The other day I tried my hand at an Italian Cream Cake. For those of you who have no idea what an Italian Cream Cake is, not to worry I’ll explain…it’s a white cake that originates from the South that is flavoured with coconut and pecan nuts and covered in cream cheese icing. I know what you’re going to say, where does the Italian and cream fit into it? Well the cream is in the batter and as for the Italian, I’m as confused as you are on that one…
Before I stumbled across this recipe, I had also never heard of or tasted an Italian Cream Cake, but now I’m so glad that I’m no longer a stranger to this fluffy coconut-ty cake of loveliness.
This recipe is really nice to work with and the cake itself came out really light and full of all the right kind of toasty, nutty notes from the pecans and coconut. The recipe I used didn’t call for cream cheese icing, instead they use a Chocolate Ganache (one of my favourite types of icing) and toasted nuts. I think this combo suited the cake down to the ground slash my stomach.
Ok here we go: Recipe out of Vintage Cakes by Julia Richardson
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 fine salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
4 eggs, room temp
1 cup buttermilk, room temp (I didn’t have nay so I made my own by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon to 1 cup of milk, let it stand for 5 mins before using it)
1/2 cup cold cream
1 1/2 cups lightly packed sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup toasted and chopped pecan nuts – spread the nuts out evenly on a baking sheet and then pop them into a oven that is warmed up to 180°. Once the nuts smell fragrant, about 10 mins, remove them from the oven and let cool.
1. Preheat the oven to 180° and then grease 3 x 8 by 2-inch cake pans
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl, then whisk the mixture to ensure that they are all well distributed.
3. In a bowl with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter on a med-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
4. As you make your batter, stop the mixer and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl frequently. With you mixer on a low speed drizzle the oil and the vanilla into the sugar/butter mixture until well combined.
5. Blend the eggs one at a time, adding the next one as soon the previous one has disappeared into the batter.
6. With the mixer on a low speed add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barley blended and stop and scrape down the bowl.
7. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you don’t over beat it.
8. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream to soft peaks with a hand mixer. Gently fold the cream into the cake batter, followed by the shredded coconut and 1/2 a cup of the toasted chopped pecan nuts. Reserve the other half to mix into your icing.
9. Divide the batter evenly amongst the prepared tins and smooth the tops. Bake until the centre springs back when lightly touched, 25- 30 minutes. I baked mine for just under 25 minutes because my oven is hot, so just check your if you have the same issue.
10. Remove the pans from the oven and promptly run a think knife around the edges to help the cake retract evenly from the sides. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes before flipping them out.
1 cup cream
226 grams chocolate (I used half milk chocolate and half dark)
1/2 cup minced toasted pecan nuts
1. Chop up the chocolate into pieces and place it onto a heat resistant bowl.
2. Heat the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the cream begins to simmer quickly remove the pot from the heat and pour it over the chocolate.
3. Cover the bowl with a lid to trap the heat and let it stand for 5 or so minutes. Remove the lid and slowly whisk the mixture until you have a nice smooth and glossy icing.
4. Leave the ganache to cool, every once in a while give it a stir, it should reach a nice spreadable consistency in a couple of hours. I put mine in the fridge if I’m in a hurry.
5. Mix the minced up pecan nuts into the cooled ganache.
6. Spread your icing between each layer and stack the cakes, ending with icing slathered all over the top layer.
7. Close your eyes and dig in.