Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting

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Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting is full of coconut and pecans and smothered in buttercream frosting. This classic recipe is the creme de la creme of stacked-layer cakes.

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Italian Cream Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting

When I made the desserts for Romie’s, a local restaurant, this was one of the customer’s favorite cakes. I usually, almost always, made 3 layer cakes for them. They are big tall and elegant. Plus, Southerners love layer cakes and this restaurant’s theme is “South your mouth” so that should tell you their cuisine and customer base.

IItalian Cream Cake

Other cake favorite flavors included Easy Strawberry cake, Key Lime Cake, and this Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting. I also made it with cream cheese frosting. Who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?

Italian Cream Cake with Buttercream Frosting

I made so many layer cakes each week, I got really fast at frosting them. Maybe I could have done it blindfolded. Maybe.

So it’s been a really long time since I made this Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting. I thought a special day deserved a special cake. Our family is getting together for Christmas and I always volunteer to make the dessert.

layer cake

My secret

If you’re not familiar with Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting, you should be. Let me help. The cake layers of an Italian Cream Cake are a vanilla base cake with pecans and coconut mixed in. The secret to my Italian Cream Cake is I chop the pecans and coconut really fine. You get a little crunch and a little texture, but not a big clump of either pecans or coconut in each bite. Then the Italian Cream Cake is topped with either a Cream Cheese Frosting or a Buttercream Frosting. I like both, but the most popular with my customers was Buttercream Frosting.

layer cake

More tips

If you don’t bake often or you’re just beginning, I wrote this post on how to frost a layer cake. Also, if your cake just turns into a total #fail there are things you can do to fix it! Read How to fix cake disasters here.

The first step in this recipe is to separate the egg yolk from the white. How do you do this? There are two basic methods and I use both. You can crack the egg over a bowl being careful not to pierce the yolk. Put the egg in your hand and allow the white to strain through your fingers into the bowl below. Or, crack the egg over a bowl, and gently move the yolk back and forth between the two shells while allowing the white to drip into the bowl.

Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting f

Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting

Italian Cream Cake Recipe with Buttercream Frosting is full of coconut and pecans and smothered in buttercream frosting. This classic recipe is the creme de la creme of stacked layer cakes.
Author: Paula
5 from 15 votes
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Save To Your Recipe Box
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16 slices


For Cake



For Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease and flour 2 (or 3) 8 inch round cake pans.
  • Separate eggs and beat whites until stiff.
  • Cream butter and shortening. Add sugar and beat until mixture is smooth.
  • Add egg yolks and beat well.
  • Combine flour and baking soda in another bowl; stir to combine.
  • Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.
  • Add vanilla
  • Add coconut and pecan.
  • Fold in egg whites.
  • Pour batter into 2 or 3 greased and floured 8-inch cake pans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes
  • Test center with a pick, if no crumbs or dry crumbs remain on the pick, the cake is ready.
  • Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

For Buttercream

  • Cream butter, slowly add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time.
  • Add vanilla and whipping cream. Beat until smooth.
  • Wait until the cake is completely cool before frosting. For a more professional cake, remove the domes from the tops of the cake layers with a cake leveler or large serrated knife. Place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting on top in an even layer. Repeat with the next layer of cake and frosting, then top the cake with the final layer of cake (if you have 3 layers). Frost the outside of the cake. An offset spatula makes
    it really easy to get an even layer.


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Calories: 558kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 182mg | Potassium: 104mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 605IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Does the coconut really have to be frozen? If so, I know you said to make sure it’s finely chopped so I planned to put it in my processor to chop it, so would I just measure out just the amount prechopped then chop then chop it and place it in the freezer for x amount of time prior to making cake?

  2. You have 3 egg yolks and beat the egg whites. Are the 3 egg whites plus the 5 egg whites or just the 5 egg whites and use the 3 egg whites for something else?

    1. No, it’s 3 whole eggs, seperated into yolks and whites. Whip the whites until they’re fluffy. There should be just 3 egg whites, that was a typo.

  3. wow amazing ! very tasty and I like cooking i will try this cake to my friend birthday.Thanks for sharing your post.

  4. Paula, this cake looks like my idea of dessert heaven!!! It’s absolutely perfect, and I’m trying to figure out how I can squeeze an extra baking session into the next few days so that I have this on my holiday table! 🙂

    Pinned and tweeted!

    1. Thanks so much, Blair. I agree, there’s never enough time, but a big, festive cake is a must for the holidays.

  5. 5 stars
    I love Italian cream cake. I know it’s often REALLY sweet but I still like it. 🙂 Yours looks very pretty and it’s clear to see that you’ve had a lot of practice icing cakes.

5 from 15 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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