Everyone has something that says “Christmas,” and that something is often culinary. Christmas Eve with my mother’s family always featured this rich and decadent cake. I think the recipe came from my Aunt Ramona, and I’m not sure where she found it. My mother also made this cake for special occasions. I always leave out the coconut because I don’t like it, but I am strange that way.
Italian Cream Cake
- ½ cup softened butter
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 eggs, separated
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 ½ oz. flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- ¼ cup softened butter
- 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Chopped pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans.
- Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream together butter and shortening. Then, add sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat well.
- Sift flour and baking soda and add a small amount to the creamed mixture. Add a little bit of buttermilk, then a little more of the flour mixture, and then more buttermilk until both are incorporated.
- Stir coconut and pecans. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
- Split batter evenly between three cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside and allow to cool before frosting.
- To make frosting, cream together cream cheese and softened butter. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Add vanilla.
- Frost the tops of the cooled layers. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Stack layers and frost sides. Sprinkle sides with chopped pecans.
Merry Christmas, from the Lee family to your family. Wish me luck on my job assignment!