Monday, October 17, 2011

The Italian Cream Cake: Gym, Tanning…..Cake?

GTL has just become GTC with this amazing Italian Cream Cake recipe.  I apologize to everyone reading this for the Jersey Shore reference!  The fact remains that this cake is about as Italian as the cast (which mean….NOT VERY ITALIAN).  You may or may not know this, but Italians don’t really use cream cheese or coconut traditionally.  I am not sure why that beautiful national got to give this cake its namesake.

One of my amazing coworkers had her last day of work, and I thought there would be no better thank her for her dedication to our office than by making this delicious, decadent dessert.  We wish you all the best in all of your future endeavors, Monifa!  Without further ado, her it is:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup + 3 T sugar
5 eggs, separated
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

First you have a few things that you need to prep.  Start off by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Take three 9" round cake pans (or if you are lazy like me, 2) and grease and flour the pans.  Next, separate your eggs, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another.  Take the egg whites and beat them in a clean mixing bowl with an electric mixer, increasing speed from low to medium high until you reach stiff peaks. Set this aside for later.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, and 1 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer for about two minutes. Next, mix in the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Add in the coconut and mix to combine (this can be done with a spoon). After this, in a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk together so all of the ingredients are mixed through thoroughly.

Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beating until just incorporated after each addition. Once this is completed, fold in 1/3 of the egg whites first to lighten the batter, and then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide batter evenly among your pans; sprinkle the tops with one tablespoon of sugar each. Bake approximately 20 minutes (about 35 if you are only using two pans) until a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean. Tops should be golden brown. Let the cake cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge to loosen and invert onto a rack covered with wax or parchment paper. Flip right side up and let cool completely.
  Seriously….make sure it is totally cooled or it will be a pain to frost!

Frosting and Filling:
2- 8 oz packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 lbs powdered sugar
3/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
Approximately 2 cups chopped pecans

While your cakes are baking, combine the cream cheese and butter (room temperature, of course!) in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Next, add the vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and mixing it on low speed until the frosting reaches the desired consistency (NOTE: You may not used all 2 lbs of the powdered sugar!  I only used about 1.5 lbs in total!).   Lastly, add the coconut and 3/4 cup chopped pecans to the filling and mix well. Now it is time to go to town frosting this baby!

The best part about this recipe is that is keeps the cake moist.  This cake is great for any occasion, regardless of who is in the room (except for those with egg, nut, or coconut allergies!).  As you can see by the picture, the cake was a huge success and one that I will definitely make in the future.  It may not be very Italian, but this cake is DELIZIOSO!

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