Cat Cora: Alma’s Italian Cream Cake

Cat Cora: Alma’s Italian Cream Cake


For Cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 TBS (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, yolks & whites separated, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (angel flake)
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted


For Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 8 TBS (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (1 pound) Confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Directions for Cake:

1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Prepare 2 round 9-inch cake pans by greasing and flouring them or by cutting a circle of parchment to fit each pan, greasing the pan, fitting the parchment into place, and then greasing the parchment.

3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and 1 ½ cups of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the sifted dry ingredients and buttermilk in thirds to the creamed mixture, beating on medium speed after each addition and wiping the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula. Add vanilla, coconut and nuts and mix well.

4. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with cleaned beaters, slowly adding the remaining ½ cup of sugar and beating until the whites form stiff peaks but are not dry. Carefully, fold one third of the egg white mixture into the batter until all is incorporated. Fold in the next third of the egg whites and, when that’s incorporated, gently fold in the last third.

5. Divide the batter evenly into the 2 prepared pans.

6. Bake until the top is golden brown and a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely before removing them from the pans.

Directions for Cream Cheese Frosting:

1. Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating at low speed until blended. When all the ingredients are incorporated, beat the frosting at high speed until smooth. Stir in ½ cup of the toasted walnuts.

2. Ice the sides and top of one cake before placing the other cake on top. Place the frosted cake in the refrigerator to firm up the frosting. Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving, and press the remaining ½ cup of walnuts into the frosting on top.

Directions for Toasting the Walnuts:

Toast the chopped walnuts in a shallow baking pan at 325°F for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant. Remove the pan from the oven and let the nuts cool.


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