Wednesday, December 3, 2014

~ A Birthday and an Italian Cream Cake ~

This cake is my very favorite and my mother always made it for my birthday. My special day was Monday, the 1st. At this point in life, it seems better to look forward rather than think about all the years that have passed. :) I actually bought the ingredients to make the cake for "me" but my back has been such a problem that I haven't felt like it. My mother hadn't been able to cook or bake for several years prior to her passing away but one thing that hit me hard was missing this cake. It's the little things that add to our treasured memories when we lose someone. Her birthday was today, December 3rd. She would have been 100! Can you even imagine?  There are many out there though that are over a hundred and I'm always amazed to find out about those that are still active, mentally alert and enjoying life.

I've always said that my mother, her siblings and most of the people of that generation were made of different stock. :)  Of course they worked hard physically as so many were farmers or they had their own businesses, etc. They did have wonderful food from their gardens ~ not all the processed and fake foods that are out there today. They usually had cattle, hogs, chickens and perhaps goats. These sources provided milk and eggs as well as meat. No antibiotics in meats or milk, no chemicals used in their yards or gardens and certainly not all the preservatives that food items contain today. They had such a different life style with no stress job wise. I'm sure they worried about the weather, the crops and their animals but not the usual 9-5 hurry, run, climb the ladder, living at 35,000 feet every week, fast food, activity laden schedules of today. They didn't try to keep up with the Jones's with their homes, cars, vacations, etc. It was certainly a kinder, gentler lifestyle. I feel very fortunate that I grew up in the 50's and 60's.

Back to the cake! :)  I feel sure that most of you have had this incredible dessert at some point and you may have your favorite recipe for it already. I just felt compelled to share it as it's such a wonderful memory for me!

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened 
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar 
large eggs, separated 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/4  tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)
1 cup flaked coconut

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, beating until blended.

Combine flour and soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

2 packages Cream Cheese, softened  (one 8 oz and one 3 oz)
1/2 c. butter, softened
3-3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans (toasted)
1/2 c. or more coconut (optional)
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Fold in pecans and coconut. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Press pecans onto sides of cake. Store in the refrigerator. 
  • Yield: 12 servings.

I'll share a bit more about my birthday celebrations later ~ :)

Sharing with ~


  1. What a lovely story about your family sweet friend and those days back in the 50's and 60's. I too grew up between those two wonderful decades in NY and feel blessed. Yes, people back then were made of different stock; even people here, my family ancestors cooked everything from scratch and I have heirloom recipes that are amazing, such as this gorgeous cake.
    I'm keeping this and thanks for sharing.

  2. OMG! I almost forgot to wish you a happy belated birthday!

  3. Awww Pat, Happy Birthday to you!! I loved hearing the memories of your Mom making this special cake for you and also of the kindler, gentler times. Yes, growing up in the 50's and 60's was so different, wasn't it? I hope you had a good birthday and I look forward to hearing more.

  4. Belated Happy Birthday!!!

    And oh but they had a better life style! One, many are trying to re-create today... As much as they are able.

  5. Lovely story Pat. I hope you had a fabulous birthday. The cake I can imagine is so tasty. It is amazing how things have changed. I too, grew up in the 50's and 60's. Treasure your memories Pat. xo

  6. Happy Birthday, Pat! Hope it was special for you. :) It's funny because up until a few years ago, I had
    never tried Italian cream cake. Then I had it at a wedding and thought it was so delicious! Now I request it all the time for celebrations. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Happy Belated Birthday my friend! That cake looks delicious and wonderful story.

  8. My Mama made it too:) It is still one of my favorites! I always go straight for it on the dessert table at Church or at a Family gathering! Happy Birthday dear friend! I hope it was a great one!

  9. Happy Birthday wishes to you! Italian cream is my husband John's favorite cake and thank you for the recipe and your heartfelt story. I will bake it for John's Birthday.

  10. I love this cake, Pat. I loved hearing your story even more. :)

  11. I love anything, and I mean anything, with coconut in it. Being Italian, from NY (for the 1st 60 years anyway), and having a grandmother who loved to bake, I'm familiar with the type of cake. So delicious!

    Happy belated birthday!

  12. Happy Birthday Pat,
    I surly understand about moving forward. We were all so blessed to grow up during the time we did, it was a fantastic time in our history. What wonderful memories and a great cake, I wish I could share a slice with you. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  13. I recently started sharing recipes on The Jenny Evolution and thought it would be terrific to have a group on FB where we can share our recipes not just with other bloggers but with people who are searching out recipes. That said, I’m launching a Food Blogger group! If we work together we can make this a great outlet for all of us. If you’d like to join, visit me here

    To be approved post to the group, please follow the directions in the group description. Look forward to seeing you there!

  14. Pat! Your birthday was on the first?! Happy belated birthday boy you snuck that into your post I almost missed it. I hope you had the kind of special day that you deserve, I sent you an email not sure you got it but you've been on my mind during these holidays my friend. Thanks for sharing this delicious looking cake. The story you shared was so interesting and I agreeabout the very different and simpler lifestyle back then.

  15. I hope you had a special birthday. We sure have memories of the past when special times roll around. It's nice to be sentimental though AND eat cake! Happy holidays! Sweet hugs, Diane


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