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Italian Creme Cake

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)

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine soda and buttermilk, set aside.
  3. Combine the flour and salt, set aside.
  4. Cream sugar, butter, and shortening.
  5. Add 1 yolk at a time to the creamed sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add buttermilk alternating with flour mixture to the creamed mixture.
  7. Stir in vanilla.
  8. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them in gently.
  9. Stir in pecans and coconut.
  10. 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

  1. Cream the cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Beat in sugar until it reaches spreading consistency.

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More Info

Green Pastures Restaurant in Austin, TX
The Pioneer Woman's Italian Cream Cake
The best in show pie, from Kate Lebo
Alana's wrap-up of the CakevPie evening
Twitter feed of the CakevPie activities

Comments

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Frosting Question

I just made your cake for my Labor Day celebration later. One question...how did you get your frosting to look so good? Mine doesn't look as smooth and uniform as yours. The taste is great, though!

Thanks,
Jessica in Utah

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Frosting texture

Hi Jessica!

Well, now that you mention it - it was very smooth. I'll tell you what happened, because it was a bit of an accident.

I had set out the butter and cream cheese many hours (probably 12 hours) before I mixed them together. And when I was done combining them with powdered sugar, I left it out rather than refrigerate it. It nearly poured over the cake it was so loose - and that's why it came out looking that smooth. Normally I would refrigerate and re-mix it to get it nice and fluffy, but in this case, I ran out of time. Warm weather didn't hurt a bit.

Problem with this was that the frosting in between the layers was loose too, and it just smooshed out of the sides of the cake. So I found it hard to have both firm filling and soft frosting. If I had time, i would have chilled some of the frosting for filling and then left some out for the topping.

Hope this helps you out! Let me know if you try it this way and get the same results, because it was a fluke in my case. A mighty tasty fluke.

jenny

Cake!

Your cake was so gorgeous at Cake vs Pie! It caught my eye from across the room. I'm sad I left early and didn't get to try it. Hope y'all called a cease fire in the crumb vs crust war long enough to thoroughly enjoy your creation ;)

Your entry

Cream cheese frosting, coconut and pecans - this would have won in Texas!!!

Cake v. Pie slideshow

Love the pics of Cake v. Pie. Looks like it was a great event! So glad that Pie won =8-D!