An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

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A First Birthday Party- and Italian Cream Cake

By on Jun 21, 2011, 11:30 am in Family Celebrations, Personal Reflection, Recipes-Sweet | 15 comments

Italian Cream Cake

1/2 cup butter   

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups sugar 

5 eggs, separated (I add a couple of extra yolks for a richer cake, if I have them on hand)

1 cup buttermilk 

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 teaspooon vanilla

3 1/2 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

1 cup pecans

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and line with parchment 3- 9 inch cake pans.

Whisk together flour and baking soda and set aside.

Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Then add the egg yolks one at a time.

Add the flour/soda mixture in three alternate with the buttermilk beginning and ending with the flour.

Scrape the batter into a large mixing bowl. Clean the mixing bowl of the stand mixture very well, then beat the egg whites with the salt until they form fairly sitff peaks , but not until they are dry (ignore that advice about being able to turn the bowl over with out the egg whites moving).

Fold the egg whites in three additions, into the cake batter using a large whisk for the first two additions, and a spatula for the last to get it completely combined.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until the center fo the cakes spring back lightly when touched, and/or a toothpickinserted comes out clean. Ice with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

I was so happy to acquire this recipe when I was in culinary school, as I often had problems with cream cheese frostings being too soft and melty before that. The solution is to use a pouring fondant instead of powdered sugar. Pouring fondant utilizes an invert sugar, which makes for a much more stable frosting. It is available by mail order from Albert Uster Imports.

8 ounces butter, at room temperature 

1 pound  pouring fondant  

3 pounds cream cheese at room temperature       

 Cream together the butter and fondant until fluffy. Add the cream cheese, blending in slowly. Beat only until smooth.

Dad's Birthday Cake





  1. Wonderful story and thoughtful for posting a recipe that I’m sure will hold a special meaning to you for a long time. If I ever get the oven fixed here at home, I’m going to give a go at making one of these.

    Avatar Rob

    June 21, 2011

  2. Wonderful story about your dad! Great recipe!

    Avatar Dorothy

    June 21, 2011

  3. Mmmmmmm! Had one a couple of yrs ago–disappointing. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

    Avatar Hilary

    June 21, 2011

  4. Beautiful post, your father’s story and a terrific recipe.

    Avatar LiztheChef

    June 21, 2011

  5. This is wonderful, Gisele, I love the writing and the story, your passions and loves are nicely woven together here. A bittersweet story with great pictures of your handsome parents.

    Avatar Susan

    June 21, 2011

  6. I ditto Rob’s comments, and i love the big grin on dad’s face when he is looking at the cake…very cool…also, given the joy he had, it’s a shame he never had the opportunity to have more b-day parties in his life.

    Avatar Lisa

    June 22, 2011

  7. This is one of your best posts. Brought tears to my eyes. Now I need that cake to console me!

    Avatar Lentil Breakdown

    June 22, 2011

  8. Thanks for sharing.. Nice to see the pics also of Uncle Al. Daddy D (your Uncle Paul) always called him Painless Perez.

    Avatar Patrice

    June 23, 2011

  9. LOVED IT and LOVE the pict! They both look so happy.

    Avatar Ayana

    June 23, 2011

  10. What a wonderful memory to have and how special it must have been for your Dad. I can’t wait to try the recipe.

    Avatar Gerarda (Marine) Sarpy

    June 25, 2011

  11. What a moving post. It’s wonderful that he decided to have the party and leave all of his friends with fantastic memories of that day.

    Now about this cake.

    I had an Italian Cream Cake when I lived in Knoxville and I have yet to replicate it in my own kitchen. Your recipe just might do it. It looks delicious. It’s on my bucket list !

    Avatar Maureen

    June 26, 2011

  12. Very nice, Gisele! Love the smiles!

    I love your writing, Gisele. Got a little teary-eyed. Glad your dad got to have this b-day party. Such great memories I am sure.

    Avatar Denise

    June 30, 2011

  13. What a beautiful tribute, Gisele! You look like your Dad. We’re both blessed to have had such wonderful fathers.

    Avatar Ronnie

    August 7, 2011

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