Quick Italian Cream Cake

Using a cake mix simplifies this holiday cake. The bonus: all the taste of the traditional method but less time in the kitchen. That's icing on the cake!

Yield: Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 (18 1/4-oz.) pkg. white cake mix with pudding
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (3 1/2-oz.) can flaked coconut
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons rum (optional)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 1/2 pkgs. (12 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Garnish: pecan halves

Preparation

  1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in coconut and pecans. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9" round cake pans.
  2. Bake at 350° for 15 to 17 minuts or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Sprinkle cake layers evenly with rum, if desired; let stand 10 minutes.
  3. To make Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Makes 4 cups.
  4. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired. Chill 2 hours before slicing.
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