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This Italian Cream Cake Recipe is about to blow your mind. A light vanilla based layer cake, similar to my vanilla cake is laced with toasted pecans and coconut, only to be slathered in decadent cream cheese frosting. It’s a glorious dessert, any way you slice it. 😉 See what I did there?
First of All, What is Italian Cream Cake?
Surely it’s a cake from Italy, given the name and all. WRONG-O! This cake actually is derived from the south and there is nothing Italian about it. After some research, some think the origin of Italian Cream Cake is Texas, whereas others think it comes from Georgia. Regardless, ‘Italian Cream Cake‘ (or sometimes also called Italian Cream Cheese Cake) is only a name and at the end of the day, you won’t care because of how delicious it is.
How to Make a Homemade Italian Cream Cake
Just like making any other kind of homemade cake, the steps don’t really vary all that much! The hardest part is waiting for the cakes to cool so you can assemble this beauty. Of course the detailed recipe card with ingredients and measurements are found at the bottom of this post. Here is step by step what you can expect when making this recipe:
Preheat Oven + Prepare Cake Pans
Preheat oven. Line two round baking pans with parchment paper and nonstick cooking spray. Set your prepared pans aside.
We will end up cutting each cake in half to get four cake layers. If you’d like to NOT do that, use three cake pans for three taller layers.
Make Cake Batter
Pro Tip: Start with room temperature ingredients!
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) together. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, stir buttermilk and vanilla extract together. Alternatively, you can use half vanilla/half almond extract. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, stir butter, oil and sugar together until combined. Add in the eggs and egg whites and beat until very light and fluffy.
Alternate adding in the dry ingredients with the buttermilk to the egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the chopped pecans and shredded coconut.
Divide batter evenly between two round cake pans and bake. Be sure to place the pans in the lower two thirds of the oven. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean or mostly clean with a few moist crumbs.
Cool in cake pans for 15-20 mins before inverting and moving to wire racks. Allow cakes to cool completely before cutting and decorating.
Make Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
Place all frosting ingredients into a large bowl. Stir with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) until completely combined, thick and smooth. Scrape the sides and stir again briefly to ensure a smooth frosting. Use as desired.
Assembling Your Cake
Using a serrated bread knife, slice each cooled cake in half lengthwise to get four thin cakes. Place one cake onto a cake plate or serving platter. Spread about 3/4 cup of frosting onto the center of the cake evenly (doesn’t have to be exact) being sure to push frosting right to the edges of the cake. Top with another slice of cake. Continue frosting and filling the cake until all four slices of cake are stacked on one another with frosting in between each. With remaining frosting, frost the top and sides of the cake.
Decorate with more coconut and pecans as desired and serve.
Decorating Your Cake
Decorations can vary, depending on preference and what kind of decorating tools you have. I used a small offset spatula for the entire cake! Simple, but effective and very inviting. I love the crunch of a pecan, so I coated the outside with nuts, and sprinkled some toasted coconut flakes on top. Even if you leave your Italian Cream Cake generally plain you can still have a beautiful finished product. Cut into individual slices and enjoy!
Storing + Make Ahead Directions
If you have leftover cake and want to store the remaining, press plastic wrap directly on the cut portions of cake, while loosely wrapping the top and edges. Store leftover cake in the fridge.
To Freeze: wrap cake well in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months!
Make Ahead: If you’re going to be making this cake and eating it within 2-3 hours, it is absolutely fine to leave out of the counter. If you plan to store this for a few days, then definitely refrigerate. Cover entire cake gently with plastic wrap (toothpicks sticking out of the cake will help the plastic wrap not stick) or store in an airtight container.
FAQ’s + Baking Tips for Italian Cream Cake
If you’re going to be making this cake and eating it within 2-3 hours, it is absolutely fine to leave out of the counter. If you plan on keeping this for a few days, then definitely refrigerate to ensure a moist cake. Cover entire cake gently with plastic wrap (toothpicks sticking out of the cake will help the plastic wrap not stick).
Yes! I purposely use a combination of unsalted butter and oil to ensure this cake stays moist. Butter adds flavor and the oil adds that extra insurance. Buttermilk, another listed ingredient, also does the same thing!
Baking cakes at a lower oven temperature for longer period time will also retain a lot of that moisture. Just be sure to watch it and test it as you go so you don’t over bake! Once your cakes come out of the oven, let them cool completely, but don’t let them sit out ALL DAY. The edges can get crusty and stale tasting if left out past 12 hours. If you’d like to make this cake in advance, great! Simply wrap the cooled cakes in plastic wrap and leave out on the counter or refrigerate, whatever your preference is.
Yes, you can. If you don’t want to slice each baked cake into two to create four cake layers, feel free to divide the cake batter between three cake pans for just three layers. They will bake quicker in the oven and you won’t have to slice any cakes, making for easier assembly.
Love Italian Cream Cake? Try These Other Cake Recipes:
- Amazing Vanilla Cake Recipe
- Perfect Chocolate Cake
- Black Forest Cake
- The Best Cheesecake Recipe
- Perfect Carrot Cake
- Favorite Coconut Cake
There you have it! I hope you love this cake as much as I do and plan to make it for your next special occasion. Be sure to print, save or bookmark this recipe and if you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star review! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.
Italian Cream Cake
For the Italian Cream Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or half vanilla/half almond extract.
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted, softened
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 whole egg whites
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans toasted
- 1 cup shredded coconut
For the cake:
- Line the bottom of two 8 or 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Spray well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together to combine. Set aside.
- In a liquid measuring cup, stir buttermilk and vanilla extract together. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, mix butter, oil, and sugar together until combined. Mix in eggs and egg whites, one at a time, until the mixture becomes very light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again briefly.
- Alternate adding in flour mixture with buttermilk mixture, being sure to start and end with flour. Scrape the sides and mix again to ensure a smooth batter. Fold pecans and coconut in by hand.
- Divide evenly between baking pans and smooth the top. Bake 30-40 minutes in the lower two thirds of the oven. The cake will be done when a toothpick comes out clean or mostly clean with a few moist crumbs.
- Cool 15-20 minutes in cake pans before trying to invert on cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting and decorating.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Stir with an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer) until completely combined, thick and smooth. Scrape the sides and stir again briefly to ensure a smooth frosting. Use as desired.
- Using a serrated bread knife, slice each cooled cake in half lengthwise to get four thin cakes.
- Place one cake onto a cake plate or serving platter. Spread about 3/4 cup of frosting onto the cake evenly (doesn't have to be exact) being sure to push frosting right to the edges of the cake. Top with another slice of cake. Continue frosting and filling the cake until all four slices of cake are stacked on one another with frosting in between each. With remaining frosting, frost cake exterior.
- Decorate with more coconut and pecans as desired and serve.