Does your family have a special birthday tradition?
We do . . . .
. . . .the birthday honoree picks the type of cake. . . . like this Italian Cream Cake . . . . and the entire dinner . . . .
. . . .or lunch now that they’re adults . . . . for his or her special occasion.
When the kids were little, we would always invite the grandparents . . . . and we’d make a big production of keeping the actual cake a surprise. . . .
. . . . you know . . . . to build the tension!
The excitement would build. . . . because the finished cake was not revealed until evening.
Those were such wonderful days . . . . the birthday parties weren’t big . . . . just family. . . . but we made the birthday very, very special.
It was so much fun. . . .
. . . .making the cakes when the kids napped . . . .keeping everything a secret.
The real challenge was trying to find a good hiding spot!
I remember the first cake I decorated. . . . it was a Raggedy Ann cake . . . . and if I do say so myself . . . .
. . . . it was adorable!!
I knew the little princess would be so excited . . . . she loved her Raggedy Ann Dolls.
I hid the decorated cake on the back porch . . . . the same back porch that we had painted the week before . . . .
. . . . with an oil based formula.
It was the perfect place . . . .the little ones didn’t go out there and besides . . . .
. . . . the odor from the paint seemed gone.
The beautiful Raggedy Ann Cake ended up in the trash . . . . inedible . . . . it tasted like the original odor of the paint.
It was a sad moment . . . . but the ice cream and presents helped her to forget.
For the past 30 years the birthday cake requested by our daughter is always for Italian Cream Cake. . . . although it doesn’t have any Italian roots. . . .
. . . .it’s delicious nonetheless. I tried to find the origin of the cake . . . .the only thing I found was that the first written recipe for an Italian Cream Cake was in 1937.
I’ve made this recipe . . . . a lot . . . . as you can see by the stains on the card . . . . the back of the card is even worse.
This recipe is such a tradition I know exactly where the card is . . . . at all times.
When I was looking for the history of Italian Cream Cake on the Internet . . . .
. . . .I found that there are many versions . . . . with countless printings. . . . and most of the recipes are basically the same.
We’ve tweaked our Italian Cream Cake recipe a little and we believe that it’s improved the flavor. . . .
. . . .if that’s possible.
If you’ve been making Italian Cream Cake . . . . try toasting the nuts and coconut and see if that doesn’t improve the flavor.
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 eggs ( separated )
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 cups ( 400 grams or 14 1/8 oz.) sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening - I use the butter flavored Crisco
- 2 cups ( 250 grams or 8 3/4 oz.) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups (139 1/2 grams or 5 oz.) loosely packed coconut flakes
- 1 Large package cream cheese ( 8 oz.) at room temperature
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 box ( 1 lb.) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1 cup toasted shredded coconut
- Prepare 3 - 8 inch cake pans by greasing and flouring the bottom and sides. I also cut round pieces of parchment paper to line the very bottom of each pan.
- Combine soda and buttermilk and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl cream sugar, butter and shortening until light and fluffy.
- Add egg yolks one at a time. Beat well after each addition.
- Add buttermilk and flour a little at a time.
- Stir in vanilla. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry.
- Gently fold the egg batter into the egg whites making sure everything is mixed.
- Add the coconut and nuts.
- Pour into the 3 prepared 8 inch cake pans.
- Bake at 325 F for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the pans cool on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans, then cool completely on wire racks sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
- With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese with the butter on high speed until fluffy.
- Reduce the speed and blend in the powdered sugar, vanilla and coconut extract.
- Beat well until it is smooth and light.
- Fold in the toasted pecans.
- Spread the frosting between the layers and on the sides and top of the cake.
- Sprinkle with the toasted coconut.
- I use a wooden skewer to anchor the three layers together. It makes frosting the cake easier and the layers don't shift. Put the skewer right through the middle of the cake and then snip of the top that sticks out. The frosting will conceal the skewer and it's easy to locate once you begin to slice the cake.
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