Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Italian Creme Cake for a Not So Italian Birthday Feast

Two weekends ago, my brother, Justin, came down from Fort Worth to spend some time with his family. Since he came down  early afternoon on a Saturday (which happened to be the bake sale day) and left in the evening of the next day, we didn’t have a lot of time to do much of anything!

My dad, however, pulled out the big guns and worked up a brisket for dinner on Sunday night which we named the night we were going to celebrate his birthday since his birthday was only a couple of days later.
This brisket was cooked low and slow (is there any other way of cooking it?) and was actually nice and lean!

Also, the Stubbs sauce is a must. We have a couple other bottles of BBQ sauce in the fridge that just do NOT compare. Plus, they’re just so sweet you can barely taste anything else. Who needs 12 grams of sugar in a 2 tablespoon serving (*cough*Bulls-Eye BBQ sauce *cough*)? FYI, that’s one whole tablespoon of sugar in just one TWO tablespoon serving. Stubbs, on the other hand, has 3 grams of sugar and has a perfectly balanced flavor that enhances anything you put it on.
Note: pictured is the spicy version; we usually get the original version and I think the consensus was that the original tastes better because this one was a little too spicy (unless you like your BBQ sauces that way).

The first couple of slices were a little chubby (the normal brisket chub) but after those couple slices the rest was very lean yet succulent and tender...way to go dad! (and thank you, cow, for being lean) :D
The chubbier slices.
On the side, we had steamed green beans (love!) and a potato salad made by yours truly.
And messed up by yours truly as well! I was multitasking (making the birthday cake!) when I was boiling the potatoes, so they ended up a tad bit more cooked than I would have liked, but they held up their shape enough to be passable.

It was actually super simple to make, all I did was add a couple huge glugs of light italian dressing (Newman's Own, to be exact) and some freshly ground pepper and it was perfect! The Italian dressing added all the flavors it needed and the moisture to keep it from going dry. Chilling the potato salad for a couple hours would be best, but I was pressed for time (read: dinner in 30 minutes) so I threw it in the freezer. A little luke-warm in spots, but still very very good!

Deeeeelish dinner, and it didn't stop there!
Every birthday dinner has to end with a cake, and this one was no different. 
Since I always do chocolate cake or chocolate frosting, I decided to mix it up and do something a little different. I went with this lightened up Italian Creme Cake recipe I found that I have been wanting to make for months!

Since we had so many bake sale goodies laying around, I decided to make only half of a cake. Besides halving all the ingredients, I also added 1/4 teaspoon of salt and omitted the butter extract since I didn't have any. As for the "light butter" ingredient, I went with Brummel & Brown (of course).
I frosted the cake with softened low fat cream cheese (maybe 5 ounces?) that I beat with some powdered sugar, vanilla, and about 1/3 cup of some leftover frosting from the bake sale cupcakes. Since the leftover frosting was pretty light and fluffy in texture, it allowed the cream cheese frosting to not end up as dense.
My brother was pretty excited..
He turned 26! What an oldie...
Here's the fam (minus brother #2 who had prior obligations) posing with the mini cake.
Me, Devon, my mom, Justin, and my dad. Awh. So cute...
The whole process of the cake was a little more time consuming than some other cake recipes because it required you to whip the egg whites up separately and then fold them into the finished batter. Though a bit tedious, it really adds to the final product and worth the effort!
I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out, but it was a HIT! Even though it's lacking real coconut in the batter (part of "lightening up" the recipe) I did not miss it one bit! This had a crazy amount of flavor and everyone could not stop "mmm"ing. The frosting complimented the cake perfectly and I was repeatedly told how good this cake was even days after. 
I've made quite a few cakes in my day (okay, so not that many compared to a lot of other people..) and I could tell that this one was definitely a winner with the family (and me!)

Really, you need to try this recipe. Really

It tastes in no way like a "healthier" or "lighter" cake. This is no white cake with a couple pecans mixed in...this cakes got FLAVOR! I did think it was weird that the recipe called for no salt, so I did add 1/4 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon for the whole recipe) and I would definitely recommend doing this. Do not overestimate the power of salt, people!

Anyway, the meal was great, and my brother is now rolling in the 2-6's! Happy belated birthday, Bieber. (:

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