***For years, my Mom has always made one of the most amazing Italian Cream Cakes...It is spectacular! It's filled with pecans and flaked coconut, and the cake itself is moist and delicious...with cream cheese icing to finish it all off. It's always been one of my favorites. So, you can imagine my delight when my sister-in-law, Christine, surprised me with this Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake for my birthday. This recipe from Southern Living takes everything you love about traditional Italian Cream Cake and kicks it up about 100 notches! In fact, Southern Living describes it as one of their "most showstopping cakes ever"...take a look HERE!
The Fresh Orange Curd is the star of the show. It is spread in between each of the cake layers and adds the most amazing flavor...It's sweet, but not too sweet. The orange juice and orange rind adds the perfect hint of freshness, which will make it hard to resist a second piece. The contrast of the fresh tartness of the oranges with the sweetness of the cake is a combination that is sheer perfection here.
And then you have the Pecan-Cream Cheese Icing and Glazed Pecan Halves...Oh.My.Goodness...This cake is heaven! I've already put in a request for this cake again next year! It would make a showstopping cake at your Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations this year. I can personally guarantee that your guests will fall in love with it!
Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake
Source: Southern Living; December 2002
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Fresh Orange Curd (recipe below)
3 cups Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (optional)
Glazed Pecan Halves (optional)
Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until blended.
Combine flour and soda; add to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in 1 cup flaked coconut.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread 3/4 cup chilled Fresh Orange Curd between layers; spread remaining Fresh Orange Curd on top of cake. (The Fresh Orange Curd layer on top of cake will be very thick.) If desired, loosely cover cake, and chill 8 hours. (Chilling the cake with the curd between the layers helps keep the layers in place and makes it much easier to spread the frosting.) Spread 3 cups Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting on sides of cake, reserving remaining frosting for another use. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted coconut over top of cake, if desired. Arrange Glazed Pecan Halves around top edge of cake, if desired. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Arrange Boxwood Garland around bottom edge of cake before serving, if desired.
Note: Cake may be frosted with Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting immediately after adding the Fresh Orange Curd, but the cake layers will not be as steady.
Fresh Orange Curd
Yield: Makes about 3 cups
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups fresh orange juice (about 4 pounds navel oranges)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan; gradually whisk in fresh orange juice. Whisk in lightly beaten eggs. Bring to a boil (5 to 6 minutes) over medium heat, whisking constantly.
Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter and grated orange rind. Cover, placing plastic wrap directly on curd, and chill 8 hours.
Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: Makes about 4 cups
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed until smooth; stir in pecans.
Glazed Pecan Halves
Yield: Makes 2 cups
2 cups pecan halves
1/3 cup light corn syrup
Vegetable cooking spray
Combine pecan halves and corn syrup, stirring to coat pecans. Line a 15- x 10-inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil; coat with cooking spray. Arrange pecan halves in an even layer in pan.
Bake at 350° for 12 minutes; stir using a rubber spatula. Bake 8 more minutes. Remove from oven, and stir; arrange in an even layer on wax paper, and let cool completely.