Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Birthday - Kirk's Grandma's Italian Cream Cake

I'm amassing quite the cake cookbook!  And I've got another winner of a recipe to add to it - Kirk's Grandma's Italian Cream Cake.  I made it last week and boy what a reception it got!  Yeah, everyone loves free cake, so they're not apt to complain if it wasn't tasty, but I've been quite blunt with some people that I want honest feedback, and they've been giving it to me (Thanks, Sarah and Kirk.  Really.  You're helping me become a better baker and I appreciate it greatly.). 

A few months ago, Kirk gave me his Grandma's Italian Cream Cake recipe.  I kept wanting to make it but didn't.  Month before last, I went to make it and realized I didn't have all the ingredients (buttermilk isn't something I keep on hand), and last month I had to make the Guinness Cake.  It was so fitting that I couldn't not do it.

Gluten-free one, using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour and Xanthan Gum
There was also the nervousness that helped me procrastinate.  It's a little more involved than other cakes.  You have to beat the egg whites stiff and fold them in gently or it'll be heavy.  Kirk gave me great instructions on that, but I was still afraid I'd screw it up.  I'd never whipped egg whites, much less folded something into them, and I was a bit hesitant.

But this month, I decided I just had to go ahead and try it.  Man, I'm glad I did.

Italian Cream Cake
      For cake:
Regular organic wheat flour one
1 stick salted butter
½ cup solid-at-room-temp coconut oil
2 cups sugar
5 large egg yolks
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk             
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
5 egg whites beaten stiff
        For icing:
 16 oz cream cheese 
1 stick softened butter
1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

  1. CAKE: Grease and flour three 8” cake pans then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  3. Cream butter, coconut oil, and sugar.  Add egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition.
  4. Sift flour and soda.  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients, alternating with buttermilk.
  5. Add vanilla, coconut and pecans.
  6. Fold in the beaten egg whites by hand.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes – test with a toothpick.  Cool on wire racks and remove from pans discarding wax paper.
  8. FROSTING: Once cake has cooled completely – two hours or so – begin frosting – all frosting ingredients should be at room temperature.
  9. Cream the cream cheese with butter {Linda's note: Beat the HELL out of it.}.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla. {Then beat the HELL out of it again.  I beat it for at least ten full minutes on high in my stand-up mixer.  It was incredibly light and fluffy.}
  10. Place a dollop of icing to the bottom of the platter to stabilize the first layer then frost as with any cake using toothpicks to stabilize the multiple layers.
  11. Press pecans onto the side with your hands (this handily masks any imperfections on the sides).
    • Kirk's recipe had 1/2 cup Crisco shortening, but I subbed the coconut oil since I didn't have any Crisco on hand.
    • I also made a gluten-free cake by subbing  Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour for the regular flour, only this time I noticed a note on the side of the package that said to use xanthan gum with it.  I happened to have some on hand, so added the appropriate amount.  I think it made a big difference.
    • I doubled the recipe for icing since I made two cakes, but didn't have enough cream cheese (had three 8oz. packages, needed four).  So I subbed another stick of butter and it turned out fine.


October, 2014 birthday cake - Kirk's Grandma had just passed away.  The sign says "In honor of Kirk's Grandma, these are Italian Cream Cakes made from her recipe."  


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