Friday, September 2, 2011

Italian Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 Trevor helped me make four of his favorite cakes, Italian Cream, last weekend, for the restaurant.   I love it when my kids help out in the kitchen.  It is one of my favorite ways to spend time together.  They all enjoy cooking, to some degree or another, and can be easily persuaded to join in on the preparation when it's one of their favorites.   

 Originally, I was going to share a recipe for cinnamon pull apart rolls I made last weekend, but this was all that was left of them for me to photograph.

Then I remembered that I said I'd share the recipe for Italian Cream Cake, and since Trevor was helping out it seemed the perfect time to get some photos and share this excellent recipe.  Together, Trev and I made four of them, triple layered, for the restaurant.

These photos are of one of the Italian Cream Cakes I made a few weeks back. I made that one in tiers, just for fun, but all of the others have been made in 8" or 9 " round pans.

I baked the three layers in graduating sizes of cake pans, 8", 9" and 10" to give a pretty tiered look.  Because the cakes are round and I served them on an oval platter, I created an oval appearance by spreading pecans directly on each long end of the platter, mimicking its shape and 'extending' the cake.  I think it turned out nicely.

For this particular cake I toasted some coconut and formed a birds nest using some of the cream cheese frosting as a glue to hold it together. 

The napkin rings are burlap wrapped wooden rings with hand sculpted bird nests and Robin eggs so they are each a little different.  

You know you want a piece, don't you?  

My recipe comes from Pollman's Bake Shop in Alabama. Three generations of the Pollman family have been baking memories since 1918...over 86 years!  This recipe has won numerous awards and was named, overwhelmingly, #1 reader favorite of Southern Favorites.  I have made two other Italian Cream Cakes, and as good as they were, this is my favorite by far.

Italian Cream Cake

1 1/4 Cups shortening
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature (I used salted butter but the recipe did not specify either way)
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 large eggs
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour (I recommend using cake flour and not all purpose)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (real vanilla is best!)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
5 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350  Grease and flour 3 9" round cake pans.  I love to use Cake Release by Wiltons.  It costs a few dollars a bottle but is so easy and never, ever fails!

In a large bowl (make your kids help) beat together shortening and butter until soft and well combined.
Gradually add 2 1/2 cups sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.
Trevmeist is a one handed egg cracker!  We quadrupled this recipe and he cracked every egg with one hand.  Sweet baking skills for a just turned 15 year old...BOY!

In another bowl, sift together the cake flour, salt, and baking soda. 

Alternately, add the buttermilk and flour mixture.  Beat until the batter is smooth.

Add vanilla, chopped pecans, and coconut by stirring to combine.  Set aside.

In another bowl beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form and then slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to this.

Fold egg whites into cake batter.

Ladle the cake batter into your pans and gently shake to level.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes and then remove to cooling racks to cool completely. 

 Now for my 2nd favorite part...the frosting!  Eating it is, of course, #1.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 1/4 cups butter, softened
20 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.   Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Add vanilla and blend until smooth.

Frost the cooled cake layers, one at a time and then decorate with more chopped pecans.

Then  EAT it!

Trevor and I decided we needed to keep one of the cakes at home, and we did.  Then we went to our fam's restaurant!
Ashton and Michael were servers that night, and there's my Shawn being himself. ;-)

I'm joining:
 Designs by Gollum
Stone Gable
Mouthwatering Mondays, hosted by A Southern Fairytale
Food On Fridays, hosted by Ann Kroeker
Tasty Tuesday, hosted by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, hosted by Blessed with Grace
Somewhat Simple
Beyond The Picket Fence
504 Main 
Faded Charm
Sweet as Sugar Cookies 


  1. Hi Nancy,
    This looks so yummy thst i am gonna give it a try! Your presentation is beautiful!
    Be blessed,

  2. I think I mentioned once before that this is my very favorite cake! My mother used to make it for my birthday each year...oh how I miss that!
    This recipe requires that I try it. :-) I'm glad Trevor helped...can't imagine making that quantity.

    Fun pictures!

  3. The cake is beautiful and I know it is tasty. Thanks for including the recipe.
    What I enjoyed most we see Trevor preparing the cake. You family seems to fun loving and devoted. Thanks for sharing. Ginger

  4. I'm over to your house! Ha Ha! I love the beautiful cloche with the bird on your cake too! Prety and yummy cake! Anne

  5. Well, you have a handsome helper, you cheat!! Thank you Nancy for this recipe, that cake looks fabulous, I remember you offered at the cloche party, I will make it and post, my daughter's b'day is Sept. 16th., just perfect! You like fall with color like I do, so hope you have some time and visit me, I did a tablescape for Autumn. Have a great weekend. Hugs. FABBY

  6. Nancy, that does look like a great recipe. Do you have to use shortening or can you substitute butter. Love the pecans on the outside. Is Trevor the Boise lover -- is that a Boise shirt? Joni

  7. I love Italian Creme cake!! Yours looks so pretty with the birds nest and cloche!!

    You made me homesick for my David. He loved to cook and bake and was quite the helper when he lived at home!

    bee blessed

  8. Hi Joni,

    I've never substituted butter for the shortening. If you try it and it works, please let me know.

    I made a chocolate cake a couple of weeks back and substituted shortening for butter (only because I didn't have any on hand) and it came out awful. I wound up throwing it in the trash.

    Yes, Trev is the Boise fan and yes that's a Boise shirt. He's counting the hours until their first game against Georgia tomorrow night. Now that Boise has gotten some national attention we get to see their games here in Oklahoma...which used to never be the case. Shawn's (my husband) Dad is a huge fan too and subscribed to their games so he could watch them on his computer before.
    Thanks for asking...Trevor is always so excited when someone mentions him! Haha.

    Have a safe and fun weekend,


    p/s I'm making that buttermilk pie you posted a couple of days ago tomorrow!

  9. Absolutely yummy post! It so refreshing to see your family cooking together. Beautiful presentation.

  10. It's one of my favorite cakes -- of course, anything topped with cream cheese icing can't be bad!

  11. I love to see kids cooking in the kitchen. This recipe is one I have marked to try very soon.

  12. I love these cakes and yours is about the prettiest I've ever seen.
    I just copied your recipe..:)

  13. This recipe looks divine!
    I am so excited to have it.
    I love the way you decorated it with the nests and the cloche and I love the aesthetic pattern on the transferware plate too!
    So pretty Nancy!
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. NOTE: Someone emailed me and asked if I use salted or unsalted butter in this recipe. I used salted butter but I'm sure either would work fine.
    I meant to reply to you directly but I accidentally deleted your message and I could not find it even in my trash bin....typical, non-technical me. I'm sorry! I am going to update my post as well so I hope you see this!


  15. Yummy looking cake and what fun to enjoy baking together. I've never tried Italian Cream Cake, but it looks delicious.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  16. Beautiful looking cake. I've never heard of an Italian Cream Cake, but now I certainly want to try it!

  17. It looks yummy.. I can't wait to make it. However, I am missing the section that states how much salt and how much baking soda.. please advise. I want to make this cake for this weekend for my company that is coming. Have a wonderful day. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I cannot wait to make this cake! I featured this today! Come check it out and grab a button.


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