In the days leading up to Stephen’s birthday, I asked him over and over again what he wanted (thank the Lord for Amazon Prime!). His typical quick answer is “nothing” but that’s extremely boring so I got his gears turning by asking him what he wanted for his birthday dinner. His eyes immediately lit up and he started to think hard. Eventually he told me he wanted a BBQ dinner, preferably ribs, with a corn salad, and sweet potatoes. Okay… Easy enough. For dessert he wanted a cake like our wedding cake, specifically the flavor he chose which was almond cake with chocolate and vanilla buttercream. He didn’t want just any buttercream though, he wanted Italian buttercream. I asked him why Italian? There are so many options like Swiss… French… American… He said he didn’t know but that it just sounded good. The man is so simple and never asks for much other than a yummy meal so I figured you know what, even if I have never made it before in my life and it’s the most difficult of them all to make, if he wants a cake with Italian buttercream, I’ll figure out how to make him a dang good cake with Italian buttercream.
Come to find out, it was the best cake I’ve ever made in my life… So far.
I’m not going to pretend like I came up with any of these recipes. Ya gurl ain’t got time for that. Also, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as amazing as this one. I did a quick Pinterest search and decided on this one among the hundreds. It didn’t seem difficult and it contained ingredients that I was trying to get rid of like a box of cake mix, which basically substitutes for the cake flour plus a few other things that a lot of the recipes called for. I don’t keep that on hand around here so this one was the best option. After making this one and eating at least half of this cake, I don’t think I’ll ever try a different almond cake recipe. By the way, it’s still amazing a week later. Don’t judge…
The Italian Buttercream
I did NOT use the buttercream recipe included in that cake post because it wasn’t Italian style as Stephen requested. Instead, I searched on YouTube and found THIS video. From what I read, Italian buttercream is one of the more difficult buttercreams to make. It certainly wasn’t as easy as throwing everything into the mixer like with an American buttercream. I followed the video step by step though and it turned out perfectly! John from Preppy Kitchen is a really great teacher.
I had no clue what to expect. I know I’ve tasted this buttercream many times in my life but I never knew at the time that it was Italian buttercream. I still have to try my hand at the other types of buttercreams (other than American) but I am tempted to only make this one from now on. It’s that good. We both especially love it because it’s not too sweet and the consistency is so light and fluffy.
The great thing about this recipe is that it serves as a great base for any color or flavor buttercream you wish to create. Once I followed the video tutorial, I added a splash of vanilla extract to create the vanilla buttercream that I used to coat the outside of the cake. Then I removed about two cups from the big batch and melted down some dark chocolate in a double boiler and let it cool completely before folding it into the small batch of the vanilla buttercream. This is what I used for the inside of the cake.
I also sprinkled some Heath Bar pieces on the inside of the cake with the chocolate buttercream to add a little crunch! That is totally optional though. I just happened to have them in the freezer and figured it would be yummy which it was. 😉 Also, rainbow sprinkles! You can never go wrong with those.
I am going to warn you all… This cake took me a significant amount of time to make. Maybe 3 hours? I also was making ribs, corn salad, etc. at the same time though. I didn’t get around to the sweet potatoes and I didn’t have any candles for him to blow out but he was smitten with everything we had!
I wish I had gotten more pictures. We were so excited that it didn’t even cross my mind! I know quite a few of you are itching to make this recipe for yourselves. Let me know how it goes! I hope it brings you just as much joy as it did for Stephen (and me)!