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Italian Cream Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Peg Cole is a self-taught cook who shares favorite recipes and methods of cooking and baking.

This moist cake has pecans and coconut and is a favorite recipe in my family.

This moist cake has pecans and coconut and is a favorite recipe in my family.

The smell of burning leaves always reminds me of my pecan-picking days in South Georgia and of my grandmother, Big Mom. She paid us kids a nickel for each brown paper grocery bag we filled with pecans picked right off the ground of the grove she and Grand-Paw owned.

The work served two purposes: it tired us out thoroughly, expelling some of the youthful energy Big Mom called "Rambunctious". Two, it helped her gather the huge crop of pecans she would carefully crack and wrap for sale in foil-wrapped portions. While we bent and stooped again and again, the crinkling sounds and pungent smell of fall leaves burning in barrels etched a lasting memory.

As a reward for the day's work, we enjoyed the delights of homemade baked goods served after the meal with coffee and conversation around the dinner table. This recipe reminded me of Big Mom's cakes and those special days we shared during the pecan harvest.

Italian Cream Cake

Layer cake

Rich Flavor That Ripens

The simple recipe calls for chopped pecans, flaked coconut, 5 eggs, sugar, butter, vegetable shortening, regular flour and some baking soda. The flaked coconut and chopped pecans grow more flavorful after the cake sits overnight.

For buttermilk, I substitute regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Two percent milk works as well and cuts off more calories. Two cups of sugar can be reduced to 1 1/2 cups using a sugar substitute.

Grease and Flour the Pans

real-italian-cream-cake-and-cream-cheese-frosting-with-step-by-step-photos

How to Grease and Flour the Cake Pans

You'll need three eight or nine-inch cake pans for this three-layer cake.

  1. Use a paper towel to spread about a tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening around the bottom and sides of the cake pan.
  2. Lightly wipe off any excess shortening.
  3. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of flour into the pan and shake it around to all parts including the sides.
  4. Tap the bottom of the pan to remove any excess flour and set the pans aside while preparing the cake batter.

Three Cake Pans Greased and Floured

Greased and floured cake pans

Greased and floured cake pans

Cook Time—Oven at 350°

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

30 min

1 hour

Cake serves 16 slices

Ingredients

  • 5 Fresh eggs, separated
  • 2 cups sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, Crisco
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup regular milk or 2% milk, instead of buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour, All purpose
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped pecan pieces
  • 1 cups shredded coconut
  • Substitutions 12 packs of Splenda if desired, to replace half a cup of sugar

Preparing the Cake Batter

Blend after each addition of egg yolk, milk and flour.

Blend after each addition of egg yolk, milk and flour.

Instructions for the Cake Batter

  1. Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a chilled mixing bowl. Reserve the egg yolks to use later.
  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside. Add 1 TBSP lemon juice to the cup of milk and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cut the butter into small pieces and beat with the electric mixer until it turns light and fluffy.
  4. Add the Crisco or vegetable shortening and blend together with the creamed butter.
  5. Add the sugar and blend it in thoroughly until it no longer feels grainy.
  6. Add the egg yolks a little at a time, beating on medium speed for about a minute between additions.
  7. Sift the flour and baking soda together. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the liquid milk mixture.
  8. Using a spatula, stir in the pecan pieces and the coconut. Lightly fold in the egg whites until mixed well.
  9. Pour into 3 greased and floured cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Scroll to Continue

Read More From Delishably

The pans should not touch one another when baking

The pans should not touch one another when baking

Three Pans Won't Fit in a Regular Oven

Only two of the pans fit in my oven without touching one another. I baked the first two layers, then baked the third one by itself for twenty-eight (28) minutes.

Three Layered Cake

Push the batter toward the edges of the pan with the spatula to create even layers.

Push the batter toward the edges of the pan with the spatula to create even layers.

Ten Minute Rest

After removing the cake from the oven, let the cake cool for ten minutes on wire racks. Setting a timer is a good way to be sure. If they remain in the pan too long they tend to stick.

Let the baked cakes rest in their pans for ten minutes before trying to remove the cake

Let the baked cakes rest in their pans for ten minutes before trying to remove the cake

10 Easy Steps to Get the Cake Out of the Pans

Tear off a sheet of waxed paper slightly wider than a flat dinner plate.

Step One

Tear off a sheet of waxed paper slightly larger than the size of a dinner plate.

Tear off a sheet of waxed paper slightly larger than the size of a dinner plate.

Place the waxed paper on top of one layer of the cake. Turn the dinner plate upside down and place it on top of the waxed paper.

Steps 2 and 3

Place the paper over the cake pan and then put the dinner plate upside down on top of that.

Place the paper over the cake pan and then put the dinner plate upside down on top of that.

Step 4

Holding the sides of the cake pan and plate with pot holders, turn the pan and plate over.

real-italian-cream-cake-and-cream-cheese-frosting-with-step-by-step-photos

Step 5

Lightly drop the plate right side up on the counter.

real-italian-cream-cake-and-cream-cheese-frosting-with-step-by-step-photos

Step 6 and 7

Thump gently on the bottom of the cake pan to loosen the cake. Remove the pan carefully.

Cake is upside down on the waxed paper and plate

Cake is upside down on the waxed paper and plate

Step 8

Place another cooling rack upside down on the bottom of the cake that's upside down. We're going to turn this right side up.

real-italian-cream-cake-and-cream-cheese-frosting-with-step-by-step-photos

Step 9

Flip the entire stack over (cake rack, cake, waxed paper and plate) like a sandwich to set the cake upright.

Remove the plate and the waxed paper quickly

Remove the plate and the waxed paper quickly

Step 10

Remove the plate and the waxed paper from the top of the cake immediately. Work quickly, to keep the waxed paper from sticking to the cake top.

Repeat this process for the other two layers, allowing each to cool upright on a cake rack.

Taking the cakes out of the pan can be daunting. There is a simple way to do this using waxed paper and a plate.

Taking the cakes out of the pan can be daunting. There is a simple way to do this using waxed paper and a plate.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • An 8-ounce package of Cream Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Cups of Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1–2 Tbsp. Milk

Cream Cheese Frosting

Real Cream Cheese Frosting is better than any canned frosting and takes only minutes

Real Cream Cheese Frosting is better than any canned frosting and takes only minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions

  1. Cut 1/2 cup butter (one stick) into tablespoon-sized pieces.
  2. Using a hand mixer, cream the butter until it's light and fluffy.
  3. Add one 8 oz. package of Philadelphia cream cheese (softened) and blend together with the butter.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  5. Add 4 cups of confectioner's sugar a little at a time until the frosting reaches a good consistency for spreading.
  6. If the mixture seems too stiff, add a few drops of milk and blend it in. If it seems too loose, add a little more powdered sugar.
The Leaning Tower of Italian Cream Cake can become a reality if the layers are uneven.

The Leaning Tower of Italian Cream Cake can become a reality if the layers are uneven.

Frosting the outer edges first makes this go quickly. I ran short of icing when I reached the top. Adding more confectioner's sugar to the remaining blend worked fine.

Frosting the outer edges first makes this go quickly. I ran short of icing when I reached the top. Adding more confectioner's sugar to the remaining blend worked fine.

Italian Cream Cake

Italian Cream Cake

Refrigerate any leftover cake if the temperature is warm indoors. The cake grows moister on the second and third days.

I like to cut individual slices and place in covered containers for an easy serving to enjoy with a nice bag lunch.

Want Cake?

Italian Cream Cake

Italian Cream Cake

This slice is for you.

This slice is for you.

© 2014 Peg Cole

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