Y’all know I’m usually all about making a recipe your own and substituting what you have on hand for what you don’t. With this recipe for Italian Cream Cake, though, if at all possible, I strongly encourage you to stick as close to my ingredients list and instructions as you can. Make a trip to the grocery store if need be because the end result is more than worth it!
This cake is in my top ten favorite desserts of all time. It’s pillowy soft, moist, and just all around perfect. Top it with a pecan studded cream cheese icing and you’ll bring back an empty pan every time.
This is the perfect cake for any special get together: Thanksgiving, Bridal Shower, Birthdays, or “Just Because”. Whenever you make it, you’ll most certainly be required to make it again as the question will arise “Is Grandma/Aunt/Sister making her Italian Cream Cake this year?” so get ready to start a new tradition.
Why is this cake so special? Well, it’s tender, light, moist, and filled with a flavor you can only get from a special “from scratch” Italian cake recipe. Fortunately, though, there isn’t a lot of fuss involved so there is nothing to deter you from adopting this as your signature special occasion cake. Not that I’m hinting at anything….
To make this amazingly wonderful cake that your family and friends really and truly deserve a chance to enjoy, you’ll need: All Purpose Flour, Sugar, Whole Buttermilk, Solid Vegetable Shortening (such as Crisco), Baking Soda, Butter, Eggs, best quality vanilla you can find*, and coconut.
* By “best quality vanilla you can find” I mean that just as I say it. If you open up your pantry and the best you can find is imitation vanilla, well then use it. If you have this amazing vanilla that you just love to use, then use that.
Place butter, shortening, and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well combined all fluffy, or fluffified.
Please please please please please make sure your cream cheese (for the icing) and butter are room temp in this recipe. You know how I tell y’all not to fret over little details like this in most of my recipes? Well, if I tell you it’s time to get particular, get particular. This is an easy one to do, though. I just set my butter and cream cheese out as soon as I get up in the morning so they are room temp by mid to late morning and that is when I make this cake.
Add your eggs. This recipe calls for five large eggs.
Beat those in real good, scraping down the sides as needed. Already, this batter is like a rich, smooth velvet, but it’s about to get even better.
In a separate bowl, stir your baking soda into your flour.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture and mix until well blended, about a minute.
Add in coconut and vanilla and mix again until incorporated and batter is nice and creamy. Oh what lovely batter this is!
Spread batter into greased 9×13 pan. If you want to get fancy you can make this in two 8 or 9 inch round pans but I mean, we have already made this cake from scratch and I’m just a 9×13 girl.
Bake this at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you are baking it in round pans it will bake for about 25-30 minutes but you’ll need to keep an eye on it and still test for doneness.
Once it is done, let it cool completely and then make your cream cheese icing and top off the cake (recipe below).
Cover with foil or cling wrap and store in the fridge until serving time.
ENJOY this cake, and enjoy watching everyone else enjoy it, too!
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup butter softened
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Cream Cheese Icing:
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temp
- 1/2 cup butter at room temp
- 3.5-4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon butter flavoring optional
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9x13 pan by spraying with cooking spray and set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well until smooth, scraping sides as needed, about two minutes.
- In separate small bowl, stir together flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture and buttermilk to the egg mixture and mix until well blended and completely smooth, about two more minutes. Add in coconut and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
To make icing
- Place cream cheese and butter in mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add favorings and about half of sugar and mix again, scraping down sides as needed, until sugar is well incorporated. Add remaining sugar and mix until a nice fluffy icing is formed, again scraping down sides as needed, about one to two minutes. Mix in pecans. Ice cooled cake.
- Store this cake, well covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week or at room temp for up to two days.
This recipe was published in 2015. I updated the photos and post in 2020.