Most women I know rate chocolate desserts and cheesecake at the top of the list for things that satisfy their sweet tooth. I have never been one of those women. For me fruit desserts and light white cakes are the best. So, the few times I’ve been to a Cheesecake Factory I was one of the oddballs that chose the Italian Cream Cake rather than one of the cheesecakes for which they’re famous.
I set out to find a copycat recipe online, but it was harder than I thought. I found a number of recipes that didn’t quite succeed in capturing the restaurant version. Then, I stumbled on a comment by ‘Anonymous’ on a this blog post that shared a recipe that hit the spot! Thank you, Anonymous – whoever your are!
This recipe creates a light white cake with a lovely not-too-sweet lemony filling. The frosting is also light and not overly sweet. The crumb topping is probably my favorite part, a bit messy during application – but, that’s part of the fun right?
Have you found any copycat recipes for your favorite foods?
Italian Lemon Creme Cake
I generally create a from-scratch white cake mix since I found out how many boxed mixes contain trans fats, which I prefer to avoid, but you can use a boxed white cake if you like.
FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 egg whites
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
FOR THE LEMON CREAM FILLING:
- 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 c. heavy whipping cream
FOR THE VANILLA CRUMB TOPPING:
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/4 c. cold butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans.
In a large bowl mix together the first four ingredients for the cake (flour through sugar). Stir milk and oil into the dry ingredients. In a chilled metal bowl whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold whipped egg whites and lemon zest in with the other ingredients. Pour the batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until set. Allow cake to cool completely when it comes out of the oven.
Make filling by mixing cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in lemon juice.
Whip cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until it forms stiff peaks. Combine cream cheese mixture with whipped cream. Stir by hand until blended.
Make crumb topping by combining flour and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter and vanilla extract. Use your hands or a pastry blender to cut cold butter into the flour and sugar. Break butter into smaller and smaller pieces as you incorporate it into the dry ingredients you have a crumbly, pea sized mixture. Chill crumb topping until ready to use.
When the cake is completely cool, spread all but 1/2 cup of the lemon cream mixture onto the bottom half of the cake, then carefully replace the top half of the cake.
Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of cream filling over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of the cake and press it onto the sides all the way around the cake. This will get very messy!
Chill the cake for at least 3 hours before serving. Slice the cake and dust each slice with powdered sugar.