Italian Creme Cake
Over the years, I’ve been known to rummage through used book bins in search of out-of-print gems. I’ve got some victory garden cookbooks, and plenty examples of ‘modern cooking’ books that proclaim the wonders of microwavery and a balanced meal of meat and potatoes. I especially enjoy finding old regional collections – usually from ladies’ clubs, rotaries, churches – when they’re the genuine article and not just simple reprints of the box recipes from Kraft products. About 15 years ago I found a collection from the Travis County Livestock Show and Rodeo - an unlikely collection - and in it was the recipe for Green Pastures’ Italian Crème Cake.
It was this cake I brought to Crust v. Crumb (aka CakevPie), and it was making its first appearance in over 5 years. It isn't that I didn't love the cake. Like German Chocolate Cake, Italian Crème Cake is deeply southern, old fashioned (in a good way) and sweet. It’s loaded with pecans (a staple of most Texas desserts) and coconut, and covered in a rich cream cheese frosting. For me, that decadence is a once-a-decade kind of treat, and now that CakevPie is over, so begins the countdown to the next decade.
CakevPie was an opportunity to wage another battle for Cake in the endless war between the two. This time, we fought it out in the tiny battlefield of the Cakespy shop, nearly 30 different cakes and pies and easily triple that number of people jonesing for a taste. Last night, we ceded victory to a superb ginger peach pie (Kate Lebo's recipe is here)...but the war's not over yet!
Italian Creme Cake (adapted from Green Pastures' recipe)
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp soda
2 c sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 c sugar
2 sticks butter
1/2 c shortening
5 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped pecans
1 c large flake coconut (unsweetened)
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Combine soda and buttermilk, set aside.
- Combine the flour and salt, set aside.
- Cream sugar, butter, and shortening.
- Add 1 yolk at a time to the creamed sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
- Add buttermilk alternating with flour mixture to the creamed mixture.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them in gently.
- Stir in pecans and coconut.
- Bake in 3 - 9” round floured, greased and lined pans for 25 – 30 minutes.
Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter at room temperature
2 c sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
- Cream the cream cheese and butter.
- Add vanilla.
- Beat in sugar until it reaches spreading consistency.