Make any occasion extra special with a beautiful and decadent Italian Cream Cake! This flavorful layered cake will make everyone say wow.
Every layer of this Italian Cream Cake is rich with the flavors of pecans and coconut, and the cream cheese frosting takes decadence to new levels! Gather all your typical pantry items like flour, butter, eggs, and more, plus coconut flakes, toasted pecans, and cream cheese, to make something truly special.
A Cause for Celebration
There is so much to love about an Italian Cream Cake, and my family practically hollers with happiness when I make it! The coconut and the pecans in the cake are like surprising bits of deliciousness, and the rich cream cheese is too perfect for words. No special occasion is complete without an Italian Cream Cake, and everyone can taste the time and love that goes into this wonderful cake!
Other Recipes to Serve with Italian Cream Cake
- If you have a lot of coconut lovers in your house, then you have to try these super addictive Buttery Coconut Bars– they’re so hard to stop eating!
- Start the celebration off right with a punch bowl filled with Rainbow Sherbet Punch! This family favorite is full of great party vibes!
To Make the Cake
Pantry items: You will need all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.
Refrigerated items: This recipe calls for egg yolks, so save the egg whites for another recipe. Also, room temperature butter, Greek yogurt, and buttermilk will be used.
Coconut and pecans: You can use sweetened coconut flakes, and you will also need pecans, whole (which you will need to chop) or chopped.
To Make the Icing
Refrigerated items: Softened cream cheese and cold whipping cream are needed.
Pantry items: You will need powdered sugar and more vanilla extract.
For the topping: Additional pecans and coconut flakes will be used to top the cake and toasting, which is optional, brings a great layer of flavor and color to the cake. Whipped cream is also needed.
How to Make Italian Cream Cake
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the inside of three 9-inch round cake pans with either grease and parchment paper or grease and flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and then set that aside.
STEP TWO: In a stand mixer or large bowl using beaters, cream the butter, yogurt, and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk, mix the rest of the dry ingredients and buttermilk and mix again until the batter is smooth. Fold in the coconut flakes and chopped pecans.
STEP THREE: Pour an even amount of batter into each pan and bake for 24 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
STEP FOUR: To make the icing, whip the cream cheese until smooth, and then add the powdered sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream until peaks form. Fold the whipped heavy cream into the cream cheese mixture and mix gently.
STEP FIVE: Place one cake layer on a cake plate and frost the top with a layer of icing. Repeat with the next two layers, and then frost the sides of the cake. Top with piped whipped cream, coconut flakes, and/or pecans. Keep the cake refrigerated until you are ready to serve.
Tips for Success
- To make frosting the cakes easier, freeze the layers for about 30 minutes before frosting them. This will ensure that the icing goes on smoothly and you don’t end up pulling up bits of the cake.
- Refrigerate the icing before you frost the cakes. You want the icing firm enough to create a thick layer on the cake but still easy enough to spread.
- To toast pecans, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Toast the pecans in the oven for 5-10 minutes and let them cool before using. To toast the coconut, heat the oven to 325 degrees F and spread the coconut evenly on a baking sheet. Bake the coconut flakes for around three minutes, keeping an eye on them so they don’t get too browned.
Do you have to refrigerate Italian Cream Cake?
The frosting used on this cake is cream cheese based so yes, the cake does need to be refrigerated. Keeping the cake chilled also makes cutting the cake easier, as the layers will stay together better and create slices that don’t fall apart as you move the cake to a plate. If the cake is covered in the fridge, it will last up to three to five days. You can also freeze slices of this cake! Simply wrap the slices in a few layers of plastic wrap, and they will last for around two to three months. Let the slices come to room temperature when you’re ready to enjoy them.
Where did Italian Cream Cake originate?
Funny enough, this cake isn’t Italian. It’s a traditional Southern cake! While it may have been around earlier, the first time this cake was written about was in a newspaper from Texas in 1937. Many people assume that the name came from the original baker’s home country, but that’s just a guess. This cake is not super popular in Italy but is considered a tried and true Southern recipe, perfect for special occasions.
More sweet layers to love!
- Lemon-Lime Layer Cake
- Red Velvet Cake Recipe
- Moist Chocolate Layer Cake
- Classic Carrot Cake
- Snickers Chocolate Cake
- Sweetened coconut flakes
- Whole or chopped pecans
- Whipped cream
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans by either greasing and flouring the inside, or greasing and laying down a round piece of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer) beat together the unsalted butter, Greek yogurt, and sugar until it looks pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add in egg yolks and vanilla and mix again until combined and smooth. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk to the cake batter and beat on low for about 1 minute. Repeat and beat until silky.
- Using a Rubber spatula (or the mixer on low speed) mix in coconut flakes and chopped pecans until just incorporated. Divide the cake batter, evenly between the prepared cake pans.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs). *I start to check on the cakes around the 20-minute mark.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and place them on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes. Then remove the cakes and allow them to cool entirely while you prepare your icing. Pro Tip: Freeze your cake layers for about 30 minutes prior to icing them and refrigerate the frosting for about 30-45 minutes before icing the cakes.
- In a stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment (or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat again until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
- In another large bowl, beat the cold heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese frosting in two additions. (It's important to fold and not mix so that the frosting stays light and airy.)
- Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a layer of frosting over the cake – you want to ensure the center is level. The sides can look a bit sparse, but you can fill them up when you do the sides. Repeat until all 3 layers are frosted. Use the rest of the frosting to cover the sides of the cake.
- Once the cake is frosted, I like to pipe dollops of whipped cream around the top edge and decorate with whole or chopped pecans and coconut flakes.
- Serve the cake immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove the cake from the fridge 1-2 hours prior to cutting and serving.