Friday, July 23, 2010


One of the several things that happened early this summer was a very special wedding.  That's right, my mom got hitched!  It was very laid back and small with only immediate family.  During the planning stages,  I was talking to my mom on the phone and asked if there was anything that I could help her with.  ANYTHING???  She finally asked if I would make an Italian Cream Cake.  It's Gary's favorite.  My sister-in-law was making cupcakes and this would be the other dessert for the celebration.  I quickly said that I would, of course, do it.  I didn't even have to think about it.

When I got off the phone, however, I thought about it.  I thought about the fact that I had never made a cake before in my life,  non-the-less an Italian Cream Cake.  I thought about the fact that I didn't even own 3 cake pans to make a layered cake... How I had gotten through almost three decades without making a cake, I have no idea.  It's in my blood even.  My dad, uncle, and aunt owned and ran a bakery for years and years and years.  I used to sit on a stool and watch my dear aunt decorate cake after cake on Saturday mornings.  So this was my final test?  Did I get the cake baking gene?  No pressure, it's just MY MOM'S WEDDING CAKE! ha!

So I quickly emailed my friend Beck, the baker.  I told her my scenario and that I needed a good Italian Cream Cake recipe.  I knew that if anybody knew of one it would be her.  And as I predicted, she delivered!  She quickly emailed me Southern Living's Italian Cream Cake recipe.  The week before the wedding I did a trial run.  It was awesome.  I brought most of it to work and was told by people who don't like cake that it was the best cake they had ever had.  Thank God, because the wedding was in a week!  The real cake... I baked the layers 3 days before the wedding, wrapped them individually in foil and put them in the freezer.  I made the icing the night before we drove down to Louisiana, put it in a container with lid and refrigerated.  We transported the cakes and icing in an ice chest.  I finished decorating the cake before we left for the church.  To make it fancy I used crumbled pecans and 1/2 pecans to create "piping" along the edges.  I was told that this was the best Italian Cream Cake that anybody had ever had.  And I finally had a purpose for that cake stand I got as a wedding gift!
It's so good that you just can't keep this recipe a secret.

Here are the ingredients:

1 c. butter, softened                        2 c. sugar
5 large eggs, separated                   2.5c. AP flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda                          1 c. buttermilk
2/3c. pecans, finely chopped
1 can flaked coconut, 3.5oz (I couldn't find it in the can, so used the stuff in the bag in the baking aisle)
1tsp. vanilla extract                        1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3 T. light rum (I didn't even use this)

So what do you do?
1.  Grease and flour the sides of three 9-inch round cake pans (I also lined the bottom with wax paper, the cake pans I had to run to the store to get! ha).
2.  Beat butter until creamy; add sugar, beating well.  Add egg yolks, one at a time beating after each addition.
3.  Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry.  Mix at low speed after each addition.  Stir in pecans, coconut and vanilla.

And it will look like this.  Yum Yum!!
4.  Beat egg whites at high speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar, beating until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into batter.  Pour batter into prepared pans.

This is the creamiest substance I have ever dealt with.  So good.  Oh wait, I almost forgot, you really need to bake it for the best results...

5.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, use the toothpick test!  Then cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans.  Cool completely on wire racks.

6.  Before frosting, level the cakes with a big bread cutting knife.  You want to make sure that both the top and bottom of the cakes are flat.

The step that I skipped was brushing the rum over the top of each layer to seal the crumb coat.  I didn't feel it was necessary :)  That's all.
7.  Frost and stack the layers.

Because this was my first cake, I had to borrow the frosting knife.  I feel that if I owned one I would make more cakes though.  I wonder how credible that feeling is...

I think the clenture to this cake is the frosting.  It's soooooo healthy.  NOT.  Per the advice of Beck the baker, I doubled this icing recipe to make sure there was plenty of butter, I mean frosting, for the cake.

Deluxe Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting: (I doubled all of these ingredients for the wedding version)
11oz. cream cheese, softened (8oz. + 3oz. pkg)      
3/4c. butter, softened
16oz. powdered sugar, sifted                    
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. pecans, chopped

1.  beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy.
2.  Stir in vanilla and pecans.

This Photo by Shane Bevel .
This is probably the only cake you'll see me blog about for a while.  I just don't have many reasons to make a big cake for two people at the house.  My co-workers might beg to differ...


  1. I'm not a baker either, but I might just have to make this cake!

  2. you should really try it! Not too difficult. The most time consuming part is waiting for the cakes to completely cool.

  3. Yeah, that was really, really good cake!