This cake was a 4 hour labor of love. The cake itself was moist and fluffy. I didn't have pecans, so I subbed with walnuts. I was concerned that the cake would be overly sweet, so I only did half the caramel frosting. It was enough for thin inner layers and a thicker topping. It was super sweet, so I'm glad I didn't end up doing the entire amount prescribed in the recipe. The cream cheese frosting is only enough for a very thin outer coating, which was perfectly fine with me. I couldn't find flaked coconut in any of the stores I visited, so I ended up nixing that. Overall, this produced a very sweet cake. I ate about half a slice and was in a sugar coma. It was very good though.
Caramel Italian Cream Cake
Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell
Brown sugar is the shortcut to quick caramel flavor in both the cake layers and the frosting.
Yield: Makes 12 servings
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2 Hours, 25 Minutes
- 3 cups shaved coconut
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- Quick Caramel Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place shaved coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan. Place pecans in a second shallow pan. Bake coconut and pecans at the same time 5 to 7 minutes or until coconut is toasted and pecans are lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
- 2. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add granulated and brown sugars, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended.
- 3. Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in pecans and 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut.
- 4. Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
- 5. Bake at 350° for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
- 6. Prepare Quick Caramel Frosting. Immediately spread frosting between layers and on top of cake. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting over sides of cake; press 3 cups toasted shaved coconut onto sides of cake.
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