Italian Chocolate, Pecan & Coconut Cake (sugar free recipe also)

Submitted by: A Taste of Italy! Home Style Recipes, by Mary Urrico

Difficulty: Easy - for beginners

Ingredients

Ingredients:
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar or you can use Spenda or Truvia
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar or Splenda/Truvia
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Method

Directions for Frosting:
Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
Combine powdered sugar and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in pecans.

Cake Directions:
Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form; set aside.
Beat butter and shortening until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut, chopped pecans, and vanilla. Fold in egg whites. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 325° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cake layers to wire racks, and cool completely.
Spread Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with pecan halves, if desired.

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