I was first introduced to Italian Crème Cake back in 1981. Right after I started a new job, the company held it’s annual Thanksgiving event. My employer provided the turkey and ham, and the employees furnished the sides and dessert. Italian Crème Cake was one of several desserts. I was immediately addicted, and I begged for the recipe.
I’m not a big fan of pot luck meals. I like to know what’s in the dish before I eat it. And, it seems to me that there’s never a variety of dishes at a pot luck. A good number of people tend to bring food that’s cheap and abundant. Can’t say that I blame them, but that results in too many sweet potato pies, a dozen or so broccoli casseroles, an assortment of Jello molds (yes, people still make these), and things I can’t identify. I’m not sure how I managed to deal with all of my pot luck issues long enough to try the cake. But I did. We love it.
That brings me to the cake’s name: Italian Crème Cake. True, it’s definitely a cake, but there’s nothing Italian or crème-ish about it. In fact, it screams down-home, deep-south cooking—butter, shortening, cream cheese, pecans, coconut, buttermilk, 3 layers, 5 eggs, powdered sugar. I’m surprised it isn’t baked in a cast iron skillet
Many versions of this recipe are in circulation just like other pot luck favorites. This version is our favorite.
Italian Crème Cake Recipe
For the cake
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 eggs separated
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
For the frosting
- 3¾ cups powdered sugar
- 2 packages cream cheese 8-ounces each
- ½ unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup or more of chopped pecans or walnuts
Cream butter and shortening, then add sugar and blend until mixture is smooth. Add egg yolks and mix well.
Combine flour and soda; add to combined mixture alternately with buttermilk; stir in vanilla; add coconut and chopped nuts then set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, then fold into batter. Pour batter into three 9-inch greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely and frost.
To make the frosting: Beat cream cheese and margin until smooth; add sugar and mix. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread on cake. Sprinkle top with chopped walnuts.