Italian Cream Cake

(makes 10  personal-sized cakes)

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Place coconut in an even layer on a cookie sheet. Place into a preheated 325 degree oven and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove and mix well for even cooking. Outside edges cook faster. Place back into oven for an additional 8 minutes or until golden.

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Place walnuts on a cookie sheet and put into a 325 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or so. Bake until fragrant and toasted.

1 ½ C flour

½ t salt

¾ t baking soda

½ t nutmeg

¾ C coconut, toasted plus extra for garnish

½ C dried apricots, diced small

2/3 C walnuts, toasted

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1 ½ sticks butter, soft

1 ½ C sugar

Zest of half an orange

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3 eggs

1 t vanilla

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¾ C sour cream

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, sugar and orange zest. Beat with the paddle attachment until light texture and well combined. Place flour, salt, soda and nutmeg in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Add apricots, walnuts and coconut to the flour mix making sure that the apricots are not clumping together.

Combine eggs and vanilla in a pourable container. Pour eggs, one at a time, into the butter mix with the paddle attachment on medium high-speed. Make sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next. Turn mixer on lowest speed and spoon flour mix and sour cream alternately into the butter mix beginning and ending with the flour mix. Finish incorporating by hand. Let batter rest for 15 minutes or so before portioning into cooking molds.

At this point, it’s up to you whether you make personal-sized cakes or one large. For personal-sized cakes, portion dough, using an ice cream scoop, into Pyrex ramekins that have been sprayed with non-stick baking spray. Place ramekins on a parchment lined cookie sheet and put into a 325 degree preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate cookie sheet and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes. The cakes will just be set to the touch. Place your finger tips on the top of each cake and slightly move it back and forth. The entire cake top should move as one. No soft spots. Remove from oven and place ramekins on a cooling rack. Once thoroughly cooled, slice each cake in half. Place a scoop of orange cream cheese icing on the base portion of the cake. Place the top portion on and press down slightly so that the icing is revealed on the sides. Place a scoop of icing on top and garnish cake with toasted coconut, an apricot slice and powdered sugar.

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