Italian Cream Cake~Scratch Recipe

This classic recipe is delicious, and has been a favorite in our family for years.  When paired with cream cheese buttercream, it is heaven!


Italian Cream Cake

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
Italian Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix at low speed after each addition until blended. Stir in vanilla. Add pecans and coconut; stir well.

Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into 2 prepared 9″ pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on wire racks.

Italian Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
1 16 oz package powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 tsp vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Makes 3 1/2 cups.


*Because of the moistness of the cake, this is not ideal for covering with fondant.

Category: Cakes and Cupcakes, Recipes


  1. debbie singh says: #1

    Can i cover this cake with fondant and stack it.

  2. Claudias yummycakes says: #2

    Yes you can debbie…:)

  3. debbie singh says: #3

    Thank you….

  4. Kate McLellan says: #4

    Is this cake durable enough to carve?

  5. BeBe says: #5

    Hi Kate, no this would not be a good choice for carving…..just too moist.

  6. mykangaroocakegirl says: #6

    is this cake good

  7. Joan Fels says: #7

    Absolutely delicious!

  8. Belen Mettler says: #8

    Can I elemenate th Coconut and pecans from recipe?

  9. BeBe says: #9

    Hi Belen, since there is a cup of both coconut an pecans, I think that is too much to take out of the recipe.

  10. Terra Vega says: #10

    Tried this recipe and it came out GREAT!!!!!! I will be making another one real soon. I added coconut to the frosting, it tasted really good. : )

  11. Fran Johnston says: #11

    Do the pecans make it hard to spread the frosting?

  12. BeBe says: #12

    Hi Fran, you will have more a rustic look with this frosting. It won’t be hard to spread but you cannot smooth it because of the pecan pieces.

  13. Carla Walton says: #13

    Hi sweet gals, I have been asked to make a full sheet Italian Cream cake. Would I need to double,triple or quadruple this recipe? Thank you for your help!

  14. BeBe says: #14

    Hi Carla, I wish we had measured the number of cups in the recipe, I think there is probably 6 -7 cups. A half sheet (12 x 16) needs 12 cups ….. so two recipes for the half sheet. It is easier to deal with two half sheet cakes, you could bake two half sheets, put them side by side to achieve your full sheet.

    Good Luck

  15. rosi lopez says: #15

    I made this cake without the coconuts and pecans, it came great. It came out as you mentioned, not good for fondant or carving, but what can you do to it to make it a little denser to put fondant on it. I luv the cake and would like to continue using it.

  16. rosi lopez says: #16

    Oh, you had responded to me in the past the it was too soft to work with fondant but you mentioned to someone else that you can…lol. Ok, which is it? Lol

  17. BeBe says: #17

    Hi Rosi, in the comments above it is Claudia’s yummycakes saying that it could be covered in fondant. My thinking was that it would be too soft with the coconut and nuts……but it must have worked for Claudia. Someone had also asked if the coconut and nuts could be taken out and I responded that I thought taking out 2 cups of ingredients would be too much removed from the recipe. You have done that and report good result, so that is great to know. Since you have the cake, do you think it seems dense enough? The coconuts and nuts were the reason for my saying “no” to fondant……so maybe it is perfect the way it is now. If you give it a try, let me know.

  18. rosi lopez says: #18

    On the contrary it’s still too soft for fondant. That is why I had asked you also if you know how to dense it up for fondant. I would luv to continue using this recipe. My problem is that I love decorating cake, (more fondant than buttercream), not baking, but I know I have to bake before decorating….so that being said, I am so fustrated finding that right recipe for my customers. Can it be taking off 1/2 cup of sugar or adding one more egg, or doing both? Thank you for responding so quick. I love that about you guys.

  19. BeBe says: #19

    Hi Rosi, baking is science and I typically don’t change recipes as much as I think this one would need to be changed to be as dense as you would like it to be. The beaten egg whites that are folded in add lightness and the buttermilk make a tender cake, but changing these will probably change what you like about the cake now.

    I know you are looking for the perfect recipe for your customers…..what comments do you get from your customers with the recipe you typically use.

  20. rosi lopez says: #20

    It’s science but it’s crazy. A recipe might have 2 c flour but one will have 1 1/2 c sugar and the other 2 c. One will have 5 eggs and the other 6. (Either one)

    Anyway, I don’t have the time to bake alot so that is why it’s taking so much time to find that right recipe. The cakes I have baked everyone has loved but they all had some of cake mixes thrown in and that is what I don’t want becasue I don’t want to have a bad reputation that I am selling cakes out of cake mixes. They have already started those comments in my job but because I am into more decorating, so as a beginner I was using cake mixes just to get to my decorations.

    I am not into chocolate but when I took Fudge Dark Chocolate, I think, from Duncan Hines and threw in a small box of Chewy Brownie Fudge from the same vendor, and OMG! I love chocolate cake now! But just that way.

    I have a customer who loves it that way and she is a friend, but can’t sell it to anyone else like that. A friend of hers noticed it and was critizing it, yet she ate it all.

    I sold the durable choc. cake from your site with Oreos Cream filling and they loved it, but I would of liked to have done the choc. mix I mentioned above with the Oreos. The combination of the tastes would of been better.

    I know I don’t want to use cake mixes but I’m thinking of throwing in the brownie mix into your Mom’s Choc. Cake from Scratch…no coffee, and see what happens.

    About the vanilla….I like the Italian Cream but like I said, would like to make a little change to it because it’s too soft for fondant. Then the recipe from your site… Classic White Cake I mentioned you about, well I would love to make it softer. It’s moist but very dense. It does taste like pound cake. Will people criticize that?

    I thank you so much for being there and trying to help me out so I can finally make myself complete and know that I can decorate but can bake good cakes also. Without a good cake, decorations mean nothing. If you have the time, I would love for you to see some of my creations at

    I am into these big elegant cakes out there but where I live, not too many people are willing to pay what I am dying to do. I’m a beginner, so I have to really move around and give out those business cards, or else how am I going to sell.

    Thank you BeBe.

  21. Ghada Hamdan says: #21

    Do you think this cake is sturdy enough to add a fresh fruit filling and fresh fruit on top mixed in a fruit glaze. I need to make an Italian wedding fresh fruit cake. Any suggestions would be super helpful. Thank u!

  22. BeBe says: #22

    Hi Ghada, I think that the Italilan Cream Cake would probably not be a good choice for you. It is not very sturdy because of the nuts and coconut in the recipe. I have read that a sponge cake is often used for the Italian wedding

  23. shenaaz says: #23

    I made this cake today yummy yummy

  24. Linda Hayen says: #24

    Could you makecupcakes out of this? Thank u :-)

  25. BeBe says: #25

    Hi Linda, I have not made cupcakes with this recipe so I am not sure of the outcome. Sometimes with very moist recipes as this one, the cupcake liners will put away from the cupcake. If you decide to give it a try, let us know how they turn out.

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