This authentic Italian Cream Cake recipe is made the old-fashioned way from scratch with yummy cream cheese frosting and it is to die for. I once tried the Southern Living Magazine easy recipe that uses a cake mix and it was a disaster. You need to make this recipe even though it takes a bit of work. Have you had Italian Cream Cake before? It’s good! The cream cheese frosting is finger-linkin' or mixing bowl scraping good.
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.
The Best 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! I know that’s not my usual thing here on the blog....cooking and recipes…….I don’t want to get too predictable though. 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 and it was a bust. Of course, my daughter never lets me live that one down.
I tried the shortcut recipe on her birthday instead of her dad’s birthday or her brother’s birthday. Well, it was near her birthday when I found the shortcut recipe. That's why she was the guinea pig. Anyway, I make this Italian cream cake recipe 2-3 times a year......using the pain-in-the-rear-to-make recipe. The cake is three layers and mine always looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I'm finished with it. Don't matter what it looks like though....it tastes yummy!
Italian Cream Cake Recipe Ingredients
Beat until stiff 5 egg whites.
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 Frosting 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
Making 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.
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.
Mix 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.
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.
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 Frosting
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
The cake is so moist it tends to fall apart, so you have to be careful taking it out of the pan and also while icing it. Spread the icing on thin between the layers. The icing is very sweet and rich and for that reason, 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.
Enjoy Every Bite
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
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. (2015) 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!
Print here- The Best Italian Cream Cake Recipe And Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (here)
I also shared my Dad's favorite Banana Cake recipe a few years ago. The cake doesn't contain chocolate, so it never was a favorite of mine.....until recently. I started making the cake for Dad because it's his favorite. 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.
As always, thanks for being here, and have a great day, Kathy
Author: Kathy Owen (Petticoat Junktion)
Kathy is the founder of PetticoatJunktion.com, a home décor blog focused on repurposing and upcycling furniture, old hardware, rusty stuff, and thrifty finds into unique home décor. Kathy’s projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Read more about Kathy here.
Can you leave out the coconut and still have it be yummy?
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? 🙂
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!!
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.