Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Famous" Cake for a 70th Birthday

It's finally here- the cake recipe I promised you over the weekend! A couple of you were correct in guessing that it was an Italian Cream Cake. Most Italian Cream Cakes I've seen have cream cheese frosting on them, with a garnish of chopped pecans on the sides of the cake. But this recipe, incorporates the nuts into the frosting, which adds a nice texture. Having the nuts mixed in also means that the frosting doesn't have to be so perfect looking. It is much more forgiving and rustic, which is perfect for the beginner cake decorator or for those intimidated about layer cakes.

I use an ice cream scoop to measure out the cake batter to ensure that each layer will bake up evenly.

This recipe comes from my favorite hometown cookbook, that was given to me by my grandmother several years ago. I've made several recipes from it and it never fails- this one was no exception. I found out about this particular recipe from my great aunt when I went to visit my great grandmother last December. My aunt Mary is a wonderful baker and crafter so I made it a point to show her my blog and share with her a few of my favorite recipes. She told me about her "famous" cake recipe that she makes for her family and I became intrigued because I had never made an Italian Cream Cake, but always wanted to. I asked her for the recipe only to find out that I already had it in my tattered and trusty cookbook.

This triple layer cake was destined for a special occasion- my father-in-law's 70th birthday! He is a sweets fanatic and well deserving of this treat. I'm not sure why this cake is called Italian Cream Cake, because it's origins are not from Italy, but that's okay, I'm not bothered by it. Are you? It was moist and tender and full of texture from the coconut and pecans. The frosting was sweet and nutty, just like the birthday boy, and complimented the cake perfectly. This would also make a great centerpiece for your Easter table or could be a welcome surprise for your Momma on Mother's Day. Don't forget about this cake, it's "famous" after all :-)

Italian Cream Cake adapted from Gwen Feagley

Printer Friendly Version

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temp.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.

Cream butter, shortening and sugar together in a large bowl. Add 5 egg yolks one at a time, until each is fully incorporated.

Add dry ingredients, vanilla and buttermilk to butter and sugar mixture.

Stir in coconut and pecans and set aside.

In another large bowl, beat 5 egg whites until stiffly beaten but not dry. Fold egg whites into cake batter by hand, being careful not to overmix.

Evenly divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on rack until cool to the touch.

For the icing: In a large bowl, mix butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

Add vanilla and slowly add powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, until fully incorporated.

Stir in chopped pecans.

Frost and fill the layers with icing. Enjoy!

P.S. This cake also makes a great accent piece on your side table. Doesn't it look like it belongs there?


From the Kitchen said...

Delicious! And you're right, it's displayed in the perfect setting. Hope all is well.


Unknown said...

I usually use my digital scale to weight the batter for each pan, but I never thought to use my ice cream scoops.... great idea. I mean why not, I use them for cookies and muffins!


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

It looks like it could belong on my side board:D

Connie the cookie monster said...

i almost peed my pants when i saw that you finally posted the recipe! that picture from your last post hooked me in from the start! ill def be making this i have a whole bag of pecans i have yet to use! i hope u and your baby are doing fantastical! :)

Memória said...

Whenever I get off of my diet and allow butter, flour, and cream cheese into my apt, I'm going to make a nut-less version of this :D. It looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing the lovely photos. I love that last photo. The cake really does belong there; I almost didn't notice it. Lastly, thank you for the helpful tip on scooping the batter. Just like ButterYum, I usually use a digital scale. I'll try this out next time. I hope you're well! I'll call you next week, chica.

Sherry G said...

Your cakes always look magnificent! I have always wanted to make this cake but my family refuses to eat anything with coconut in it. Maybe I'll just keep it my little secret and make this anyways. It's beautiful!

Unknown said...

This looks like a delicious cake! Pecans are one of my favorite nuts and cream cheese is my favorite kind of frosting!

Susan at said...

looks amazing! I love the idea of using the ice cream scoop to measure each layer.

Hope you are feeling well!


Faith said...

Oooo man I want to make this RIGHTNOW! I'm making a carrot cake for a friend for their birthday and I think I will use that frosting for it too!!! Yum!

Foodiewife said...

This cake has been on my radar for quite some time. Lovely job, and yes, it makes a great house accessory. xoxo

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful cake! Your father-in-law looks so happy with everything! I hope you're feeling well! :)

Heather S-G said...

I've never had an Italian Cream Cake looks amazing! And yes, it totally belongs on that table ;) You should make one of those "window display" type cakes and just use it as a showpiece ;)

Kathy said...

Wow, that looks amazing. I'll have to make this as I have pecans in my freezer I want to use. Love your blog.

Heather said...

Yum! I think I will make it for Easter this year. Thanks for sharing.

Natalie said...

yay I was right! :) Beautiful cake--one of my favorites! (and thank you for the cake batter tip!)

Anonymous said...

This cake is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. I was really excited after seeing your teaser :)

Nancy said...

Oh my, this looks wonderful! I hope to make it within the next week. Thank you for sharing it.

Debbie said...

That is one gorgeous cake Monica! Just beautiful and perfect for a birthday. I am printing out the recipe and plan on making it sometime soon! Maybe for Easter dessert???

Kerstin said...

Happy 70th to your FIL!! Your gorgeous cake is the perfect way to celebrate, love it!

Robin Sue said...

OK just learned something new here- to scoop out the cake with an ice cream scoop for even layers. You are brilliant! And I live under a rock for not thinking it up myself. I do love it on your table display, it does look like it belongs there.

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

I love Italian Cream Cakes and used to make them for my kids when they were in high school for fund raising 'cake walks'. I'll need to see how this recipe compares to the one that I've always made. I bet it is superb!

Allie said...

This cake looks amazing! I love the pecans in the frosting! I will have to try it. I am one of those bakers whose frosting is never quite perfect looking, its great to have a recipe that is so forgiving :) Btw, I didn't even notice the cake on the side table at first glance. It blends in perfectly! Happy Birthday to your Father in Law!

Unknown said...

This looks divine! It reminds me a bit of hummingbird cake. I don't know if that's how it tastes? I guess I will have to make it and find out! :) And I love your idea of using the ice cream scoop for the batter.

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

Def my kind of cake, cutey man included :) I love Italian anything and the cake is so pretty on your table, it does belong there so you can walk by and take a bite every 15 minutes.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

I want this but don't feel like baking a layer cake...wish you could have just sent me a BIG slice! :)

Elizabeth and Jared said...

This looks amazing! So light and creamy!

Unknown said...

I hope you saved me some of that cake! Your father in law does NOT look 70! He looks like a ton of fun though. I hope he had a great birthday!

oneordinaryday said...

Wow. That is definitely a cake fit for a 70th birthday celebration. Nice job!

Healthy and Homemade said...

You make the most beautiful birthday cakes ever. I wish I could try one of them! YUM!

The Food Hunter said...

Your cake looks wonderful.

Grace said...

If it's Italian it has my attention...
Any recipe I make I will link back to you.
I love your blog!!!

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