This post has great timing. I’ve made an Italian Cream Cake to celebrate Italian day, which is a part of my heritage. My maternal grandparents were from Italy and I recently got my DNA results from 23&Me. Those results confirmed my Italian heritage of which I am very proud. I often try to weave all things Italian into family gatherings. This cake being the most recent contribution.
When looking for something to make I once again turned to my Mom’s recipes. I already have some Italian recipes on the blog like baked ziti and Grandma’s Italian meatball sub so I wanted something sweet. In her recipe book here was this cake. I’ve had Italian cream cake before and loved it.
The history of this cake is a bit muddied. I’ve read where it was made by an Italian baker living in the southern United States. It’s also called Italian wedding cake and it’s made for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. One thing is for sure coconut and pecans are a part of every recipe I’ve found. As is buttermilk. My Mom’s cake uses part butter and part shortening. The crumb is delicate and delicious. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical of the shortening butter combo but my husband said it’s the best cake I’ve ever made and I’ve made a lot of cakes! He’s even asked for it for his birthday cake which isn’t until October.
Feel free to decorate the cake with pecans any way you wish. I used what are called minis because I had purchased them on our last trip through Georgia. Use chopped pieces and press them into the side of the cake. You could even stir the small pieces into the frosting and decorate with pecan halves around the top. Use your imagination.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup shortening (I used Crisco)
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup flaked coconut
Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- Pecans for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
- Beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla and incorporate.
- Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut.
- In separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks for and fold into batter.
- Pour batter into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely before frosting with Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting.
- To make frosting:
- Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add confectioners' sugar in stages, beating well, on low speed, after each addition, until blended. Beat frosting at high speed until smooth.
If desired, stir 1 cup chopped pecans into frosting before icing cake.
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