Saturday, July 30, 2011

Birthdays Galore!

Apparently July is birthday month, but since we have lived so many places over the past few years, most of the honorees aren't even in the same we don't get to do much celebrating.

One birthday girl, however, lives right next door. So...Happy Birthday, Mema!

We celebrated her big day by going to dinner last Thursday night at Red Lobster - there is nothing I love more in the world (after David, of course...maybe...) than crab legs, so I think I was more excited about her birthday than anyone else.

It was also a great excuse to bake a new cake. Mema loves coconut cake, but we have that for her every year, so after much research, I went with Pioneer Woman's Italian Cream Cake. This thing got rave reviews from a lot of different, well-respected food blogs that I follow, so I figured it had to be good. And it was! The cake was moist with a hint of coconut, and the icing was like German Chocolate icing collided with lots of butter and cream cheese. But best of all, it was a layer cake, which is my absolute favorite - what could be better than a cake with icing? Lots of cakes, stuffed with icing and stacked together. YUM.

**After picking at leftovers of cake for the past week, we finally discovered the one thing that could make this cake even more magical - a little blast in the microwave. The icing turns into a glaze and it all tastes like a huge, fresh Krispy Kreme donut.**

Italian Cream Cake (Adapted from Pioneer Woman)

For the Cake:
1 stick butter
1 cup oil (I used canola)
1 cup sugar
5 whole eggs (separated)
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup coconut (I used half sweet, half unsweet)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk (I used whole milk with a splash of white vinegar)

For the Frosting:
2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 stick butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 package (2 lb.) powdered sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 cup sweetened, flaked coconut (I used half sweet and half unsweet again)
a tiny splash of lemon juice (to bring out the cream cheese flavor, a la Dorie Greenspan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans (I used 8.5").
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, lemon juice and flaked coconut. Spread between layers and outside of cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

No comments:

Post a Comment