occasion for this cake!), this cake is perfect for anyone who loves pecans, coconut, and cream cheese frosting.
I didn't change anything in this recipe, but I did have one layer of the cake that didn't want to leave the pan. I still made it look ok after frosting it. See the oopsie?:
Italian Cream Cake (from BHG)
- 5 eggs, separated into yolks and whites (learn how here)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups all purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 or 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup flaked coconut (mine was sweetened and worked well, but unsweetened could work too)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I didn't toast mine, but feel free to toast them if you want to.)
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 tsp. vanilla (vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
- 5 and 1/2 - 4 cups of powdered sugar (also called confectioners' sugar or icing sugar)
- Allow the egg yolks, egg whites, and butter to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Grease and lightly flour two or three 8 X 1.5 inch or 9 x 1.5 inch cake pans. (We only own two, so I made mine a 2 layer cake instead of three.) As another option, you could also liberally spray the pans with cooking/baking spray. (I did this and had one disaster and one perfect layer, so do this at your own risk! See above photo!) Set the pans to the side and preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C).
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium or high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and mix until well combined. Next, add the egg yolks and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
- Alternate between adding the flour mix and buttermilk into the butter mix. Beat on low speed after each addition only till combined.
- Fold the coconut and almonds into the mixture. I suggest folding these in with a spatula and not the mixer.
- Clean the beaters or get out a new set of beaters.
- In a different bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. The egg tips will stand straight.
- Carefully fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites.
- Divide the batter evenly into all 3 pans. Spread the batter evenly in the pans.
- Bake approximately 25 minutes for 9 inch pans, 35 minutes for 8 inch pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Once the cakes are done, let them cool in the pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the pans and let it cool completely;this should take approximately 2 hours.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare your frosting. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until it is well combined and a spreadable consistency.
- Once cooled, place one cake layer (bottom side up) on a serving plate. Spread with approximately 1/2 cup of the frosting and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of pecans. Top with the next layer (bottom side down) and spread with more frosting. If you have 3 layers, add the nuts on the second tier as well and then top with the last layer (bottom side up).
- Spread frosting on the sides and top of the cake. If desired, press nuts on the sides and sprinkle coconut on the top or decorate in whatever way you want to.
- After all of that mixing and baking, enjoy your cake!
I know this seems intimidating, especially since it has 16 steps. The recipe basically comes down to a lot of measuring and mixing. Once you have those two parts finished, it is a piece of cake to make (haha, punny). Feel free to try this out. Let me know what you think!
Have you ever eaten Italian Cream Cake before? What did you think? Let me know with a comment below!