Italian Cream Cake

Embrace the allure of classic Italian cuisine with a dessert that epitomizes sophistication – the Italian Cream Cake. This luscious creation boasts layers of moist cake enriched with pecans, coconut, and a velvety cream cheese frosting. From its exquisite texture to the harmonious blend of flavors, the Italian Cream Cake is a culinary masterpiece that transcends time. Join us on a delightful journey as we explore the ingredients, navigate through step-by-step instructions, unravel cook notes and variations, and even delve into keto and low-carb versions. Elevate your baking skills and indulge in the enchantment of the Italian Cream Cake.


For the Cake:

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

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional chopped pecans and shredded coconut for decoration (optional)


  1. Preheat the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Cream the Butter and Sugar: In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add Egg Yolks: Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Alternate with Buttermilk: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  6. Add Vanilla and Mix-Ins: Stir in the vanilla extract, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans.
  7. Beat Egg Whites: In another clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  8. Fold in Egg Whites: Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter until no white streaks remain.
  9. Divide and Bake: Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool Completely: Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
  11. Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting: In a mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract, continuing to beat until well combined.
  12. Assemble the Cake: Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Repeat with the remaining layers. Frost the sides and top of the assembled cake.
  13. Decorate and Chill: If desired, decorate the cake with additional chopped pecans and shredded coconut. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.

Cook Notes

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure that ingredients like butter, cream cheese, and eggs are at room temperature for a smoother batter and frosting.
  • Pecan Perfection: Toast the chopped pecans for a few minutes in a dry skillet to enhance their flavor before adding them to the batter.
  • Cake Consistency: For an even-textured cake, avoid overmixing the batter once the dry ingredients are added.


1. Citrus Zest:

Infuse a hint of citrus by adding grated orange or lemon zest to the cake batter for a refreshing twist.

2. Berry Bliss:

Fold in fresh or frozen berries like raspberries or blueberries for bursts of fruity goodness throughout the cake.

3. Amaretto Elegance:

Add a touch of sophistication by incorporating a splash of amaretto to the cream cheese frosting for an almond-flavored indulgence.

Keto Versions

For those on a keto journey, consider these modifications:

  • Almond Flour Exchange: Substitute almond flour for all-purpose flour in a 1:1 ratio to reduce the carb content.
  • Keto-Friendly Sweetener: Replace granulated sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener like erythritol or monk fruit.
  • Coconut Cream Frosting: Create a keto-friendly frosting by whipping together coconut cream, cream cheese, and a keto sweetener.

Low-Carb Version

To cater to low-carb preferences, make these adjustments:

  • Almond or Coconut Flour Blend: Use a blend of almond and coconut flour for a lower-carb alternative to all-purpose flour.
  • Low-Carb Sweetener Blend: Combine a low-carb sweetener blend to replace granulated sugar in both the cake and frosting.
  • Moderate Nut Use: Be mindful of the quantity of nuts to control the carb content, and opt for pecans, which are relatively low in carbs.

The Italian Cream Cake is more than a dessert; it’s an expression of culinary elegance that transcends the ordinary. With layers of moist cake, a hint of coconut, and the richness of pecans, this cake is a celebration in every bite. Whether you follow the classic recipe or venture into keto and low-carb adaptations, the allure of the Italian Cream Cake remains undiminished. So, gather your ingredients, preheat that oven, and immerse yourself in the joy of creating a dessert that is as timeless as it is indulgent. Cheers to the artistry of baking and the enchantment of the Italian Cream Cake!

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