Italian Cream Cake

B hit a milestone birthday today :D And it's his first birthday as a married man whoohoo... as well as having the first birthday with us actually living together - yup, I've moved to Chicago, and we're excited to live in the same city and house finally (at least until residency begins in a month)
Marriage is all about learning to love each other's quirks.

B: Since living together I learned some new things about you...things I never knew before...
N: And?
B: You use a LOT of toilet paper. 

That was definitely not what I expected. Well, I need it for makeup removal and cleaning!
The perk of having a wife who likes to bake is always having a birthday cake.

We had Italian Cream cake for our wedding cake, which is now B's new favorite dessert (I even hand carried the last remaining frozen cake slices on the plane to Chicago). He requested Italian Cream for his birthday, and I'm happy to have an excuse to make cakes.

Italian Cream is undeniably one the richest cakes, but I slightly lightened it with some yogurt and reduced sugar in my version (adapted from Trisha Yearwood on Food Network). The icing has less sugar and more cream cheese so it isn't as firm, but it works beautifully for a naked cake.
Although B specifically wanted me to make a layer cake (cupcakes weren't "awesome enough"), since he and his roommates are also moving out, I had no baking supplies so I had to improvise.

I had only one springform pan, so I lined the bottom with parchment so it wouldn't leak batter - but it was easier to remove the cake. I had to make the entire cake twice separately per layer, as the egg whites had to be whipped and folded right before baking - which was a huge pain.

I also had to use his roommate's ancient KitchenAid to whipping egg whites. I can tell you, the normal models today are much better designed. It was clanky and something that looked like it belonged to the Julia Child if she baked in the medieval era.

Also his roommate's rather old toaster oven for toasting coconut may or may not have caught on fire...

I like baking in my own kitchen with my own supplies and equipment, but I'm willing to do all this for no one but B.
B insisted in getting actual number shaped candles for his birthday cake. Haven't seen one of those kind of candles since my dad turned 50 years old - this means B's at an age where there's not enough candles than can fit on top hehe.

The birthday cake was destroyed by B and his friends is less than 24 hrs. Mission accomplished.

Italian Cream Cake 


Ingredients
CAKE:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing (can sub 1/4 cup with Greek yogurt)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken (1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
Cooking spray

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Directions
CAKE:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour two cake pans. Sift the flour and baking soda together and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening with the sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the yogurt if using now. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating between each egg. With the mixer on medium speed, add the flour and buttermilk alternately. Stir in the vanilla, coconut and nuts.

In a separate bowl with clean beaters, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, just until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-45 minutes (time varies, I used an old oven, so make sure to test if done - insert a knife and have it remove cleanly). Cool the layers.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the butter on high speed until fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium and blend in the sugar and vanilla. Beat well until the frosting is smooth.

When the cake is completely cool, spread the frosting between the layers and on the sides and top of the cake. Sprinkle on the toasted coconut.

51 comments

  1. I LOVED THIS CAKE!! My friends did too and as evidenced by the cake being devoured within 24 hours of it being made! If I had it my way I would eat it this cake everyday!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your cake looks AMAZING! And I hear ya on the old KitchenAids! I'm currently using my Mum's KitchenAid that she received as a wedding gift 35 years ago. It pretty much sounds like it's dying every time it's turned on. Can't wait to have my shiny, gloriously red one back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oaah a red one is nice - I love the colorful ones and would love a blue one.

      I have to admit, I didn't know kitchen aids existed back then - the technology has come a long way :D

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on the milestone! Living together really does make quite a difference in what you know about one another- Mr. C and I are the other way around; I'm always complaining that he uses too much toilet paper!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This looks so good! I've made Italian Cream Cake for other people but I've never actually had it myself. I should probably get on that ;) and sidenote, my fiance made the same exact toilet paper comment to me when we lived together too! Maybe it's just a guy thing. Who knows!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the number one rule for me is I always get to eat what I make hehe. Even if it's a gift, I make sure to get a little nibble. I ate the top I sliced off to level the cake and extra frosting :D

      Delete
  5. This is amazing. Totally making this!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations!!
    The cake looks gorgeous & scrumptious <3

    ReplyDelete
  7. This cake looks soooo good - the icing and toasted coconut is calling my name.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This looks so incredible! I doubt mine will turn out as pretty but I definitely need to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's surprisingly easy to make naked cakes - the trick is to level them off and to make sure your cake doesn't stick to the bottom/sides by using spray/parchment paper lining

      Delete
  9. My husband has the same observation about toilet paper :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. OMG - this blog is SO freakin' cute and this recipe looks so decadent.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love cakes that include buttermilk - this recipe looks delicious! Perfect for the weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find that buttermilk gives an added depth - I usually make it using regular milk + lemon or vinegar as I have trouble using up a whole bottle though

      Delete
  12. I do not know how it tastes (I'm sure that stunning), but he looks great! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. tastes and looks wonderful :D B had built up a lot of hype about my cake skills to his Chicago friends so I had a little sweating though!

      Delete
    2. Efforts were not in vain! The result exceeded all expectations!

      Delete
  13. you've already earned wife of the year with the effort you made to make this awesome cake!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This looks so fresh and not too sweet, which is my favorite kind of dessert! I just hope I can make it as perfect as you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I don't like desserts when they're too sweet! Layer cakes do take a little bit of effort but naked cakes are way easier! (and icing can hide any unevenness).

      Delete
  15. This looks delicious! Has my hubby's name all over it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope he likes it. It'll get you some wife brownie points :D

      Delete
  16. If it was devoured in less than 24 hours I would say you made a winner cake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's nice to have no leftovers - I have a policy where there's no new baking if I have leftovers from more than 2 baked goods (otherwise we'd be inundated)

      Delete
  17. This looks amazing and cheers to many more milestones for you and your husband! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, we appreciate it! Lots of learning (and eating) in our relationship post wedding :)

      Delete
  18. Love a naked cake and this one looks absolutely amazing! Naked cakes can sometimes look a little plain, but this one looks delicious and so pretty!! Awesome post.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yum...wish I could have a slice now!

    ReplyDelete
  20. This looks so delicious! I definitely shouldn't be reading this post this early in the morning!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Such a sweet story, and the cake looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  22. This cake looks so tasty. Definitely need to try this recipe! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. This looks so tasty! I love that it has toasted coconut on top - one of my faves!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I loved the intro of your post lol. And the cake looks so delicious... Pinning it to my board so I can give it a go on the weekend.
    Ninz

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have never had this type of cake before but it looks good.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I want this on a plate in my hands RIGHT now, haha! This looks so incredibly delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love Italian Creme Cake and this looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete