Italian Cream Cake Recipe

4.85 from 20 votes

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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?

italian cream cake in the background with slices of cake on plates in the forefront.

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.

decorated italian cream cake

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:

italian cream cake ingredients

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.

Bake

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.

slice of italian cream cake on a plate with a fork

FAQ’s + Baking Tips for Italian Cream Cake

Does Italian Cream Cake need to be refrigerated?

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).

Do I really need both oil and butter in this recipe?

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!

What does baking this cake at a lower temperature do for the cake?

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.

Can I use 3 cake pans instead of 2?

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:

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 slice
PrintPrint Pin ItPin It
4.85 from 20 votes

Italian Cream Cake

Get ready to live because this Italian Cream Cake is about to blow your minds. A light vanilla based cake, laced with toasted pecans and coconut only to be slathered in decadent cream cheese frosting.
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the Italian Cream Cake

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions

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.
    italian cream cake dry ingredients in a bowl
  • In a liquid measuring cup, stir buttermilk and vanilla extract together. Set aside.
    buttermilk in a glass measuring cup with whisk
  • 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.
    adding egg to the creamed butter and sugar
  • 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.
    adding buttermilk to cake batter
  • 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.
    italian cream cake batter divided into two cake pans
  • 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.
    cream cheese frosting in a bowl of stand mixer

Cake Assembly:

  • Using a serrated bread knife, slice each cooled cake in half lengthwise to get four thin cakes.
    cutting round cake in half lengthwise
  • 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.
    all 4 layers of cake staked with frosting between layers
  • Decorate with more coconut and pecans as desired and serve.
    decorated italian cream cake

Video

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 1057.7kcal | Carbohydrates: 140.01g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 53.51g | Saturated Fat: 32.91g | Cholesterol: 158.25mg | Sodium: 582.82mg | Potassium: 206.43mg | Fiber: 1.62g | Sugar: 113.47g | Vitamin A: 1337.28IU | Calcium: 98.67mg | Iron: 2.16mg
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: italian cake, italian cream cake, italian cream cake recipe
4.85 from 20 votes (3 ratings without comment)

Share a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




54 Responses
  1. Sandy Robicheau

    I just made it today….I didn’t put Peacans in …just waiting for it to cool now and cut the cake in tiers….Can’t wait to taste it…thank you for the recipe

  2. Kelly

    Hi!!! About to make this today and I just noticed that I grabbed the lowfat buttermilk? Should I go to another store to get full fat buttermilk?

  3. Kim

    5 stars
    Such a wonderful cake. I made it as cupcakes for a family gathering. It makes three dozen standard size cupcakes and I cut the cream cheese frosting in half. Everyone raved. Thank you for the recipe!

  4. Dawn Williams

    5 stars
    I have tried all of your cake recipes so far, all great by the way :). I wonder though can this be done in a bundt pan? I need to transport it by train to work and i’m afraid the layers would fall.

  5. Sheila

    I want to make this cake, BUT there is an AD at the very top of ingredient list that will not close. What is the very 1st ingredient listed prior to flour? TY!

  6. Alyssa

    4 stars
    I made this cake for a church thing tonight and it was a hit! I probably beat the butter/sugar mixture for a good 5 minutes before adding the eggs and beating again until light and fluffy. I ended up using a cream cheese frosting that essentially blends sweetened whipped cream plus some cream of tartar to stiff peaks with cream cheese to make a stable frosting instead of the one in the recipe. It uses 2 cups vs. 2 pounds of powdered sugar. The overall outcome was a tender, airy cake that wasn’t too sweet. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Lauren

      No, you don’t separate them and beat to stiff peaks. In step 4, it says to beat the eggs and egg whites into the mixture until its light and fluffy.

  7. Kacee

    5 stars
    Would rate higher than 5 stars if I could! I made cupcakes and they came out the most perfect texture and the frosting is thick and amazing. It’s nice to have a cake where you can’t quite tell what the flavor is unless you baked it. A welcome change from vanilla or chocolate. This is definitely now my go-to dessert and will recommend your recipes to everyone. Thanks! This is the best cake I have ever tasted.

  8. gina Coscarelli

    Hello, just wanted to clarify, or more accurately disclaim your “wrongo” in reference to the origin of Italian cream cake. Although it surely made its way to the south, just as the best southern recipes have made their way across time and nations, the root of this cake is actually renaissance Italy. Many, many years later, it made an overwhelming welcome in Canada prior to continuing its trek south, where Texans laid claim to its origin. It migrated southeast, where the south, in its love for all thing rich and comforting claimed its roots as its own. However, being Italian and cooking so my entire life, a truly spectacular dish can only begin with an understanding of its origin an of the culture surrounding the region of its roots. Given the number of years between Renaissance Italy and this cakes migration south, it stands to reason that the origin would have been unknown and the south claimed this treasure as its own. However, I would be denying my heritage and my cultural cuisine by not bringing it back home where it belongs.
    Buon Natale

  9. Marcela Villegas

    I’ve always wanted to try an Italian Cream cake and this one looks amazing! I’ve made several of your recipes, including ñ some of one of you books ( pizza dough, Blake’s scones) and Inlove them! Thank you for sharing them with us!

  10. Jinny Beard

    This recipe I must try! All of your dessert recipes have been amazing and I have not been disappointed by a single one! Whenever I want a dessert recipe , go to Lauren’s latest!

    1. Lynne

      5 stars
      This recipe is a definite keeper! My mom bakes a lot, and Italian Cream cake is one of her specialties so I was nervous making it for her – she said this was the best Italian Cream cake she’s ever had!

  11. Sarai montes

    5 stars
    I was looking for a new cake recipe to try out.. this will definitely be my next one. Thanks lauren for the great recipes 😊

  12. Felicia D.

    I’m not a big cake person but Italian Cream Cake is the exception & my favorite! This looks so good, and easy! Can’t wait to try it 🙂

  13. Cindi

    Awe man.! As a type 2 diabetic…140 grams of carbs and 113 grams of sugar per serving is death on a plate for me! It sure does look good, though!

  14. Pam S

    A trick I learned for taking my Italian Creme Cake to the next level is to use frozen shredded coconut in the batter. It is very moist and tends to melt into the batter so that you get the flavor but not the texture of the coconut, which many people object to. Frozen coconut can be hard to find, but when you do, stock up. It really makes this cake even more delicious!

  15. Dawn Williams

    5 stars
    Another great cake recipe 🙂 . I have made almost everyone of your baked goodies and my family (myself inluded) absolutely love them.

  16. Jody Simpson

    Would you please consider posting high altitude modifications for those of us who live in the mile high city or other high altitude locations? Thanks. Love you recipes.

    1. Angela

      I lived in CO for 22 years. Use High Altitude flour in orange bag at Safeway, King Soopers, sometimes at Walmart. High Altitude is the name of the flour.

  17. Erin

    This looks awesome and my mom totally wants me to make this for her for her birthday. Coconut question – do I use the sweetened shredded coconut from the baking aisle? Or is there a non-sweetened version I should use? Thanks!

“logos”