Grandma’s Italian Cream Cake: This incredibly moist homemade cake is like the traditional Italian Cream Cake with a few alterations that can be left in or taken out (more about that below). With a rich walnut, coconut and orange filled batter only trumped by the decadent orange cream cheese frosting, makes this cake ideal for showcasing on a Holiday Dessert Table or at any special gathering.
Why is this Cake called Italian Cream Cake?
Grandma’s Italian Cream Cake Ingredients
SHORTENING AND BUTTER: Combining two different fats such as butter and shortening will give a recipe some of each fat’s best qualities. For example, by using both butter and shortening in a cookie recipe, you will get the wonderful flavor of butter, while the shortening will keep the cookies from spreading too flat.
SUGAR: Granulated sugar is the best sugar to use for this cake. It offers a touch of sweetness and no molasses flavor.
ORANGE ZEST AND VANILLA EXTRACT: Using fresh orange zest is what really makes this cake stand out. ONLY USE real vanilla extract not imitation. I know imitation is a lot cheaper but in the long run the flavor is just no there.
EGGS: Large eggs are best for this recipe. Eggs not only offer moisture but also aid in giving the cake height.
BUTTERMILK: Adding buttermilk brings a pleasant tang to cakes while adding very little fat. It also helps tenderize gluten, giving the cake a softer texture and more body.
FLOUR: All purpose flour is the one you want to use for this Italian Cream Cake. The eggs and flour work hand n hand forming the structure and a network of proteins and starch.
COCONUT: Sweetened Flaked Coconut, adds a pop of flavor and texture to the cake.
NUTS: The traditional Italian Cream Cake calls for pecans…my grandma always used walnuts. Either will work.
A Heirloom cake fit for any celebration table, that is guaranteed to impress your guests. Simple and delicious!
For the Cake Batter:
1 cup vegetable shortening
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest (about 2 medium oranges)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 (7 ounce) bag sweetened, flaked coconut
2½ cups walnuts, chopped, divided
For the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 (8 ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1½ tablespoons orange zest (about 2 medium)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (32 ounce) bag + 1 cup powdered sugar
For the Italian Cream Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with nonstick baking spray , line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper that fits in the bottom of each pan, spray the paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the shortening, butter, sugar, zest and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add flour mixture to the shortening mixture in thirds, alternately with the buttermilk.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites (about 3 minutes) at high speed until stiff peaks form.