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Best Homemade Italian Cream Cake And Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

This homemade Italian Cream Cake and cream cheese icing is Heavenly. Have you had Italian Cream Cake before? The ingredients that make this cake so good include coconut, pecans, beaten egg whites, and buttermilk, and the yummy frosting contains cream cheese. 

The cake is one of those special treats you shouldn’t have too often. You wouldn’t look forward to it nearly as much, and the cake just wouldn’t be as good. Do you know what I mean? Around our house, Italian Cream Cake is the number one cake of choice when birthdays come around.

I once tried the Southern Living Magazine easy recipe that uses a cake mix, and it was not anything close to the homemade recipe. You need to make this cake recipe even though it takes a bit of work. 

Homemade Italian Cream Cake 

I have all the recipe details so you or your favorite baker can give it a try. Nothing says Happy Birthday like a fabulous cake! The cake is a pain in the rear to make but worth all the pain. I once tried a shortcut I found in Southern Living Magazine, which was a bust. Of course, my daughter never lets me live that one down. 

I make this Italian cream cake recipe 2-3 times a year using the pain-in-the-rear-to-make recipe. The cake has three layers, and mine always looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I’m finished with it. It doesn’t matter what it looks like ….it tastes yummy!

Italian Cream Cake Recipe Ingredients:

Beat until stiff 5 egg whites.
Cream together:
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter softened
½ cup Crisco Shortening (stick or from the can- not the liquid kind)
5 egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups self-rising flour- sifted
By hand add:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Angel Flake Coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour batter into three 9” cake pans. Grease and flour the pans to prevent cake from sticking. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool cake before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

1 box confectioners powdered sugar
1 stick butter softened
1 8 ounce cream cheese softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup coarse chopped pecans
Recipe source Chapel Academy Cookbook (date 1970’s) Reba Stuckey

Instructions For The Cake

I find it easiest to separate the eggs and beat the egg whites before starting to mix together the other cake ingredients. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. I use a glass bowl for the egg whites.

how to beat egg whites to stiff peaks

Beat The Egg Whites

If you beat the egg whites first, you don’t have to wash the beaters in the middle of mixing up the cake in order to beat the egg whites when it’s time to add them. Use the highest setting on your mixer and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks like in the photo above. This usually takes 7 or 8 minutes. Time will depend on the temperature of the egg whites and the speed of your mixer.

Combine The Ingredients

Cream the sugar, butter, and shortening together. Soften the butter before mixing. I use those handy dandy shortening sticks. Much easier to do the measurements since they are like sticks of butter.

How to make an Italian Cream Cake

Add the next four ingredients and mix well. The next step says to add the vanilla, nuts, and coconut and mix by hand but I use the mixer for this step too. Fold in the beaten egg whites by hand.

how to make a cake

Be gentle when mixing the egg whites into the cake batter. You want to mix it up well but the egg whites will not dissolve, they will still be foamy. This is okay.

Prepare The Cake Pans

I like to use PAM on my baking pans, but sometimes the cake sticks to the pan so I prepare my pans the old-fashioned way by greasing them with shortening and then coating them with flour. Prepare three pans for the three layers. The three thin layers bake really fast, usually 20 -24 minutes.

Make The Cream Cheese Icing

how to make cream cheese icing

Soften the cream cheese before mixing all of the frosting ingredients together. I mix the frosting while the cake is cooking then set it in the refrigerator to firm up a bit.

Frost The Cake Layers

how to frost a three layer cake

The cake is so moist it tends to fall apart, so you must be careful taking it out of the pan while icing it. Spread a thin layer of icing between the layers. You want to conserve icing for the sides since the recipe doesn’t make enough icing to slather it on. Trust me. It’s sweet enough you don’t need a thick layer of icing.

Italian cream cheese cake
Italian cream cheese cake

Enjoy Every Bite Of This Favorite Dessert

Italian Cream Cake for parties and family get togethers

I store the cake in the refrigerator. If we have leftovers after a birthday party, I cut a slice the next morning, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, and pour a cup of coffee. YUM


Tony and Ray

My lovely daughter-in-law, Miss Sofi, and the JTS all have birthdays within a week of each other. We celebrate big time. The JTS’s brother, Tony (on the left), and his wife came to visit for the weekend. I tried to get these two guys to cooperate for the photo, but they’re worse than a couple of kids. This is the best I got!Family Favorite Best Italian Cream Cake Recipe (3)


I also shared my Dad’s favorite Banana Cake recipe a few years ago. The cake doesn’t contain chocolate, so it was never a favorite of mine until recently.

I make the cake at least once a month because that’s how often I’m in Arkansas. The cake has become one of my favorites, and it’s so easy to make. It has the best icing. Not too sweet, just right because it’s made with sour cream and cool whip. You can find the Banana Cake recipe here.

Print here- The Best Italian Cream Cake Recipe And Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (here)

As always, thanks for being here, and have a great day, Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
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Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. I don’t cook with vegetable shortening, but often coconut oil is a good substitute. That’s what I’m going to try in this recipe.

  2. Oh Yum! I think this may be a New Year’s surprise cake this year – after all, we need to celebrate the exit of 2020? 🙂

  3. Thank you for the surprise recipe! I’ll be making both the Italian Cream Cake and the Banana Cake. A very merry Holiday Season to you!!

  4. I don’t think I can get the Crisco in the UK but I definitely want to try this recipe it looks like a real treat.