Sunday, February 19, 2012

B[LT] My Valentine and Italian Cream Cake

Happy Valentine's Day!

This year's day-o-love was anything but typical for Bryce and I (especially compared to last year's at-home FEAST and clever and athletic dessert).

First, we decided not to buy gifts. I owe him a 20 minute back massage and he agreed to see a chick-flick with me, The Vow! Good deal.

Second, we could only be together for lunch! Rather than make a full dinner-type meal, I made one of his favorite lunches: a BLT sandwich on sourdough bread.

We also had some roasted potatoes with dill. I told you that my Mom loves all things heart shaped, I HAD to use this bowl on V-day!

Sparkly glasses, heart bowls and plates - all from Mom! Can you imagine what she'll buy for our children someday?!

Some hearty sourdough bread, fresh, crisp lettuce, ripe tomato, and crunchy bacon!

I like my bacon to be crispy and all throughout my sandwich, so I chopped it first. Seriously, look at all those freckles on his hands!

No gifts this year, but cards are always a must! Mine for Bryce...

...and his for me!

He also got me some lovely flowers and I thought this picture was so cool!

Now for the BEST part - the cake! Sadly, the cake was baked at lunch time but it wasn't iced until around 10 pm on Valentine's Day evening. It was the best cake I've ever made! I thought so, Bryce seconded it, and Christine made the third and final vote.

Italian Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens recipe, although the one in my book is different from this one!

5 eggs
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of buttermilk 
     I cheated and made "sour milk" with 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar and the rest milk
1 cup of flaked coconut
1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans

1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, softened
2 teaspoons of vanilla
4 to 5 cups of powdered sugar

Get ready: Remove eggs, butter, and cream cheese from fridge to allow them to reach room temperature, then grease two 9 inch round cake pans.

make the cake
Start by separating egg yolks and egg whites into 2 bowls. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In another (large) bowl, combine flour and baking soda. 

In yet another, and even larger, bowl, beat butter (for cake only - 2 sticks) with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Add the vanilla (for cake only - 1 teaspoon) and egg yolks and beat until well combined, again! Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, gently beating after each addition, until well combined. By hand, gently stir the coconut and half of the pecans (1/4 cup) into the batter.

Wash the mixer's beaters well. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, aka FOREVER. Or until your arm falls off. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter at a time. Finally, pour the batter evenly into your cake pans! Bake those bad boys for about 25 minutes. Do the toothpick test, duh. Cool the cakes on wire racks.

make the frosting
I know you're probably out of clean, large bowls by now so wash the biggest one that you mixed the cake in. Dump in the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla inside and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Wash another bowl - wash, mix, repeat - I know! In said bowl, sift powdered sugar. Gradually incorporate powdered sugar until the frosting is spreading consistency. 

Taste with each finger but don't double dip any back into the bowl! Wash your hands. Is the cake finished and cooled yet? If not, put the frosting in the fridge until you're ready.

Once the cake is cooled completely and the frosting is again brought to room temperature, place one cake layer - bottom side up - on a large serving plate. Spread about 1/3 of the frosting on the first layer and top with half of the remaining pecans. Add the second cake layer - this one right/rounded side up - then carefully spread the remaining 2/3 of the cream cheese frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Press the remaining pecans around the top of the cake. 

Slice. EAT. Heart shaped plates optional!

This cake seriously tastes incredible. We baked and started eating the huge cake on Tuesday. It was shared with several friends and was completely gone by early Saturday! If any of my friends can't drop a few pounds it's because of me, oops.

So, Cupid's day went from a so-so celebration to the best dessert EVER. What's more romantic than sharing cake?!


  1. Somebody's embracing baking...and I love it!


  2. I need to show you how to take food pics! grrrrrrr!


  3. Brooke - I have been and I didn't realize! I guess that means I'm over the hatred :)

    Darren - Please do!