Italian Cream Cake

Welcome, dear friends and dessert enthusiasts, to the enchanting world of Italian Cream Cake, a confectionary masterpiece that beckons you with layers of pure indulgence. In this sweet symphony, tender and moist cake layers are lovingly embraced by a velvety, dreamy cream cheese frosting, creating a harmonious union of flavors and textures that’s nothing short of heavenly.

This classic dessert, with its roots deeply entwined in Italian-inspired baking, promises to take your taste buds on an epic journey. While it might not come with a plane ticket to Italy, each bite is a delightful figurative stroll through picturesque streets, where the aroma of freshly baked delights wafts through the air.

The cake itself, with its delicate crumb and hints of vanilla and coconut, is a testament to the artistry of baking. It’s a canvas upon which the frosting, a decadent blend of cream cheese, butter, and sweetness, paints a masterpiece of creamy richness. Together, they form a duet that’s nothing short of enchanting.

So, as you slice into this Italian Cream Cake, prepare to be transported to a world of pure delight. It’s more than just dessert; it’s an edible love letter to the Italian passion for food and flavor, a culinary experience that will linger on your taste buds and in your memories.

Choosing the Ingredients:

  • Butter: Opt for high-quality unsalted butter. It’s the foundation of the cake’s flavor, so don’t skimp on it.
  • Vegetable Oil: Choose a neutral-tasting oil like canola or vegetable oil to keep the cake moist.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar works wonders here, giving the cake its sweet and tender crumb.
  • Eggs: Fresh, large eggs are a must. Separate the yolks and whites for a fluffy, airy texture.
  • Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. Avoid imitation extracts.
  • Buttermilk: This tangy ingredient adds moisture and tenderness to the cake. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by mixing regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes until it curdles.
  • Flour: Stick to all-purpose flour for a balanced texture.
  • Baking Soda: This leavening agent helps the cake rise beautifully.
  • Coconut: Go for unsweetened shredded coconut for a natural and delightful flavor.
  • Pecans: Choose fresh pecans and chop them finely for a satisfying crunch.

Preparation Tips:

  • Creaming the butter, oil, and sugar until fluffy ensures a tender crumb.
  • Alternating the dry ingredients and buttermilk in batches prevents overmixing, keeping the cake light and moist.
  • Be gentle when folding in the beaten egg whites. This step adds airiness to the batter.

Variations and Substitutions:

  • Chocolate Twist: Craving chocolate? Add cocoa powder to the batter for a chocolate Italian Cream Cake. You can also make a chocolate cream cheese frosting for a double dose of chocolate goodness.
  • Fruit Infusion: Fold in diced pineapple, chopped maraschino cherries, or even grated orange zest for a tropical or citrusy twist.
  • Nuts Galore: Swap pecans for walnuts, almonds, or macadamia nuts for a unique flavor profile.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use a gluten-free flour blend to make this cake suitable for gluten-sensitive individuals.
  • Dairy-Free: Substitute dairy-free butter, oil, and cream cheese for a dairy-free Italian Cream Cake that’s just as delicious.
  • Vegan Delight: Replace eggs with flax or chia eggs and use plant-based milk to create a vegan version.

Italian Cream Cake


For the Cake:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter, vegetable oil, and granulated sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture alternately with buttermilk. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  • Stir in the shredded coconut and chopped pecans.
  • In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and let them cool completely on wire racks.
  • For the cream cheese frosting, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese until well combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Once the cakes are completely cool, spread a layer of frosting between each layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake.
  • Decorate with additional chopped pecans or shredded coconut if desired.
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