Orange Italian Cream Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Fresh Orange Curd (recipe below)
3 cups Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (optional)
Glazed Pecan Halves (optional)

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until blended.
Combine flour and soda; add to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in 1 cup flaked coconut.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Fresh Orange Curd
Yield: Makes about 3 cups

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups fresh orange juice (about 4 pounds navel oranges)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon grated orange rind

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan; gradually whisk in fresh orange juice. Whisk in lightly beaten eggs. Bring to a boil (5 to 6 minutes) over medium heat, whisking constantly.
Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter and grated orange rind. Cover, placing plastic wrap directly on curd, and chill 8 hours.
Spread 3/4 cup chilled Fresh Orange Curd between layers; spread remaining Fresh Orange Curd on top of cake. (The Fresh Orange Curd layer on top of cake will be very thick.) If desired, loosely cover cake, and chill 8 hours. (Cake may be frosted with Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting immediately after adding the Fresh Orange Curd, but the cake layers will not be as steady. Chilling the cake with the curd between the layers helps keep the layers in place and makes it much easier to spread the frosting.) Spread 3 cups Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting on sides of cake, reserving remaining frosting for another use. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted coconut over top of cake, if desired. Arrange Glazed Pecan Halves around top edge of cake, if desired. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Arrange Boxwood Garland around bottom edge of cake before serving, if desired.


Pecan-Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: Makes about 4 cups

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed until smooth; stir in pecans.

source: Sugar and Spice by Celeste

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