Italian Cream Cake

Now that we’re entering the Christmas season, I am thinking about holiday goodies; cookies, candies.

Bakers Coconut circa 1910

But --- most of all this mouthwatering cake, which takes me back to the Kentucky State Fairgrounds Exposition Center in Louisville, KY.  It is enormous and remains one of the top ten exposition venues in this country.  

The climate-controlled exhibit area and meeting spaces has over one million square feet, all on one level and will accommodate all sizes and shapes of events.  It also contains Freedom Hall, the University of Louisville’s home court and an arena for numerable events.  But, the event I liked most when I was young was the Kentucky State Fair held in August. 

It was at the fair when wandering through the baking exhibits in the late 1970’s, that I drooled over this Italian Cream Cake; it won a blue ribbon for the lady who entered it.  This cake overflows with angel flaked coconut, topped with a tempting layer of pecan cream cheese frosting.

Ambrosia Bakery

It's a pretty cake, my favorite cake, and my ‘favorite’ Uncle Pete’s favorite cake also.  When he was visiting my home one time, coming from Baltimore, Ohio, I served this cake.  He loved it and asked for the recipe.  It surprised me; I didn’t even know he baked!  Then, not long thereafter, he served me a slice of it at his house.  It was great and I was very impressed with his baking skills!

It’s a multi-flavored cake that blends just the right ingredients for an utterly delicious dessert.  It’s very moist, heaped with flavor and keeps well.  I wonder if it’s really an Italian cake or a Southern cake.  

Italian Cream Cake


1 stick butter, softened
½ cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 small can coconut
½ cup pecans, chopped
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten


Cream butter and shortening.  Add sugar and beat till smooth. 
Add egg yolks and beat well. 
Sift flour, measure and sift again with the baking soda.
Add flour alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture.
Stir in vanilla, then coconut and nuts.
Fold in egg whites.
Pour batter in 2 or 3 cake pans, greased and floured.
Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pans 5 minutes, then put on rack.
Frost when cool.

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting


8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
½ stick butter, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans


Beat cream cheese with butter until smooth.  
Add sugar, mix well. 
Add vanilla, beat until smooth.
Spread on cool cake.
Sprinkle pecans on top.


It’s heavenly, the perfect Christmas cake!



I want to enjoy my life, and food is a big part of it.

~ Gwyneth Paltrow

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Jules-Alexandre Grun

Since 2009