Saturday, March 12, 2011

Baking is exhausting when it takes all morning.

Roy's birthday will be on Tuesday, March 15th, and he will be turning 39 years old. I wanted to make him a special cake for his birthday; something without chocolate, as he is not too fond of it...terrible, I know. I remembered that he enjoyed the Italian Lemon Cream Cake we sometimes had from Olive Garden. The nearest Olive Garden to us is in Grand Junction, Colorado; and as much as I love Roy, I'm not driving 3 hours there, and then 3 hours back, just for a cake.

Dilemma solved! Make one, but easier said than done. Finding a number of copycat recipes on the internet, I needed to try them out and see which would come the closest. After a few trials, the closest I found was on, but it still needed a little tweaking. A little more of this, a little less of that, and I got my own copycat recipe!

...and here it is. So, if you're not a real fan of chocolate cake, like crumb cake and lemon flavor, you'll enjoy making this cake too.

Italian Lemon Cream Cake

The Cake
1 (18 1/4 oz) package French Vanilla cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup oil
4 egg whites

Lemon Cream Filling
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon extract
3/4 cup whipped cream (homemade or canned; do not use a tub brand like Cool Whip)

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
5 Tbsp cold butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

powdered sugar

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 10” spring form pan with nonstick baking spray; line bottom of pan with baking parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, water, oil and egg whites until smooth. Pour batter into pan; bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool for 10 minutes before removing spring form. Let cake completely cool before cutting into two layers.

Make the Filling: In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon extract till smooth; fold in the whipped cream; set aside.

Make the Crumb Topping: In a medium bowl, cut the butter into the flour, powdered sugar and vanilla until little crumbs, about pea size, form. Refrigerate until ready to be put onto the cake.

Assemble the Cake: Flip top layer of cake onto flat dish; repeat with 2nd layer and remove spring form bottom and parchment paper. Flip 2nd layer back onto another dish, so cut part is facing up. Frost 2nd layer with half of the lemon cream filling. Flip the top layer onto the 2nd (cut sides together); frost top and sides of cake with remaining half of filling. Press the crumb topping onto sides of cake and evenly over top.

Refrigerate cake for 3 hours before serving. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cake for garnish.

Makes 10 servings.

Mary Cokenour
March 12, 2011