"Forget book clubs, it's cake clubs that are on the rise." is a tagline featured in an article about baking clubs being the new "fool-proof recipe for happiness."
Some fellow food bloggers--Parsley Sage at the Deep Dish, Shannon of Dinner or Dessert, Maureen of the Orgasmic Chef, and Matt the Grad School Chef--and I formed a baking club (any cool name suggestions?)! We thought it would be fun to try a recipe each month, add our own personal twists to it, and then blog about it. I continue to learn so much from other food bloggers, so this seemed like something right up my alley, especially since we are located all around the world.
This month, we baked an Italian Cream Cake. The standard Italian Cream Cake consists of buttermilk, coconut, and nuts in the batter, and cream cheese and nuts in the frosting. This is a very moist, but not dense, cake. It is just right on the taste of coconut and nuts. I used a combination of walnuts, pecans, and almonds just because I had many nuts leftover from my baklava recipe. The cream cheese frosting adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the cake.
After trying the cake, my friends unanimously said that it tasted like a wedding cake. While the cake is an "Italian" cake, it reminds me of a Southern style cake with the coconut, buttermilk, and pecans.
I look forward to sharing our next recipe with you. Please visit the Deep Dish, Dinner or Dessert, the Orgasmic Chef, and the Grad School Chef to see their takes on the recipes.
Random baking tip: If you bake cakes, have you ever tried cake strips? Cake strips makes a huge difference when baking cakes. Cake strips allow the cake to bake evenly, and you will not need to be concerned with whether the cake will have a high-rise center or cracked top. The cake strips are made from the same type of material as astronaut suits, and you soak them in water before wrapping them around your cake pan. The moisture within the strips keeps the pan edge cooler and level for perfectly moist cakes. You'll be surprised!
Italian Cream Cake
1 cup butter, salted
2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 oz. sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup finely chopped nuts, your choice (I used a combination of walnuts, pecans, and almonds)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
24 oz. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Milk to thin frosting to desired consistency
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and set aside. Combine the flour and baking soda into a medium sized bowl, and sift.
Cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks (keep the whites in a separate mixing bowl) and mix well. Add the buttermilk and flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating between the buttermilk and flour mixture. Add the vanilla extract, coconut, and nuts. Mix to combine.
In the separate mixing bowl containing the egg whites, stiffly beat the egg whites to form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 45 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on racks. Remove from pans and ensure cake is cool before frosting.
For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and confectioners sugar. Add milk to thin frosting to desired consistency. Frost cake as desired.
Source: Modified from All Recipes