My mother is notorious for putting herself last. She is a caregiver for others, and she always makes decisions that make life easier for all of us, even though these choices often make life more difficult for her. That being said, I was talking with Mom on the phone last week as we were preparing for my grandmother’s 90th birthday party, and my mother shared that there would be four cakes at the party. That seemed like a lot of cakes for 25-30 people. Mom went on to say that she had ordered a traditional birthday cake for my grandmother. She said she was making a pound cake because my grandmother had asked for a pound cake. My Aunt Libby was making an apple cake, and mom was making an Italian Creme Cake. “Why are you making an Italian Creme Cake?” I asked. And her response was, “Because I want one.” A smile crept over my face. Finally, I thought, my mother is doing something for herself. But…this is only part of the story.
So, I tell my mother that I plan to photograph the cake and put it on the blog because she really does make an exceptional Italian Creme Cake. However, when I arrived and looked at the cake, something was different! Mom’s Italian Creme Cake usually has three layers, but this cake only had two. I turned to my mother and said, “Mom, doesn’t this cake usually have three layers?” She replied, “Yes, but I ate one of them before I put it together.” We laughed! This type of self-indulgent behavior is so uncharacteristic of my mom. It makes me smile every time I think about her baking this cake because she loves it and then munching on a layer of the cake before she ever put it together. However, two layers or three, the cake was fantastic!
(Just as a side note, my mother did not eat the entire layer at one time!)
From start to finish, this recipe will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Italian Creme Cake Ingredients and Directions
1 stick margarine
1/2 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
5 egg yolks
2 cups plain flour
5 egg whites (stiffly beaten)
1 tsp. soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 can (7 oz.) coconut
1 cup chopped black walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
Cream margarine and shortening.
Add sugar, and beat until smooth.
Add egg yolks, and beat well.
Combine flour and soda, and add to creamed mixture – alternately with buttermilk.
Stir in vanilla, coconut, and nuts.
Fold in beaten egg whites.
Bake in 3 9-inch pans at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Frosting Ingredients and Directions
1 8-oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 stick margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 box confectioners sugar.
1/4-1/2 cup chopped black walnuts (to your liking)
Beat cream cheese and margarine until smooth.
Add sugar and vanilla.
Beat until smooth.
Spread on cake, and sprinkle with chopped nuts.