Italian Cream Cake – an easy and elegant moist layered cake with coconut flakes and pecans for that added texture; and generously layered and covered with cream cheese frosting to top it all.. A must have cake during the holidays and even on regular days.
How could time flies this fast? My little man is already counting the days until Christmas while I’m also sort of busy trying to figure out our holiday schedule and what to prepare for the holidays.
Yes, I do keep a list on what to bring on the holiday table and try to switch things up every year. And when talking about the holidays, there’s no way I’d skip the cake list when it has always been the highlight of every holiday.
And just when I think I have it all figured it out, here comes this Italian Cream cake which is so elegant and rich in flavor. If you remembered my Hummingbird Cake here (with the tropical flavors of bananas and pineapple), this Italian Cream Cake is also a show stopper. It’s really not exactly an Italian recipe but more like of a Southern one.
The addition of pecans and coconut in the batter is what makes it so special.
Note: If you’re not a fan of coconut flakes and pecan, then do not do this. The cake wouldn’t be the same without these two. But if you follow the recipe up to the last bit, then you’d enjoy a second or third slice of this. Just close your eyes though and forget about the calories ‘cause that’d really ruin the joy in every bite. 😉
This classic Southern Italian Cream Cake is sure to WOW your guests. If you think you’re not a pro baker, don’t worry. This cake is also super easy to make and a fail-proof, even newbies would nail it too and always comes out fab and tasty!
How to make an Italian Cream Cake?
Start off by pre-heating the oven at 160°C/325°F and grease a 3 inch x 9 inch pan generously with cooking spray. Set aside. Then cream together the butter and sugar at high speed in a stand mixer – about 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg yolks a little at a time and continue mixing for another 2-3 minutes.
- When beating egg whites to soft peak, separate them first when they are cold and let them sit in room temperature before beating them. Soft peak means that when you turn your whisk upside down, the beaten egg whites are starting to hold but would melt back after a few seconds.
- Buttermilk has a very evident tangy taste and thick texture due to the presence of lactic acid. Its sourness makes any baked goods moist and light. The best sub for buttermilk is Sour Milk or you do one of the following (1) combine 1/4 cup milk into a 3/4 cup plain yogurt OR (2) In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and top it with low fat, skim or whole milk.
- I use plain chopped pecans and coconut flakes in this recipe but you may also add toasted ones. To toast pecans and coconut flakes, spread them in a shallow baking pan, one at a time, and bake in the oven at 350°F for 5-10 minutes. Or you can cook them in a dry skillet over low heat until slightly browned while stirring occasionally. Let it cool down cool down first before garnishing.
- If you are transporting the cake as a gift, cut straws (3-4 pieces) in appropriate size and stick them in the center to secure the cake.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper and place them around the base of the cake before you assemble your layers on a cake stand to help with the cleaning..
- Dab a couple of tablespoons of frosting on the cake stand before placing the first cake. This ensures that it stays in place and it doesn’t slide off.
- If you like your frosting very thick, you can double the batch.
Italian Cream Cake
- 10 ounce (283 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 ¾- 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
- 6 Large egg whites (beaten to soft peaks) (see notes)
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 1/2 cups (266.5 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (240 grams) buttermilk or sour milk (see notes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon (12 grams) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (4 grams) salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (85 grams) coconut flakes
- ¾ – 1 cup (113 grams) chopped pecans or more to garnish
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 4 ounce (113grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounce 225gramscream cheese softened
- 4-6 cups 440-660gramspowdered (icing)sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F. Grease a 3 inch x 9 inch pan generously with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar at high speed in a stand mixer – about 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg yolks a little at a time and continue mixing for about 2-3 another minutes
- Stir in the eggs, a little at a time, beating the mixture well between each addition. Sift in the flour, salt and baking soda into the batter, and then add milk and vanilla extract.
- Stir well until everything is fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Using a spatula gently fold in eggs whites into the batter . Followed by coconut flakes and chopped pecans and continue folding ,about 30 seconds
- Pour batter into the greased cake pans into three equal parts. Tap pans on work surface to eliminate any large air bubbles.
- Bake at 325 F until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean – about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting (Double the Frosting if you like a thick coat like in the picture)
- Whisk cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy. You may use a mixer, if desired.
- Gradually sieve in powdered sugar, mix as you go along until smooth.
- Finally, stir in the pecans.
Assembling the Cake
- Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Spread about about 1 1/2 cup of cream cheese frosting over cake layer. Top with second layer, and more frosting over cake layer.
- Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish, with pecans.
- If desired, use crushed pecans to garnish the side and or pipe .