Italian Cream Cake

Day 38, “Cooking From the Hip

February 7, 2011

Opening this cookbook and seeing the picture of the Italian Cream Cake made me drool.  Looking at the recipe I thought, I can make that.  Picking a recipe out of this cookbook was a little challenging as it seemed like many of the items were not in season in the dead of winter in the upper midwest.  For example Watermelon Gazpacho or Mango Margaritas.  But I am thinking it is because it is the dead of winter the only things I want to make is the Watermelon Gazpacho and the Mango Margaritas.   The cookbook is written by Iron Chef Cat Cora who has loads of cooking experience.  She divides her cookbook into four areas, Fast, Easy, Fun and Phenomenal.  I of course was drawn to the Phenomenal area of her cookbook where I found the Italian Cream Cake.

I think I am a fairly good cook however I have come to realize that I am not a good baker.  The number one reason is that I have no patience and I like perfection.  Two qualities that do not jive together in my baking adventures.  But hey I can make a cake can’t I?  How hard can it be?  Well it is not that hard….if you have patience (remember I am in short supply of that).  The cake had many step and then you had to wait for it to cool before you frost it….what?  Have you heard of instant gratification?  Needless to say I did not wait for my cake to cool completely.  So I don’t think there is much hope for me in the baking department. This recipe also called to separate the eggs….which I can do.  But I obviously could not do it the night I made the cake.  I thought it would be ok to have a little yolk in with the whites.  Well, the answer was an obvious no.  My egg whites did not get all light and frothy.  But needless to say the cakes when they came out of the oven looked great and they did come out of the pan with ease.  But once I started to frost the slightly warm cakes, the frosting just didn’t want to stick, go figure!

The verdict from the family was….it was too sweet.  All of this work and it was too sweet?  What the heck.  Call me as I still have some cake left for your sweet tooth.  Me, I thought it was great but alas the cake is not on my healthy eating plan.  For a treat this is a great cake….. if you have patience. What I did like is that I had all the ingredients on hand and I didn’t have to go to the store for any odd ingredients.

Italian Cream Cake, page 221

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, yolks and whites separated, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar sifted


  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit each of two 9-inch round cake pans.  Grease the pans with butter, fit the parchment into the pans, then grease the parchment.
  2. Stir the flout, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add one third of the dry ingredients and mix well; then add half of the buttermilk, beating on medium speed and scraping the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula.  Repeat, alternating the remaining dry ingredients and the buttermilk.  Add the vanilla, coconut, and toasted walnuts and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat the egg whites, slowly adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, until the whites form stiff peaks but are not dry.  By hand, fold one third of the egg white mixture into the cake batter until it is incorporated.  Fold in the next third of the egg whites, and when that’s incorporated, gently fold in the last third.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  5. Bake until the top is golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.  Set the cakes on racks and allow them to cool completely before removing them from the pans.
  6. For the cream cheese frosting:  In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed until creamy.  Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, beating at low speed until blended.  When all the ingredients are incorporated, beat the frosting at high speed until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the toasted walnuts.
  7. Place 1 cake round on a serving plate, bottom side up.  Ice the sides and top.  Place the other cake round on top, rounded side up, and ice the top and sides.  Place the frosted cake in the refrigerator to firm up the frosting.  Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving, and press the remaining 1/2 cup toasted walnuts in the frosting on top.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

 MS. Simplicity

 MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at