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When I first tasted Italian Creme Cake in a restaurant, I was sorely disappointed! Everything I had heard about it being sooo deliciously wonderful was proven wrong with that first piece, and subsequent pieces at other locations. Honestly, I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Then a co-worker asked if I could make one for her, and I promised to find a recipe and charge her half-price if she was willing to be my guinea pig. I took the recipe from a trusted old friend, the Better Homes and Gardens baking cookbook. I made enough batter to reserve some for a smaller cake so I could taste it too. One bite, and I was hooked! Italian Creme reigned supreme after that.  And Bella Dolci had at last found its pièce de résistance.

You should see how messy this page is in my cookbook…that’s the sign of a great recipe!

1 ¾  c. all-purpose flour
1 ½  tsp Baking powder
¼  tsp Baking soda
½  c. Butter
1/3     c. Shortening
1 ¾  c sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
¾  c buttermilk or sour milk
1 (3½ oz.) can flakes coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
4 egg whites

Grease and flour three 8’ round pans, set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.

Beat butter and shortening on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add egg yolks and vanilla; beat on medium speed until combined.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to egg yolk mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.  Fold in coconut and chopped pecans.

In small mixing bowl with VERY CLEAN BEATERS, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).  Fold one-third of egg whites into cake batter to lighten; fold in remaining whites.  Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans onto cake racks and cool completely.

Frost with Pecan Cream Cheese icing:

12 oz cream cheese
6 T butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla
6 cups sifted powdered sugar
½ cup chopped pecans

Beat together until smooth.  Gradually add 6 cups sifted powdered sugar, beating on low until smooth; stir in pecans.

*Pecans are optional.  If you plan to decorate the cake, as in with a decorator bag and piping utensils, do not add the pecans.  Make sure your icing is piping consistency.  If it’s too thick, you will have to work too hard.  😉