Saturday, 15 December 2012

Abuela's Italian Cream Cake

In my last post I gave you a hint with what I would do with those spiced pecans, and although it may not be the prettiest thing to decorate a cake with, I think it gave the cake a sort of charm.

My family are obsessed with chocolate cake, and usually it's all they request for birthday cakes. This week we celebrated my mums birthday, and seeing as I had made a chocolate cake recently for my sisters birthday, I wanted to try something different. My mum loves chocolate cake. She isn't a fan of vanilla cake, and she doesn't really like buttercream frosting either. What she does like though is carrot cake, but I made her a carrot birthday cake a couple of years ago and was still looking for something different. That's when I stumbled upon this cake. It had the spices that you would put in a carrot cake, but without the carrots, and the addition of coconut, and if you wanted to (I didn't) the addition of spiced pecans in the sponge.

Needless to say, the cake got very mixed reviews. I betrayed the children of this family by not producing their beloved chocolate cake! However, my mum loved it, and my dad did too. My fiance, Mustafa, thought it was okay for something that had coconut in it (he doesn't like coconut) and my sisters thought it was alright for something that had spices in it (they're not fans of cinnamon and nutmeg). But everyone agreed that the icing was their favorite bit. For someone who's not in love with spices, or cake for that matter, I finished my slice. I really liked that it wasn't too spiced up, and that  you could taste the almond extract in the background. The cake itself was flavourful and crumbly, and the icing complimented it, with the pecans adding a crunch to the cake.

If you like a little freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon with underlying almond and coconut in your cake, covered in a sweet cream cheese frosting and decorated with with crunchy spiced pecans, make this, you will love it.

Abuela's Italian Cream Cake

Adapted from Baked in America

450 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
175 ml buttermilk
1.5 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
335 grams of butter, softened
450 grams granulated sugar
5 eggs
150 grams dessicated coconut

340 grams cream cheese
115 grams unsalted butter
450 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 batch of spiced pecans to decorate the cake (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F). Butter two 9 inch round cake pans and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl, and set aside. 
Combine the buttermilk and vanilla and almond extracts in a measuring jug, and also set aside. 

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium high speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light, pale and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes. Turn the mixer down a notch and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl as necessary. On low speed, alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures in 3 to 4 additions. Begin and end with the dry ingredients and mix only until just combined. With a rubber spatula, scrape any leftover gunk from the bottom of the bowl then fold in the shredded coconut and pecans until everything is evenly incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth with an offset spatula.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. It's best to rotate pans front to back, top to bottom about 2/3 of the way through. Cool on racks for 30 minutes before turning out layers to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, half the sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon on medium speed. Be careful not to over-mix, which can sometimes cause the cream cheese to become too thin and almost liquidy. Slowly add the remaining sugar, about 100 grams at a time, to create a smooth and spreadable consistency. If the frosting seems soft, you can add a teaspoon of lemon juice in order to regain the thick cream cheese consistency. 

To finish the cake, cut thin strips of baking paper and place 4 of them on a serving plate or cake stand about 18cms apart. This will keep things neat and tidy for presentation later. Place one layer flat-side down on the baking paper strips. Slice off the domed top and enjoy snacking on it  while moving along. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting on top of the de-domed top, and repeat with the second layer. Frost the top and sides of the entire cake. Remove the baking paper from underneath the cake. Let the cake stand for about 4 hours before serving. 

Wrap twice in clingfilm and then foil if you want to pop it in the freezer, as apparently it freezes beautifully. This can also be refrigerated before serving, but remove it about 1 hour before serving so it can soften up for ideal enjoyment.

1 comment:

  1. Babe it's been a while. Love this one. Looks yUm! Il make this one for Xmas too :)
    Aisha x