How to Make an Italian Cream Cake

by Alli

When I need a special occasion cake, this one is always my go-to! I’ve been making (and eating) Italian Cream Cake for years. All of a sudden I realized that I haven’t shared my recipe on the blog. That’s a good excuse to make an Italian Cream Cake, right?

If you love pecans as much as I do, check out my Best Recipes Featuring Pecans

Italian Cream Cake

No one really knows where the recipe for Italian Cream Cake originated. Seems this cake is much more southern than Italian. I don’t really care where it originated, I just know it’s delicious and is one of my favorite cakes. Do I say that about all the cake recipes I share? Maybe!

Italian Cream Cake is very popular in the south. It’s right up there with Red Velvet! My husband doesn’t like coconut, but this is his favorite cake. You’ll only taste a hint of coconut in this cake.

Italian Cream Cake

This Italian Cream Cake is topped with my favorite cream cheese frosting. Plus, it has my favorite pecans in the frosting. Friends, it can’t get any better than this!

Let’s Make Italian Cream Cake

In this recipe, the eggs are separated and the egg whites are beaten until stiff peaks form and folded into the batter right before baking.

Egg Whites for Italian Cream Cake

If you’ve never folded egg whites into a batter, don’t be afraid. This technique creates a light and airy batter and results in a cake that’s light and airy.

This is the batter before mixing in the egg whites.

Batter for Italian Cream Cake

To fold the beaten egg whites in, use a spatula. Add the egg whites to the top of the batter and slice right down the middle with your spatula – all the way to the bottom of the bowl. From the curve of the bowl, gently scoop and fold the batter and egg whites and fold them over and on top of the remaining egg whites. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until the egg whites are completely incorporated into the batter.

Here’s a photo after mixing in the egg whites. As you can see, it’s a little lumpy. That means it’s just right!

Italian Cream Cake

Click here for a great tutorial (with photos & video) on how to fold in beaten egg whites.

Helpful Hint: Stop folding in the egg whites once the cake batter is incorporated, but still lumpy. If you keep folding until the batter is smooth, you will start deflating the egg whites.

Yield: 15 servings

Italian Cream Cake

Italian Cream Cake

Italian Cream Cake is a classic cake that I've been baking for years. The pecans and coconut add so much flavor to this cake. It's my husband's favorite!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting with Pecans

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (16 oz.) package powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour three 9" cake pans and set aside.
  2. Beat butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until blended.
  3. Combine flour and soda and add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed after each addition, until blended.
  4. Stir in coconut.
  5. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into batter. Pour into three greased and floured 9" cake pans.
  6. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool layers completely on wire racks.


  1. Toast pecans in a shallow pan at 350º for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool.
  2. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed until smooth.
  3. Stir in pecans and frost cake.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 483Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 101mgSodium 259mgCarbohydrates 53gFiber 2gSugar 38gProtein 5g

Did you make this recipe?

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I promise I’m not bragging, but (here it comes) my Italian Cream Cake is the best I’ve ever tasted. I’ve had my share over the years and most of them are too dry for my taste. This one is perfect. I think the magic is knowing how to properly fold in the egg whites.

Italian Cream Cake

The next time you’re entertaining guests or having the family over, be sure and make this cake. I have a feeling it will become a favorite with your family as well.

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This Italian Cream Cake is my husband's favorite cake. I always serve it at special occasions and it's always a hit.

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robin rue November 6, 2017 - 6:28 am

I come from a big Italian family and cakes like this were always served at Sunday dinner. I am super excited to make your cake one of these sundays.

valmg @ Mom Knows It All November 6, 2017 - 6:29 am

I always have cream cheese on hand. This looks great, I think it would go perfectly with my coffee right now.

Amber Myers November 6, 2017 - 8:18 am

Oh yum! I’m not sure if I’ve ever had an Italian Cream Cake before. I’ve never met a cake I didn’t like, so I need to give this a taste.

Jeanettte November 6, 2017 - 8:18 am

I think I just gained 5 pounds from reading this. It looks so good and I love the cake so this is a match made in heaven for me.

Tomi C November 6, 2017 - 8:59 am

There’s a lady at our church that used to bake the tastiest Italian Cream Cakes. She lost both of her children to cancer and her love for baking waned. Every time I see recipes for Italian cream cakes I can’t help but remember those happier days and the smile on her face just watching people enjoy her delicious cakes.

candy November 6, 2017 - 12:47 pm

This Italian Cream Cake sounds and looks so delicious. The frosting between all the layers oh yum. Looks so rich and moist.

Jenn @ EngineerMommy November 6, 2017 - 12:48 pm

Wow this cake looks and sounds so decadent and delicious. Growing up, my aunt used to make something like this. I have fond memories of it!!

Lisa November 6, 2017 - 2:02 pm

I’m not a big fan of red velvet, but this one looks like a southern treat I would enjoy. I’d love a piece and some coffee right now.

ricci November 6, 2017 - 5:06 pm

I think that Italian Cream Cake is one of my favorite cakes of all time but I have never made one before because they seem so intimidating!! You make it look easy though so I may just have to break down and try to make this for myself…LOL!!

Our Family World November 6, 2017 - 5:32 pm

I was reading through your recipe and this is exactly how my mom makes a cake! She boasts of her lemon chiffon and mango chiffon cake. Now that she is old, she rarely bakes now. I will try this recipe of yours and make one for my mom.

Anna November 6, 2017 - 6:52 pm

Wow what a wonderful cake recipe. I’ve never heard of this Italian cream, it looks very good. I’ll prepare this cake here at home and then I’ll tell you what I found.

Liz Mays November 6, 2017 - 8:49 pm

I’m totally down to make one of these! I like the idea of the chopped pecans in the frosting!

Tonya November 6, 2017 - 9:34 pm

This cake looks so light and fluffy! And the pecans add an elegant touch to the presentation.

Jenn November 6, 2017 - 9:51 pm

This is my mother’s favorite cake. I’m not sure she has ever made it herself, but I know we have bought it plenty of times over the years.

Sandy N Vyjay November 7, 2017 - 9:13 am

The Italian Cream cake looks so delectable. It looks so creamy and tempting. I would love to have my cake and eat it too.

Kita Bryant November 7, 2017 - 12:53 pm

I’ve never made one of these before. Sounds delicious and would be pretty for Christmas.

Chubskulit Rose November 7, 2017 - 1:28 pm

Oh wow, would you please pass on some of those sweet treat please? THe cake is waving at me!

Marysa November 7, 2017 - 3:44 pm

I have never had an italian cream cake, but it sounds lovely! It is nice to have some different ideas when it comes to desserts. So pretty too with the pecans!

Jilly Spellman November 7, 2017 - 9:57 pm

This is the best cake I have seen in a very a long time. I can’t wait to make it and try it for myself.

Melanie November 8, 2017 - 12:50 am

It looks so perfect for a get-together with my girlfriends. Creamy, with a touch of coconut…it sounds like a bit of heaven on a plate.


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