I associate this cake with my Aunt Eileen. Eileen loves making Italian Cream Cake. And my cousin Claire, Eileen's daughter, she loves eating cake especially Italian Cream Cake. That's a lot of love. This is their favorite cake.
I don't know what makes this cake Italian, in fact I've read that it's a Southern invention, and actually has nothing to do with Italian cooking.
This is a mellow, rich, coconutty cake. Luscious. And toothsome.
Italian Cream Cake
FOR THE CAKE:
1 stick Butter
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
5 whole Eggs (separated)
3 teaspoons Vanilla
1 cup Coconut (from PW: If You Think You Hate Coconut, Trust Me: I Do Too, And I Love It In This Recipe)
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup Buttermilk
2 packages (8 Oz) Cream Cheese
1 stick Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 package 2 Lb Powdered Sugar
1 cup Chopped Walnuts
1 cup Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
Alternate adding buttermilk and dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, then fold in egg whites.
Pour evenly into the three prepared pans, then sprinkle the top of each pan with 1 (at least) tablespoon sugar.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir in chopped walnuts and sugared coconut. Spread between layers and serve.
Note: cream cheese frosting will soften at room temperature, so refrigerate if you won’t use it right away.