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Old 01-12-2009, 09:39 PM   #1
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Italian Crème Cake

Ok, I got into a baking mood today. This is something I've been wanting to make for a long time. This recipe is from the club I currently work at, but from 6 years ago. From what I remember, this recipe is supposed to taste EXACTLY like the commercially-prepared Italian Crème Cake served in many restaurants.

Italian Crème Cake
Yields:
From: TCC Files

½ c (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/3 c shortening
1 ¾ c sugar
4 egg yolks
1 t vanilla
1 ¾ c flour
1 ½ t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
¾ c buttermilk
¾ c finely chopped pecans
¾ c toasted coconut
4 egg whites
Simple syrup
For the frosting:
12 oz cream cheese
6 T butter or margarine
1 ½ t vanilla
6 - 7 c (?) powdered sugar

Grease and flour three 8 x 1 ½” or 9 x 1 ½” round baking pans. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and shortening with an electric mixer until combined. Add the sugar, beat on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla; beat well. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and soda. Add dry mixture and buttermilk alternately to the beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in the pecans and coconut. Thoroughly wash the beaters.
In a medium mixing bowl beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight up). Stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter. Fold in the remaining whites. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake in a 350°F for 25 - 30 minutes for 8” pans (or 18 - 22 minutes for 9” pans), or until cakes test done. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Soak evenly with the simple syrup. Cool completely on wire racks. Frost top of one cake layer with cream cheese frosting. Top with another layer, frost, and then top with the last layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting.
In a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter or margarine, and the vanilla until smooth. Gradually add enough powdered sugar to make of spreading consistency, beating until smooth.

Now, as some of you all know, I don't usually follow a recipe verbatim, and this one was no exception. Also, I'm not really a baker, so anytime I bake, it's hit-or-miss as to whether or not it will turn out.

The changes I made:
-I don't know why, but I have always thought this had almonds in it. When I bought the nuts (I knew it needed nuts, just not sure what kind), I picked up almonds, then found out I needed pecans.
-I think I actually had about 1/4 c of shortening, instead of the 1/3 c listed.
-When I separated the eggs, I broke two of the yolks, and got some of the yolk into the egg whites. I knew the whites wouldn't whip up that well, but went with it anyway. There is chemical leavening, so I was pretty sure that meringue leavening wasn't critical.
-I don't own any round cake pans. I figured I'd bake this in a 9 x 13" pan.
-Simple Syrup was 3/4 c water and 3/4 c sugar.
-I bought some cream cheese frosting (I know, I know, I usually make stuff from scratch).

Well, I made the cake batter as best I could. I baked it, keeping an eye on the cake as I wasn't sure of the cooking time. I timed it for 33 minutes, as I seem to remember using that time figure for a box-mix cake in the same size pan. I tested the cake with a toothpick. I remember reading on another thread about the difficulties of getting a syrupy mixture to soak into a cake. I poked that cake a couple of hundred times with a toothpick, then started brushing the simple syrup over the cake as directed. I frosted the cake about 30 minutes ago, cut it, and served it up to the kids.

Results: Well, honestly, it's been so long since I've tasted the commercial product, I kind of FORGOT what it tasted like! The cake had a great texture, even with the meringue not whipping like it should have. It also had a great, buttery taste, but that could have come from the frosting.

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Old 01-12-2009, 10:19 PM   #2
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I've had Italian Creme Cake, and it is delicious!

You have to follow the directions exactly when you are bakling a cake, Allen.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:22 PM   #3
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I am familiar with it, but don't think I have ever had one. If I just followed the recipe without any variations would it be a good one? Or should I re-write it following your variations for my first time trying it?
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:27 PM   #4
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Please follow the recip4 exactly the first time, and then decide if you want to make any changes. I'll look for Mary Temporiti's recipe tomorrow. It's in a recipe box somewhere.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:39 PM   #5
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I had never heard of this cake. As pecans are not native to Italy and neither is cream cheese, I imagine it is an Italian American cake. Also, marscapone is different from Philadephia Cream Cheese. It sounds very good though. I also read recipes that call for cake flour which would make for a more tender cake. Interesting.

