Italian Cream Cake

Many years ago, my husband, kids, and I spent a year back in my parents’ hometown. While I’m not a beach person, it was nice to live near extended family for the first time in my life. On Thanksgiving, my dad’s cousin asked me to bring a dessert and I chose to make an Italian cream cake. My aunt, who doesn’t even like dessert, devoured her slice. For the rest of our time in Pensacola, whenever we got together, she asked if I was bringing “the cake”.

Italian Cream Cake
Italian Cream Cake

Once upon a time, I used cream cheese frosting with Italian cream cake just like virtually all other Italian cream cake recipes call for. That all changed when I discovered that combining cream cheese frosting and traditional red velvet cake frosting made the best frosting you’ve ever tasted! To read how that happened, visit my red velvet cake recipe

History of Italian Cream Cake

Like so many other recipes, the stories behind how Italian cream cake started are varied. One says it started in Renaissance Italy. Another says that it was invented by an Italian baker that had immigrated to the southern portion of the United States. Personally, I don’t care how it started, I’m just really, really glad it did!

Baking Tips

For a really moist cake, freeze the layers before frosting. Frost while still frozen and allow to thaw before serving.

*Plan ahead. This is not a recipe that you can whip together on the spur of the moment! If you are not freezing the cake, make the paste for the frosting and allow it to chill before you start the cake.



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 1/2 oz shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease and flour 3 round cake pans or spray with Baker’s Joy. Set aside.
  3. Cream together butter & sugar.
  4. Add eggs, 1 at a time.
  5. Combine flour & baking soda. Add to butter, egg, & sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla.
  6. Stir in pecans & coconut.
  7. Divided between cake pans and place on center rack.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. Garnish with coconut or pecans. (optional)


In a saucepan, whisk together 5 tablespoons flour with 1/2 cup milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. (This will be extremely thick. It must come to a boil or it will not yield good results when combined with the rest of the ingredients.) Remove from heat. Cool. Chill in refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours.

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter & cream cheese. Add sugars & beat until fluffy, then add vanilla.

Add chilled paste. Beat until well incorporated.

Want to take Italian Cream Cake to the next level? Try Italian Cream Cake Cheesecake!



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