I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there: This is the best cake in all of the whole entire world and possibly the universe and whatever else there is out there that we have not yet discovered and which may actually take over our planet, mine it for resources and leave us devastated and begging for Will Smith to pull out a cigar and babble something about fat ladies singing.
Every single time I make this cake, people go nuts for it. It was my sister Tina’s favorite cake growing up and Mama would make it for her birthday. My childhood palate preferred the simplicity of buttered noodles and angel food cake, but my grown up palate has come to understand and appreciate the beauty and richness that is this wonderful cake.
The recipe comes from my family’s favorite cookbook, Cookery N’Orleans Style by Chiqui Pumilia Collier. My own copy is stained, tattered, torn and just one of my most treasured possessions. I encourage you to try to grab a copy if you can : )
I’ve made just a couple tweaks to the original recipe (that’s the beautiful thing about cooking) but I’m posting a picture of the recipe from the book below so you can try it either way … or both!
Have all ingredients at room temperature. I cannot stress the importance of this enough.
- 3 extra large eggs, separated
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco (I know, I know … just do it.)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup super finely chopped toasted pecans (seriously … toast them.)
- A handful of flaked coconut
I do all of this in my Kitchenaid stand mixer. If you don’t have one, get ready to do a lot of electric hand mixing : )
Generously grease and flour three 9″ cake pans.
With the whisk attachment on your mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Slowly add one cup of sugar and beat to the consistence of meringue (stiff but not dry.) Set aside.
Cream butter, Crisco, remaining sugar, salt and vanilla. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until it reaches the consistency of whipped cream. (This is for realz, people. Don’t stop when you think it is well mixed. This stuff needs to pretty much almost float out of the bowl.)
Stir the baking soda into the buttermilk. Beginning and ending with the flour, add the flour and the buttermilk mixture alternately into the butter mixture. When it is well-combined, fold the egg whites in by hand. Be gentle, people! Once the egg whites are in there, gently fold in the pecans and the coconut. Scatter well and then gently stir, just a couple times.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake at 325° for approximately 40 minutes … super important that you do not overbake this cake. Check it at about 35 minutes. It’s done when the sides begin to pull a little away from the pan. You can also do the toothpick test. Cool, remove the pans, and frost with Italian Cream Frosting (recipe continues below.)
Italian Cream Frosting ingredients:
- 1 cup butter
- 2 pkgs (12 ounce) cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Up to 1 pound sifted powdered sugar (I always use a little less … just tasting it as I go until I like the level of sweetness.)
- 1/2 cup super finely chopped roasted pecans. (Spray them with a little cooking spray, roast them, salt them just a little bit and then chop them almost to a mince.)
- 1 tablespoon milk
Beat all ingredients except the pecans to the consistency of whipped cream. When you frost the cake, sprinkle some of the pecans on top and then toss them against the sides of the cake all the way around.
And, as promised, the original recipe from my copy of Cookery N’Orleans Style. Sorry about the stains, arrows, post it flags, check marks, and general used quality of the page. It’s seen many a perusal : )