Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Italian Cream Cake

The first time I ever attempted making a layer cake I made an Italian Cream Cake.  I asked my grandmother what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday, and when she said Italian Cream I panicked just a sounded pretty complicated, and I wasn't sure I didn't want to just stick to boxed mix for my first layering attempt (not that there's anything wrong with boxed mix).  To my pleasant surprise, this cake turned out to be fairly easy to make.....several steps but very straightforward.  Plus, this recipe won't's unbelievably moist and the cream cheese icing is my favorite icing of.all.time.  Hands down.  Yum!

My friend and coworker Rachel requested this cake for her birthday this year, and I thought I would take the opportunity to try making a 5 layer tiered cake.  It took way longer than making the standard 3 layer, but it was well worth it.

*Recipe is for one 3-layer cake.  I usually double the icing recipe for a 3 layer cake as well...but then again I like the sweet stuff :)

Italian Cream Cake

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 5 egg whites

Best Cream Cheese Icing
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Before starting, don't forget to make sure that the eggs are at room temperature*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8 inch round cake pans.

Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Fluffy peaks

In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup margarine and shortening till light. Add white sugar, and beat till fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Stir together flour and baking soda, and add alternately with buttermilk into the creamed mixture; mix well after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, coconut, and 1 cup pecans. 

LOTS of batter crammed into my mixer

Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. 

I had to revert to a larger bowl for this step....the double batter wouldn't fit in the mixer

Spoon into prepared pans.  Bake for 25 to 40 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup margarine, confectioners' sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in mixer bowl. Beat till smooth. 

When doing larger layer cakes it's important to give the layers support.  Otherwise the cake will either topple sideways or sink in on itself.  For this step I used cake pop sticks from Michaels.  Insert the supports (whichever kind you like) into the bottom tier of the cake.  Make sure before you insert them that you've measured and trimmed them so that they don't stick out of the top.

Then place the second tier on top.  Obviously you'll want the two tiers placed on their own cardboard cake boards...otherwise that defeats the purpose of the supports.

To hide any space in between and make the tiers look seamless, use a piping bag with your favorite tip to pipe a design at the base of both tiers.

Okay, so I didn't smooth the frosting out before taking these pics but you get the idea.  Imagine this...but smoother and prettier :)  


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