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Cake: Italian Cream Cake

posted by mamaSue 09-07-100 4:48 AM

Italian Cream Cake
Cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light butter
2 large egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon butter extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg whites (at room temperature)
Lemon rind (optional)

Prepare Cream Cheese Icing; cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans), and line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray. Dust with flour; set aside.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and baking soda; stir well. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in pecans and extracts.

Beat egg whites at high speed of a mixer until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Fold egg whites into batter; pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 23 minutes. Let cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen cake layers from sides of pans using a narrow metal spatula; turn out onto wire racks. Peel off wax paper; let cool completely.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread with 2/3 cup Cream Cheese Icing; top with another cake layer. Repeat with 2/3 cup icing and remaining layer, ending with cake layer. Spread remaining icing over sides and top of cake. Garnish with lemon rind, if desired.

Yield: 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice).

Cream Cheese Icing:
1 tablespoon light butter, chilled
1 (8-ounce) package Neufchatel cheese, chilled
1 (1-pound) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter and cheese at high speed of a mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and vanilla; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat, or icing will become runny). Cover and chill.

Yield: 2-2/3 cups.

NOTES : In its original form, Italian Cream Cake is infamous for its calories and cholesterol. Our version changed that image but kept the rich taste. In fact, at the time the recipe ran in our November/December 1995 issue, we hailed it as our best cake ever. We replaced the traditional five eggs with two egg yolks and six egg whites, and used 1/2 cup light butter instead of 1 cup butter and shortening. Best of all, this elegant concoction couldn't be simpler to make.

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