Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Italian Cream Cake: A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dessert

Good morning! Whew, I am tired and the holidays have not even started yet. I returned late last night from a fabulous weekend in Knoxville, TN where my husband and I visited with friends and attended the University of Tennessee versus the University of Missouri(my husbands alma mater) football game. 

I have never been to a game with all that pomp and circumstance and it was great fun. From the tailgating, to the arrival of the players, to the marching band and the dancing mascot's I enjoyed it all as did the over 95,000 people who attended the game along with me.

Today I am going to be frantically running around to get everything ready for my sister and her family who arrive today to spend Thanksgiving with us. I am so excited to be with my family!

One of the things that I have under control are the Thanksgiving week desserts. I tried out several new recipes using myself and my friends to taste test them and this Italian Cream cake was the hands down favorite. I know it is not a traditional Thanksgiving cake but I do know that many people serve it over the Christmas holidays so why not start early?

If you are looking for a non-traditional dessert to serve instead of the normal pies, or something to serve in addition I think you will LOVE this cake. By the way, even though it is called Italian Cream Cake I have been told that it is a southern cake recipe, not Italian. As for that I am not sure but if you know please share. 

Italian Cream Cake
Recipe from Foodnetwork and Southern Living


  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Crisco shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup flaked coconut toasted
  • 5 egg whites, beaten until stiff


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 3-9" round cake pans with grease and parchment paper rounds in the bottom of the pans.. Cream butter, Crisco and sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time and continue mixing until creamy. Then add vanilla and almond extract. Sift flour and soda together, then add to butter and egg mixture alternating with buttermilk. Add flour first and last. 
  • 2
    Beat until smooth. Stir in nuts and coconut by hand, then fold in beaten egg whites, be careful not to over-mix and deflate the egg whites too much. 
  • 3
    Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan then invert onto wire rack to cool completely. 
Frost with cream cheese frosting and decorate with toasted coconuts and pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cup butter, softened
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1-2 pounds of confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine butter and cream cheese in stand mixer, beat on medium until light and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar one cup at a time on low speed, then add vanilla. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy. You may need to add a little milk or cream to get it to the consistency that you like.

I cannot say enough good things about this cake. It is soft and moist with a delicious nutty, vanilla and coconut flavor. Even people that hate coconut love this cake, however if you are opposed to coconut than leave it out, the cake is still fabulous. 

What are you serving for Thanksgiving dessert? Do you have an non-traditional recipes on your menu?

I hope that you have a wonderful week. Travel safe and enjoy your time with your family and friends!


  1. This looks fabulous and one my favorite cakes is the Italian Cream Cake from Olive Garden. Can't wait to make this one. As for Knoxville visit. We moved from there about a year ago and they are fanatical about their Vols Football. You can't find better spirit anywhere. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Hugs, Cindy

  2. Good evening Elizabeth my dear!

    I am finally getting around to this list of blogs that I have not been able to get to; you have been on the go as usual but having fun, no doubt! WIshing you a fantastic Thanksgiving. Anita

  3. Oh my goodness...does that look amazing! I am officially OFF the diet until Sunday and definitely could go for a piece of that cake!! Have a wonderful time with your sister and a very Happy Thanksgiving!! xoxo

  4. Never met a cake with cream cheese frosting that I did not totally love! A very Happy Thanksgiving to you Elizabeth!


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