Happy New Year! It’s been a frigid start to the new year here in Minnesota with most days below zero and wind chills in the negative 20’s and 30’s. The kiddos are back to school after their two week Christmas break but after just a few days back at school, they received a one day reprieve when schools were closed for a cold day due to air temps of -10 and wind chills of -35.
Although it’s been incredibly cold, we are hearty here in Minnesota, and it hasn’t put much of a damper on our fun. Over the past few weeks, we’ve bundled up and gotten out for basketball games, a trip to the Mall of America, and even a trip to the Minnesota zoo. It’s amazing how much more active the wild cats are during the winter months, and watching them up close, with the absence of the summertime crowds, provided ample entertainment for all of us.
Beyond adjusting to the cold weather, I’ve spent lots of time in the kitchen trying out new recipes and refining tried and true ones. I’ve got loads (and I do mean LOADS) of recipes that I’ve clipped from magazines or newspapers over the years in hopes of eventually giving them a try. Well, this year I’ve resolved to actually dive into as many as possible – keeping only the best of the best and ditching the ones that turn out so-so.
Which brings me to the January cake. This month I chose to give the Italian Cream Cake a try. It’s a lovely white cake with a toasted pecan, cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar buttercream.
The recipe calls for 5 eggs – separated – with the yolks blended into a butter, shortening and white sugar combo. After that, flour and buttermilk are incorporated alternately. Next, the egg whites are beaten in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form, and then are gently folded into the batter. Finally, shredded coconut is added to the batter. The recipe calls for sweetened shredded coconut, but I used unsweetened, and it turned out fine, as the white sugar in the batter along with the sweet frosting provide plenty of sweetness.
For the frosting, I toasted the pecans before incorporating into the mixture, and I learned to watch the pecans very closely as my first batch burned in the blink of an eye and I had to start over.
The Verdict: This was a wonderful, moist, tasty cake. I loved the idea of the toasted pecans in the frosting. They added a nice texture and crunch, and I will definitely file this recipe away to make again to take to events. Unfortunately, my chief cake eater in the house – my ten year old son – is allergic to nuts. Fortunately, I was able to tempt my fabulous coworkers into devouring the cake so that it didn’t go to waste!
If you’d like to see what the other members of my baking club made this month, click here:
Tagged: cake; cake slice