Thursday, March 24, 2011

Recipe: Mrs. Robert's Italian Cream Cake

Italian cream cake is my FAVORITEST cake flavor.  And yes, I'm very much aware that 'favoritest' is not a word.  Bite me.  Or better yet, bite my cake.  It'll be your favoritest soon too!


Grammar aside, Italian cream cake is not just my most favorite cake flavor, it's also very special to my heart as it was my wedding cake flavor.  My husband's aunt's mother in law (let that sink in for a it?  Good!) Mrs. Roberts has the most fantastic recipe for the cake.  I've been begging my husband's aunt to get the recipe from her MIL and over Thanksgiving I gave up and just asked Mrs. Roberts myself. She graciously acquiesced and I now share with you the recipe.

You are forewarned: this recipe is RICH.  It's also a little labor intensive, so it's perfect for that special gathering.  The flavor and texture are dependent upon following the recipe instructions, which oddly enough, my copy did NOT have...I realized this mid-baking.  Whoops!  Thank goodness for Google!

Mrs. Robert's Italian Cream Cake
2 cups flour (250g)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick or 113g)
1/2 cup shortening (113g)
2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
5 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup buttermilk

1.  Preheat your oven to 325F and prep three 8" or 9" round cake pans with cooking spray and parchment.  Separate your eggs, setting the yolks aside.  Using a mixer, whip the egg whites until they hold peaks.
2. Cream the butter, shortening, and sugar together until fluffy.  Add in the egg yolks and the vanilla.
3.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda.  Add this to the batter alternately with the buttermilk until everything is just combined.  Don't overbeat!
4.  Gently fold in the egg whites, pecans and coconut.  Pour the batter into your pans and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter (1 stick or 113g)
1 - 8 oz  brick of cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar (225g), approx
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
milk or heavy whipping cream as needed
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

1.  Cream butter and cream cheese together.  Beat in the vanilla.
2.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until frosting becomes thick.  You may need more powdered sugar or less.  Add in a tablespoon of milk or HWC until you reach spreading consistency.
3.  Spread in between the layers and sides of your cooled cake.
4.  Sprinkle pecans on top or press them into the sides of the cake as desired!

Some food for thought...
  • For cupcakes, one batch of batter will yield 36 cupcakes.  For 18-24 cupcakes, cut the listed ingredient amounts in half, using three eggs.
  • A poster at Cake Central suggested using almond extract in cream cheese frosting and I was too chicken to try it.  I don't know why!  Not only was my frosting whiter and brighter, but the almond flavor complimented the tang of the cream cheese beautifully.  I will never use vanilla in my CC frosting again!
  • About nuts and coconut: I know there are people who do not like these items, or can't consume them for health reasons.  You could nix them from the recipe, but then it's not really an Italian Cream Cake.  If you're a picky/textural eater (no worries, I'm one too), you can reduce the particle size of the nuts and coconut in your food processor.  If you're allergic, please don't kill yourself!  (Although this would be a delicious way to go, if you ask me. Mmmm, death by cake...)
  • While no one is really certain of the origins of Italian Cream Cake, it has all the hallmarks of Italian baking: eggs, nuts, and fruit!  There are many variations of the cake, and having tasted quite a few, this one is my favorite.  If The Food Timeline is correct, this recipe first appeared in the late 70's.
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

Happy Caking,

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