I love dessert. It's my favorite part of any meal. Except for the cocktails. And if the cocktail tastes like a scrumptious, sinful, decadent dessert, that's all the better. The Italian Cream Cake is a Southern specialty, one of those cakes little old ladies used to bring to church festivals and bridge parties. As it turns out it has nothing to do with Italy at all. No one really knows why it's called the Italian cream cake. At least, no one on the interwebs.
A big slice of Italian Cream Cake has toasted pecan, toasted coconut, and buttercream frosting. It's a flavor bomb of all the comforting baking tastes of a sweet Southern dessert. However, making the cake from scratch is quite a time commitment, and one I wasn't ready to make. Put it in cocktail form, however, and the only thing that takes time is toasting the pecans or coconut for the garnish.
For the cocktail, we've put together Bourbon Cream, Tuaca (vanilla flavors), Rivulet (syrupy pecan liqueur), Coconut Moonshine (although you could use any clear or creamy coconut liqueur) and optionally Allspice Dram (for a tiny bit of baking spices). For bitters to round out the cocktail, we've got a smidge of ginger and tiki spices.
Garnishing with toasted coconut is messy, but texture-wise, closer to an actual Italian Cream Cake. You can always opt to garnish with a single toasted pecan or a glass rimmed with powdered toasted coconut.
Italian Cream Cake
1.5 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon cream
3/4 oz Lucky's Coconut moonshine
3/4 oz Rivulet pecan liqueur
1/2 oz Tuaca
1/2 tsp Allspice dram (optional)
3 dashes Hella ginger bitters
10 drops Bitterman's tiki bitters
Chill a coupe or martini glass. In a mixing glass, combine all spirits and bitters. Add ice and stir for 30 seconds or until well chilled. If you're going to garnish with toasted coconut, rim the glass with a bit of simple syrup and dab the rim in the toasted coconut. Strain the cocktail into the chilled, rimmed glass and garnish with a toasted pecan.
Think about all the time you saved NOT baking an entire Italian Cream Cake and Enjoy.
Heather Wibbels is a cocktail enthusiast who spends her time thinking about cocktails, researching cocktails and making cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.