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. ;-)

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The Want Of Write

The Want of Write

If only I had sparsely enough time
To study mere words
and then to write-
To understand some articulation,
to let a thought flow forth right-
I believe it quite probable 
that I should soar in ever-flight.
Instead, here am I,
trapped in the dead of night.

©2002 Nancy Roberts

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wedgwood Purple Transferware Tablescape & Winner

Yep, the old birdcage dining table has made it into my breakfast room.  I haven't decided if I like it here or not.  I don't usually have the top on the table...

...normally it looks like this...
...actually, I take that back. It does not usually look this way because usually these two guys are never found sitting at the table doing homework.  

Mr. Boise State is questioning my sudden chest pangs...
 I think I'm having a heart attack after witnessing this rare event!

I have had these Wedgwood plates for a few years and have never used or listed them until now.  

I kept this table simple, using no tablecloth or placemats.  I sometimes like this 'clean' look.
 They've got a very detailed, relief border.  I love plates like this!
They are wonderful for layering because of the border.  These are a purple transferware with the other color being entirely handpainted. 

The underplates have the same border as the top plates and are large so I used them as chargers, however they depict something totally different than the floral pattern seen above.  These green transferware  plates feature a beautifully detailed rendition of Chatham Hall, an all girls boarding school in Virginia.

 A small, silk bouquet, a few tealight candles and a pair of birds are placed at the center of the table.

I really like the color combination in these base, amber stem and light, almost lime, green upper.  They blend with quite a few of the patterns I have and will be so fun in the fall, even at Halloween.  TJ Maxx...$2.99 a piece!

We remove the bird cage top before eating...
some yummy grilled steaks! 

The winner of the Ramsign Giveway is comment #15 from Rose at Second Hand Rose as chosen by!  Congratulations to Rose! 


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