Italian Cream Cake is also sometimes called Italian Wedding Cake. It is a beautiful 3-layer cake
to serve for a birthday, anniversary, or any special occasion. The cake layers are filled with coconut
and finely chopped nuts. It has a dense texture similar to a carrot cake. The cake recipe calls for a
combination of half unsalted butter and half shortening but you can use all butter if you prefer. The
original icing recipe incorporates more coconut and nuts into the icing but I made a smooth cream
cheese icing and just added toasted coconut and a few walnut halves as a garnish. You can
make this cake a day or two ahead of time and keep it refrigerated. Take the cake out of the
refrigerator about an hour before serving.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1cup shredded coconut
1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup toasted coconut *
Pecan or walnuts halves
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and sugar until
light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low
speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk. Add the vanilla and blend
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg
whites into the batter. Fold in the coconut and pecans or walnuts. Divide the
batter among the 3 cake pans, about 2 cups per pan. Bake for 25 minutes, until
a tester comes out clean when inserted in the center of each cake. Allow the
cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks to
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the icing.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until
smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix thoroughly until combined.
Stack the cake layers with a layer of icing between each layer. (See tip below)
Spread the icing on the sides and top of the cake.
Press the toasted coconut into the icing around the sides of the cake.
Decorate the top of the cake with the pecan or walnuts halves.
How to toast coconut:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange shredded or flaked coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Stir and check frequently to
prevent burning. Remove from oven and cool before using.
You can also toast coconut on the stove top:
Place the coconut in a dry non-stick skillet.
Gently stir it over low heat until golden brown.
Transfer the coconut to a plate and allow it to cool before using.
Tip for frosting a layer cake:
To begin frosting a layer cake, place the bottom layer on the serving plate.
Place small strips of waxed paper under the edges of the cake to keep the
serving plate clean during frosting; remove the strips after you finish all your cake