Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday USA

 And Happy Birthday to all my July friends too! In keeping with my promise on the birthday cake poll, the clear winner was Italian Cream with Cream Cheese Frosting, so that's what I made.
As far as weekends go, it was excellent. Between seeing friends, going to parties, staying cool, making (and eating) all sorts of delicious treats, and going to not 1 but 2 amazing baseball games it was just an excellent weekend. So before the recipe, I'll give you a nice little slideshow of all the fun.

 Phillies v. Red Sox game with Philly birthday girl Steph
Amazing seats, perfect to watch Jayson Werth from, at the Nationals v. Pirates game with the D.C. birthday girl 
And with no further ado... the recipe.

Italian Cream Cake
1/2 c. shortening, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
5 eggs, separated and at room temperature
2 c. cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. buttermilk, at room temperature
2 c. shredded coconut
1 c. finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and salt together in a separate bowl. Combine the baking soda with the buttermilk and and whisk until frothy. With the mixer on low speed, add the sifted ingredients in batches alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, and gently fold into the prepared batter. Add the coconut, pecans and vanilla and fold into the batter. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of each cake. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. When the cakes are completely cool, stack the layers with the  frosting and frost the sides and top.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe available here.

Once again I just want to take a moment to reflect on how thankful and blessed I am. For my sister for always being there, for helping to take the edge off the east coast and for being a best friend and super supporter so far from home. For my best friend Brenda, who bonded with me over Empire Records and silly sorority events all those years ago. Who I can go months with out seeing and when we do, it's like no time has passed (and I'm still not giving up on the Dallas dream). For Stephanie, a friend who always knows how to make me smile and get me having fun, especially when I absolutely need it, but who is such a genuine and lovely person no one can help but want to be her friend. A friend that gives a whole new gleam to my love-hate-love of Philly. And Robin, my fellow homesick Texan friend, without whom I would be lost in NYC this past year. Thanks for your bravery, for being there to wipe away my tears and make sure I was eating. I absolutely wouldn't be where I am now without you in my life. And Cathy, thanks for all your support, for being such a role model for what we both went through in another life. Congrats on your beautiful little girl and yes... I will be in Portland before the year is out! Happy Birthday friends!

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