Italian Cream Cake

Sharon ran across a recipe that looks amazing. It is very similar to my mom’s recipe, except they use melted butter in place of the oil+butter_flavoring; and they use twice as much icing.


Italian Cream Cheese Cake Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening…
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans


2 packages (one 8 ounces, one 3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans

In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat just until combined. Stir in coconut and pecans.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in pecans. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Store in the refrigerator.

For reference, Here is my mom’s recipe, slightly annotated by me. She kept it on a 3×5 card in her recipe box, but it might have been something she got from her mom.

Mom’s Italian Cream Cake Recipe


Set oven to 350 (preheating)

Cream well:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp butter flavor

Add 5 yolks (emulsifiers), one at a time, and stir after each one.

Once it’s all creamed, add:
1 cup buttermilk

Then, add the dry team
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 cup Angel Flake coconut (Canned is better than dry bagged)

Add the whites
Beat 5 egg whites until stiff
Fold egg whites gently into batter

Bake the cake
Pour equally into 3 round 8″ cake pans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at preheated 350 degrees F.

Melt and mix the icing in a double boiler
8oz cream cheese
1 stick margarine or butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp butter flavor

Once melted, add:
1 box powdered sugar

Once smooth, add:
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cool icing by placing pan/bowl in cold water.

Once the cake is out and cooled, spread the icing between layers, then on the top and sides.

Let set up overnight in the fridge.

Note: Individual slices freeze very well and are extremely tasty while still frozen.

Doing research, it seems that while there are some big deviations, and many of them seem to be lower fat, or more icing, or etc, these all originated in the early 1900s.  First reference to the cake was 1913 in Canada, and first published recipe was 1937 in Plano, TX.  It’s supposed to be from a US Italian immigrant.

Many will sub in a stick of butter, oleo, or margarine for the half cup of oil.  I bet you could just sub both for butter-flavored crisco.  Some say salted, some not.  Some avoid coconut (WTF!?!?!?) and some double-up.


High Fructose Corn Syrup

A friend posted a link about Coca Cola Mexico converting to HFCS instead of Sucrose.

Know that Coke made with sucrose is actually about 50% fructose when it hits the shelf (it’s boiled into simple syrup). Sugars in HFCS for sodas is 55% fructose. Honey is also 55% fructose. Pure corn syrup would be 100% glucose.

The reason HFCS is used instead of cane or beet sugar is that, due to subsidies on corn, and 3x import tax on sugars, it’s about 50% cheaper to convert glucose (corn sugar) into fructose (fruit sugar), than to extract sucrose from sugar crops.

Also, fructose tastes sweeter than glucose or sucrose, which means less of it can be used for the same sweetness. Less sugar is better, right?

The risks with fructose are:
A ) Sweets and sweet drinks cause an insulin spike which lasts a lot longer than the sugar absorption. This happens with artificial sweeteners also, so it’s not JUST sugars, but sugars are a little worse. This is the REAL issue with fructose, and it’s not really specific to fructose.

B ) Fructose has to be converted to glucose before you can burn it, so it often is just converted directly to fat instead, which burns much more slowly than glucose. This is a secondary issue, because visceral fat, inside the abdominal wall, builds a little faster, assuming you consume 25% of your calories from fructose. If you’re doing this, you have other problems. It’s not fructose itself.

C ) Some people of European descent are missing the enzyme to break down fructose in the small intestine, which leads to 1 ) reducing water absorption in the large intestine, and 2 ) feeding the bacteria in the large intestine, causing cramping, bloating, and gas. It also can absorb too quickly in the large intestine, causing more of a sugar spike than other sugars. If you eat Fruit, it’s absorbed slowly enough to not be much of a problem unless you suffer from this condition.

Sources are Wikipedia’s list of sources for HFCS, Sucrose, Simple Syrup, Fructose Malabsorption, Fructose, Glucose, and a few other things.