Chocolate Italian Cream Cake Recipe
This homemade Chocolate Italian Cream Cake is a spin on the classic favorite that we all know and love.
Chocolate lovers will be thrilled with this delicious take on a treasured recipe. You can never go wrong with chocolate, coconut, pecans, and chocolate cream cheese frosting!
Table of Contents
Why we Love It
There are so many reasons to love this Chocolate Italian Cream Cake. Here are just a few:
- Moist, tender, cake layers
- Just the right amount of chocolate, not overly rich
- A wonderful combination of chocolate, coconut, and pecans. (If you love this combo, make sure to check out our German Chocolate Cake also!)
- Great Birthday Cake Recipe and perfect for holidays and other special occasions.
Our Chocolate Italian Cream Cake recipe is just as you might imagine, a moist chocolate cake with the familiar flavor and texture from coconut and pecans.
We hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we have! It is sturdy enough to hold up to fondant, and also works well for cupcakes (little to no dome).
How to Make Chocolate Italian Cream Cake
You can find the full, printable cake recipe further down in this post. Here is a quick rundown of our steps!
- Preheat: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare three 8 inch cake pans. (We like to grease and flour our pans and also to add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of each.)
- Butter and Sugar: Mix butter at medium speed until softened and smooth. Gradually add sugar, mixing on medium speed 4 to 5 minutes until lightened and fluffy.
- Egg Yolks and Vanilla: Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition until the yellow of the yolk has disappeared. Add Vanilla extract.
- Flour Mixture: In a separate bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, Whisk at least 30 seconds to blend.
- Dry and Wet Ingredients: Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture (that is 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 additions of buttermilk).Mix at low speed after each addition until blended.
- Pecans and Coconut: Mixing with a spoon, add in the pecans and coconut.
- Egg Whites: Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula or spoon, gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into three 8 or 9″ round cake pans.
- Time to Bake! Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on wire racks.
Decorating the Chocolate Italian Cream Cake
Decorate the cake however you like! We kept our design nice and simple.
To decorate our cake, I used a small, offset spatula to add texture around the sides of the frosted cake as I rotated it on a turntable (Visit our Ridged Buttercream Technique- Tutorial for more details!).
I covered the top of the cake in stars piped with a 2D piping tip (a 1M piping tip would give a similar effect also). I added a border of crushed pecans around the base of the cake.
More Chocolate Cakes
We have many favorite chocolate cake recipes to share with you! We're featuring a few of them below. Make sure to check out some of our most popular: Black Forest Cake, Chocolate Cake from Scratch, Devil's Food Cake, and Marble Cake.
Find our full collection of favorites here: Favorite Chocolate Cake Recipes
More Variations of Italian Cream Cake
If you love Italian Cream Cakes, you'll be happy to know that we have a couple more delicious variations for you!
Enjoy the Recipe!
For the Cake Layers
- 1 cup (2 sticks) (226g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups (242g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (40g) unsweeted cocoa, lightly spooned into cup and leveled with back of knife
- 1 teaspoon (5g) baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk (363g) *No buttermilk? See substitution below
- 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (85g) chopped pecans
- 1 cup (75g) flaked sweetened coconut
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 sticks (1 cup) (226g) unsalted butter - Let the butter sit out for approximately 10 minutes. It should feel cool to the touch
- 2( 8oz.) packages cream cheese (total weight 452g) Softened slightly, I used full fat cream cheese. Using reduced fat or the spreadable cream cheese will cause the frosting to be too soft. If using a hand mixer you may need to soften slightly. If using a kitchen aid or strong mixer, do not soften the cream cheese, just cut into pieces when adding to bowl.
- 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
- 6 to 6 ½ cups (690g to 747g) powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (20g) cocoa lightly spoon into cup and level
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted - We did not add the pecans to the frosting mix, though you could. We sprinkled pecans between the layers on top of the filling and pressed on the outside of the frosted cake.
For the Cake Layers
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare three 8 inch cake pans. (We grease and flour our pans, and then line the bottom of the pans with circles of parchment.)
- Mix butter at medium speed until softened and smooth.
- Gradually add sugar, mix on medium speed 4 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.
- Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing after each addition until the yellow of the yolk is blended. Add Vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Whisk at least 30 seconds to blend.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (that is 3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 additions of buttermilk). Mix just until blended after the last addition.
- .Stir in pecans and coconut with a spoon.
- Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula or spoon, gently fold into batter. Scoop batter into three 8 cake pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on wire racks.
- ***No Buttermilk? Here is a substitution: Measure out 1 ½ cups milk, add 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vinegar, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, it will begin to look slightly curdled.
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cut the butter into slices and add to the bowl of your mixer. Beat on low to medium speed until the butter is softened and smooth.
- Add cocoa and mix until blended.
- Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating at low to medium speed until incorporated.
- Add the vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar beating on low speed until blended.
- Increase mixing speed and beat until fluffy, approximately 1 minute, don't over beat. If beaten too long it will become very soft. If this happens, just refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
- This frosting will pipe best if used while still very cool. You can make it in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly (do not microwave) and remix.
- Will frost a 3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake.
- *For the filling, we spread the frosting between the layers then pressed in some of the chopped pecans (optional).
- After the cake was completely frosted, we pressed the remaining chopped pecans around the bottom half of the cake. The traditional way to frost this cake is to stir all the pecans into the cream cheese frosting then frost the cake, but if you are wanting a smooth finish, I would recommend pressing the pecans in afterwards.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 7g
Nutrition information is not always accurate and should be used only as an estimate. Readers should make calculations based on ingredients, serving size, etc. using their preferred method.