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Italian Cream Cake

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“If eating cake is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” – Lorelei Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

Italian Cream Cake on a cake plate with a slice on a plate.

What is the origin of  Italian Cream Cake?… Thank you for asking. I was wondering the same thing so I began researching for this post. My hope was to relay a romantic Italian story about a man who baked a cake for the love of his life. After tasting his incredible cake she realized she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, they married and lived happily ever after. His Italian Cream Cake recipe went down in their family history and was passed down through the many generations and at some point, the recipe was finally brought to the United States.

Sadly, after hours of research, it turns out that the history of Italian Cream Cake has been lost. As a matter of fact, it appears to be more Southern American than Italian, and no one seems to know where the recipe originated. If you want to believe the former story though, you’re in good company… I do too!

(Southern) Italian Cream Cake is delicious.

Italian Cream Cake is a mouthwatering white cake made with buttermilk, nuts, and coconut folded in. Pecans are the more commonly used nut in Italian Cream Cake however, I use almonds in my version because I love them so much (more than pecans- shh!).

Close up of Italian Cream Cake with sugared blueberries, orange peel curls, and mint.

Time well spent. 

Back in California, I didn’t bake from scratch much, because I didn’t have a lot of time. Since moving to the farm, I have had the time to do so many things I’ve always wanted to do including baking from scratch. Italian Cream Cake is one of the first cakes I ever baked from scratch and it immediately became a family favorite at the farmhouse. 

Rainy, cold winter days are perfect for baking. The kitchen is warm, time is plentiful, and there is nothing like the aroma of sugar and vanilla in the air. Although baking from scratch takes time, it’s worth the effort. The end result is a moist, delicious, and beautiful cake that satisfies all your senses. 

Kitchen with Italian Cream Cake on the island.

You can’t ever have enough cake.

Looking for more easy and delicious cake recipes? You will definitely want to check out these: Chocolate Cake, Pumpkin Roll, and Poppyseed Coffee Cake.

Italian Cream Cake on a cake plate with a slice on a plate.
Yield: 12 servings

Italian Cream Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Italian Cream Cake is a mouthwatering white cake made with buttermilk, nuts, and coconut folded in. Pecans are the more commonly used nut however, I use almonds in my version. This cake is rich, moist, and delicious. It's certain to become a family favorite.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup chopped unsalted almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • Sugared blueberries (optional)
  • Orange rind curls (optional)
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat bottoms of 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Coat the parchment paper with cooking spray and dust with flour. Set aside.
  3. Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine 2 cups flour and baking soda; stir well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in almonds and extracts.
  4. Beat egg whites at high speed of a mixer until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Fold egg whites into batter; pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes; until a toothpick comes clean. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen cake layers from sides of pans and turn out onto wire racks. Peel off the parchment paper, and let the cakes cool completely.
  5. Place 1 cake layer on a plate, and spread with 1/3 of the Cream Cheese Frosting; top with the other cake layer. Ice the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with sugared blueberries, orange rind curls, and mint leaves, if desired.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat the softened butter and cream cheese until well blended.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.

Notes

Garnish with sugared blueberries, orange rind curls, and mint if you like.

Italian Cream Cake on a cake plate with dishes and silverware next to it.

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