★★★★★

Classic Southern Italian Cream Cake Recipe

Sweet coconut and nutty cream cheese frosting combine to make this mouth watering classic Southern Italian Cream Cake recipe!

Love easy cake recipes? Be sure to try our delicious Vanilla Sheet cake, made in a 13×9 baking dish. Topped with vanilla buttercream frosting, it’s the perfect dessert.

Slice of Italian cream layer cake on a black plate.

Why this Recipe Works

When it comes to making an Italian Cream Cake, it takes a true southerner to know how to make it right. Thank goodness my friend Robyn from Add a Pinch put out a cookbook to help our northern gals like me.

The layers of airy sponge cake surrounded by a generous spread of creamy butter frosting won me over in one bite.

I’m no stranger to baking cakes, but this cake has a few special instructions that are different from the norm.

To give the cake a light and airy texture, Robyn instructs you to beat the egg whites for the cake by themselves until they form stiff peaks. This took about about 7 minutes but . . . whoa!

It really does make a difference. I’ll be trying this technique in my favorite white cake recipe next!

Coconut in the batter creates a fabulous crumb and texture for the cream cake. It reminded me of the texture of my favorite watergate cake recipe.

Italian cream cake on a wooden cake plate with a slice removed.

Cream Cake Frosting

A combination or butter and cream cheese gets beaten for about 5 minutes to create a light and creamy spread that’s so good I was half tempted to eat it straight from the mixing bowl.

I’m glad I didn’t though, because it belongs on this cake. With Italian Cream Cake you don’t just put on a sissy thin layer of icing. You absolutely SLATHER the cream cheese frosting between the layers, then coat the assembled cake with a nice thick coating.

Somehow, even with all that cream, the icing doesn’t feel heavy or weigh the cake down. It’s light and airy, much like the cake itself, with a sweet finish and irresistibly velvety consistency.

Serve a big slice of this Italian Cream cake with a glass of Italian Soda! Match made in heaven.

How to store

Keep Italian Cream Cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. The cold temperature makes the cake taste even better!

Because of the cream cheese in the frosting, refrigeration is necessary to present spoiling and keep the icing in place. When ready to serve you can cut and slice it right away, no need to wait for it to come to room temperature.

Can you freeze cream cake?

Make it in advance. I would freeze this Italian Cream cake in layers without the frosting. Let it thaw in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Then, when you’re ready to serve, make the frosting and assemble the layers.

Freeze Leftover Cake. You can also freeze this cake AFTER adding the frosting. Wrap in plastic wrap then foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Italian Cream Cake recipe with coconut and pecans and cream cheese frosting!

Tips & Tricks

  • Homemade buttermilk works just great in this recipe.
  • For more coconut flavor and texture, sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes on top of this cake along with the pecans.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, electric beaters will also work for beating the egg whites. You can beat the egg whites by hand with a strong wire whisk, too, but be warned it will take much longer and requires serious elbow grease!

More cake recipes

Yield: serves 12

Italian Cream Cake Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Sweet coconut and nutty cream cheese frosting combine to make this mouth watering Italian Cream Cake recipe!

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut (flakes or shredded)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. For the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until a stiff peak, about 7 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or hand mixer), beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir in the vanilla, coconut and pecans. Fold in the whipped egg whites. Divide the batter and pour into the two pans.
  5. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back to the touch. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then turn out cake onto a wire cooling rack until completely cooled.
  6. For the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla and pecans.
  7. Spread frosting of the top of one of the cooled cakes. Add second layer of cake and add frosting to top and sides. Keep refrigerated. ENJOY!

Notes

  • Homemade buttermilk works just great in this recipe.
  • For more coconut flavor and texture, sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes on top of this cake along with the pecans.
  • If you don't have a stand mixer, electric beaters will also work for beating the egg whites. You can beat the egg whites by hand with a strong wire whisk, too, but be warned it will take much longer and requires serious elbow grease!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 835Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 469mgCarbohydrates: 93gFiber: 3gSugar: 74gProtein: 9g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Whether you grew up eating southern style Italian Cream Cake or this is your first time trying it, I know you’re going to fall in love with it as much as I did. Nothing says “Southern Hospitality” like a slice of classic cream cake for dessert!

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

Get My Free Email Course
Become a Better Baker—no more box mixes! Discovery your new “signature” desserts!

Categories:


Posted on April 9, 2021

Comments & Reviews

    1. Toasting nuts brings out the nutty flavor, and is easy to do in a skillet. That said, I tend to skip that step when the nuts are inside a cake batter or cookie. To each their own though 🙂

  1. I’ve never made an Italian cream cake before, and this looks so moist and decadent! I’m going to try this for my birthday coming up! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  2. wah!!! I think this is the best cake which will be the best for my birthday.On my this birthday I will prefer this cake. Thanks alot!!!

  3. This looks so fabulous and now I have ANOTHER BOOK on my wishlist! I like to change the egg-method to change cake texture – often if the recipe calls for the eggs to go in with other liquids you can get a much better texture if you beat them with the sugar first and then go ahead and fold the rest in – doing the egg whites separately is also a great trick that i even use for waffles!

  4. Thanks! I made this cake and it is extraordinarily delicious! My cake hardly rises and is very dense. This was very easy and very tasty!

  5. Could this cake can be made in a 5×9 loaf pan or bundt cake pan? And if yes, same temperature? And for how long?
    THANKS!! Can’t waot to try it

    1. Yes. I have an old Texas cookbook with this recipe and it calls for a 13×9 pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  I have made it in both pans and I prefer the two 9″ because I get the yummy frosting in the middle. 

  6. I’m thrilled to see you made this, Aimee! It’s a special cake and so delicious…and I’m so happy you liked it!
    Thanks so much for sharing your super sweet thoughts about the cookbook and baking this cake for your readers! I appreciate your support so much, my friend! Hugs to you, Aimee!!!
    Robyn xo

    1. You’ve created a beautiful book with delicious recipes. Thank YOU for sharing them!

  7. I saw this recipe in her book and was *this close* to making it! Now I have to! It looks amazing and your cake is beautiful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *