Home » Desserts » Italian Cream Cake Recipe

Italian Cream Cake Recipe

All good bakers, let’s have a moment of silence for the Italian cream cake’s awesomeness. All new bakers, join in too because you’ll be a pro once you get this baby on your table and enjoy the cheers (and empty plates) it brings. 

Jump to Recipe

Italian cream cake is southern enough to make you say "honey","y'all" and "I do declare this is good!" without giving it a second thought. A true showstopper for any special occasion. This cake is a wow-er. A wow-zer. A “what in the world did you do there?” kind of thing.  And you’ll see why it should only be made for special occasions when you get to the ingredients.

It would kill you if you ate it more than that.

All I can do is recommend that you just close your eyes and eat it and don’t think about the calories. Why ruin such a good thing?

[FREE Download] 11 Easy Food Swaps Your Body Is Begging For

Do food labels confuse you? Cut through the clutter with these easy, practical ingredients you can put to use right away!

    I know this isn’t truly the easiest recipe I’ve ever posted. But I hope you’ll stay with me on it. Every once in awhile we have those times when we need something amazing. And this is just the thing.

    If you’re new to baking, I believe you can do this. See below for some links to helpful videos for how to work with egg whites if you’ve never done that. And of course, if you have ANY questions at all, I’m only an email or a comment away.

    italian cream cake on a glass cake plate

    Now warning: this cake has coconut and pecans. If you don’t like those, don’t make this because it won’t be the same cake. You could, possibly, sub the pecans for walnuts I guess…

    But if you make it according to the instructions, sit back and enjoy. This cake is rich, but not overly sweet. It’s dense, but it’s moist at the same time.

    A couple of tips to keep in mind about your Italian cream cake:

    Remember to separate the eggs, then whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.(Check this helpful little snippet if you’re not sure how. Or take a look at my ultra helpful post on everything you need to know to bake cakes like an old Southern woman. 

    FOLD in your egg whites to keep as much air in the batter as possible. If you don’t know how to fold, you can watch this video–nothing like a random YouTube guy to get your lesson from. Maybe one of these days you’ll get a lesson from me.

    This recipe takes  a few most of the bowls in your kitchen. Sorry about that. And the calories? Well, this just isn’t something you should eat when you’re counting.  I just wanted to warn you.

    A note on the frosting: If you want a thick frosting, make a double batch. I find a thin skim is plenty on this ultra-rich cake, so plan accordingly if you want more. If your frosting is thick, feel free to thin it slightly with one teaspoon at a time of milk if it’s hard to spread. 

    a slice of italian cream cake being lifted from the main

    Italian Cream Cake

    Rich, sweet and an amazing showstopper for any event, this cake is made totally from scratch.
    Prep Time 35 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour
    Servings 12 people
    Author Rachel Ballard


    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
    • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 6 egg yolks
    • 2 cups self rising flour
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, divided
    • 6 egg whites beaten to stiff peaks

    For the frosting

    • 1/4 cup butter softened
    • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
    • 1 pound powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


    • Preheat the oven to 350. 
    • Grease and flour 3 8-inch cake pans. Set aside. 
    • In a large bowl, cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Add the sugar and beat well.  
    • Add the egg yolks and mix well. 
    • Sift the flour and add into the sugar and butter mixture one-third at a time, alternating with the milk. 
    • Stir in the vanilla, 1 cup of coconut and the pecans.
    • Fold in the egg whites carefully until no pockets remain.
    • Divide evenly between the three prepared pans. 
    • Bake 25 minutes and turn out to a wire rack to cool completely
    • While the cakes bake, sprinkle one cup of coconut on a baking sheet and toast it in the oven alongside your cakes until brown and nutty, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir it every couple of minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn. Then set aside to cool 

    For the frosting:

    • Cream the butter and cream cheese until well mixed. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until well combined. 
      Spread between layers of cake and on top and sides. 
      Use your hands to press the toasted coconut all around the sides. 
      Sprinkle pecans over the top. 


    If you like your frosting very thick, it’s fine to make a double batch. 


    Calories: 917kcal
    Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
    Course Dessert
    Cuisine American

    Similar Posts


    1. 5 stars
      One piece of this glorious looking ‘thing’ is just about my calorie quota for the entire day?….WORTH IT?

    2. 5 stars
      Oh my god. This is the best cake EVER.