Here is a recipe that Emeril made:
Italian Cream Cake (From Beth Lott's Mom) Recipe : Emeril Lagasse : Food Network
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:14 PM   #6
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I mess and variate baking recipes all the time. You do not have to be exact if you follow some basic baking principles. I have had many of these cakes and have made it a time or two myself. My daughter does not like coconut so I leave it out if she is coming. Also no biggie on the pecans or the almonds. The recipes I have used have not had the syrup step with them. I will have to try that step. Also no biggie on the amount of shortening you used. Some people use only apple sauce. Messing with known recipes are how new ones are created. So what if it flops, try it another way next time. Same with bread recipes. Just go for it, be creative and have fun. Get the kids involved and make it a family affair. I loved your post AllenOK.
Helen
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:35 AM   #7
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I love Italian Creme Cake! I'm gonna have to try this one. Thanks Allen!
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Old 01-13-2009, 04:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK View Post
Now, as some of you all know, I don't usually follow a recipe verbatim, and this one was no exception. Also, I'm not really a baker, so anytime I bake, it's hit-or-miss as to whether or not it will turn out.
LOL! Allen! Too funny! If you would follow a recipe as it is written, you really can avoid the "hit or miss" and actually have a successful outcome!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK View Post
The changes I made:
-I don't know why, but I have always thought this had almonds in it. When I bought the nuts (I knew it needed nuts, just not sure what kind), I picked up almonds, then found out I needed pecans.
The "authentic" Italian Creme Cake does call for pecans. Pecans are a moist nut than others, especially in comparison with almonds!
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK View Post
-When I separated the eggs, I broke two of the yolks, and got some of the yolk into the egg whites. I knew the whites wouldn't whip up that well, but went with it anyway. There is chemical leavening, so I was pretty sure that meringue leavening wasn't critical.
In this recipe, the egg whites are not for levening; rather, they are for texture. Think angel food cake and the light and airy texture of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK View Post
Well, I made the cake batter as best I could. I baked it, keeping an eye on the cake as I wasn't sure of the cooking time. I timed it for 33 minutes. . .
This cake is traditionally baked in a tube pan or a Bundt* pan, at 375 F for 45 minutes, and begin checking for doneness at 35 to 40 minutes, as ovens vary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK View Post
I remember reading on another thread about the difficulties of getting a syrupy mixture to soak into a cake.
The authentic recipe does not call for a syrup!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PieSusan View Post
As pecans are not native to Italy and neither is cream cheese, I imagine it is an Italian American cake. Also, marscapone is different from Philadephia Cream Cheese. It sounds very good though. I also read recipes that call for cake flour which would make for a more tender cake.
PieSusan, this is an Italian cake, if it is made as the traditional recipe calls for AND with the ingredients that the authentic recipe calls for! And yes, we do use pecans in our cooking....not as much as other European recipes call for! And you are so very correct that mascarpone cheese is different from cream cheese, and for the most part, it is used in dolce (dessert) recipes.

This cake is extremely rich in taste and when made with an authentic recipe and ingredients, a tiny slice is all one is served. You state you have never heard of nor tried this cake, you really should get your hands on an authentic recipe and try it! You will definitely not be disappointed!
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:29 AM   #9
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Don't get me wrong; I'm sure I'll make this again. I'll just pay better attention to making sure that I don't get egg yolks in the whites.

Since the cake did bake up good in the 9 x 13" pan, I'll probably stick with that.

When I said "hit or miss", I wasn't talking "good or completely ruined", more like "professional quality or just acceptable". Like I said, I'm not a pro baker, so I don't expect pro results.

I am very aware that "Cooking is an Art, Baking is a science". So when I realized I couldn't follow the recipe verbatim (the round pans, then the faux pas with the eggs), I automatically expected poor results. What I got was half-way decent results. I mean, the kids are ate it and didn't complain.

Queen Guinevere, would you be willing to share you recipe?

Constance, I would love to look at the recipe you have as well.
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:06 AM   #10
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Good job Allen!! Ya wasn't tryin for da Grand Prize at the State Fair anyway!!! If it ate good that's all that matters. --- My DW makes a cake very, very similar to this -- Most times in layers, but sometimes in a 9 x 13 or so --- It's one of my favorites! When she gets called to make a cake for a Charity function they always ask her to make this cake...it sells fast, and brings top dollar!!

Have Fun!!
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