      I love making cakes, but have never made an Italian Cream Cake. I am so glad I did.

      This 4th of July 21 I had some friends come over and one my friends was celebrating there 6 year anniversary. So made this cake for them.

      This cake came out perfect. It was fabulous. Everyone wanted to take a piece home. The cake is gone. I saw one of them even scraping the icing off to put in there take home dish.

      I can’t thank you enough for posting this receipt. Also I followed your recipe to the “T”.

      1. Tract you have absolutely made me laugh! I am so glad that you did exactly what I want you to do and that’s make others happy with the food you bake and cook from this site. I’m so glad it was special for you all. It’s a delicious cake! –Rachel

    3. I made this cake a few weeks ago and it turned out great. I didn’t have any shortening as I wasn’t quite sure what it was so I used baking spread instead. The cake seemed a bit stodgy, perhaps this was the reason… Next time I will try replacing it with coconut oil as suggested by the author in one of the comments. I will also double the amounts for the cream cheese frosting as I prefer when there’s lots of it in between the cake layers.
      Despite my comments above, I still loved the flavour and everyone at work was very impressed by this cake so I will definitely be making it again.
      Thank you for this great recipe.

      1. Are you in the US? Vegetable shortening is Crisco. Solid at room temp in a tub. I’m not sure what baking spread is. LOL. I’d highly recommend coconut oil in this though. Shortening is so unhealthy it’s not worth using. –Rachel

      2. I’m in the UK. I have now looked it up and we have something called Trex which is meant to be similar to Crisco. Baking spread is a bit like butter but it’s plant based. I will probably try using coconut oil next time.
        Anyway, thank you again for this great recipe and for your comment. Martyna

      1. Hey Pam, Eh…this cake is defined by a specific icing. It’s part of what makes it what it is. I would never swap it but if you don’t mind not eating it with the full flavor it’s intended to have you could try a basic buttercream on it. I just think you’ll be pretty underwhelmed with the overall flavor since the cake itself is very subtle. –Rachel

    4. Hi Rachel, your recipe for the Italian Cream Cake sounds divine!! Can the self rising flour be substituted for all purpose or cake flour? Can’t wait to try!!
      Thank you, Heidi

      1. You’ll need to add baking powder and salt if you use all purpose flour Heidi. You can check out my recipe for how to make self rising flour here on the site. –Rachel

    5. Made this again (for the third time) and it turned out great! It is now a yearly request for a certain someone. It’s all he wants for his birthday! Also made one, packed it well, and off to Panama City Beach, FL last January for my sister’s birthday. Thanks again for sharing!

    6. I made this cake last week and it turned out fantastic! It was so good I shared it with my family. Big mistake! Now I have to bake 4 this week for them. ? Love it! Thanks for the recipe

    7. Hi Rachel!
      I’m not necessarily “new” to this cake as I’ve attempted it several times over the years. I say (attempted) though because, every time myself & my mother have made it, it FALLS terribly in the center if using a 9×13 pan, ALWAYS?! Can you advise us on the reason for this please & the best method to avoid it if possible, because regardless of the cake still tasting delightful, the icing is off naturally with less cake in the middle & the appearance is also less than beautiful as you can imagine! It’s always gobbled down HOWEVER due to the fact that even if it’s ugly- IT’S STILL A SLICE OF HEAVEN. Many thanks for sharing your experience & expertise here!

      1. Hey Crystal,

        The most common reason that cakes sink in the center is because of an acidity issue within the batter. Typically, too much baking soda. However, if you’ve used this recipe in the past in the standard 8 or 9 inch round pans and they haven’t sunk (they don’t sink for me), the issue lies with the size and temperature when baking one large cake. Temperature of the oven, how much you’ve opened the oven door during baking, and heat distribution through the batter itself can cause the cake to sink. This recipe was written for 8 or 9 inch round pans and not for a 9 by 13, so it’s not as simple as just using a different pan with the same temperature and bake time.

        Check out this post for more details and see if you can figure out what the difference is in your kitchen: https://whatsarahbakes.com/baking-secrets/problems-and-solutions-baking-secrets/why-did-my-cake-sink/

        I also highly recommend using a separate thermometer to double check the accuracy of your oven’s temperature when you do a lot of baking. It’s really helpful. Very good luck! –Rachel

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    Recipe Rating