You’re gonna LOVE this Italian Cream Cake! Although there’s nothing Italian about it, you can’t resist this Southern beauty. It’s light and fluffy and full of toasted coconut and pecans in every bite! Next, it’s filled and frosted with a fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting. Lastly, this beauty is garnished with remaining toasted coconut and pecans!
Italian Cream Cake Tips:
- Processed coconut helps ensure you get coconut in every bite!
- Toasted pecans enhance the flavor of this Italian Cream Cake even more.
- The cake layers can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight cake container at room temperature or refrigerated for 3 days.
How To Toast Coconut And Pecans:
- To toast the pecans, adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, set pecans in an even layer and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring and rotating the pan half way through baking. Or, the perfect indicator of doneness is smell. Once you can smell toasted pecans it’s time to take them out.
- For the toasted coconut, adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, set coconut in an even layer and bake for 10 to 15 minutes stirring and rotating pan at least once or more if necessary halfway through baking. You may need to stir a few times during baking to be sure all the coconut gets toasted and doesn’t burn.
Cream Cheese Frosting Tips:
- The cream cheese needs to be very soft for this recipe or your frosting will come out lumpy. I set my cream cheese on the counter overnight and my cream cheese frosting always comes out smooth.
- Don’t over beat cream cheese frosting or it will become soupy.
- Cream cheese frosting can be kept at room temperature for about 6 hours, or stored in the refrigerator for 3 days. Bring refrigerated frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed before using.
- An easy way to garnish the sides of this cake is to take a rimmed baking sheet and pour coconut and pecans on top and mix together. Carefully pick up the cake using the cake board on the bottom. You can use a thin spatula to help lift up the cake if necessary. Holding the cake in one hand, use your other hand to generously scoop up the coconut-pecan mixture and press to adhere to the sides of the cake, working over the rimmed baking sheet to catch any fall out.
- Applying a crumb coat is helpful to catch any crumbs and to ensure the final coat of frosting is as smooth as possible and makes decorating the cake a little easier since the cake is chilled.
Plan It Out
- Day 1: Toast coconut and pecans, and bake cake layers.
- Day 2: Prepare frosting, assemble, and serve.
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- 3 8-inch round cake pans
- Nonstick baking spray
- Food processor or blender
- Stand mixer
- Hand mixer
- 8-inch round cake board
- Cake turntable
- Piping bag
- Ateco piping tip #827
- 2 ½ cups lightly packed sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup heavy cream, cold
- 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups (12 ounces) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 16 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes, at room temperature
- Adjust an oven rack the center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cake pans with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
- In a food processor, add 1 ½ cups toasted coconut (save the remaining for decorating) and process until finely ground, about 1 minute. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, combine processed coconut, buttermilk and vanilla and let sit until softened, about 10 minutes and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 7 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the oil and mix until combined. Add eggs one at a time mixing on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the coconut-buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour mixture has been combined and mix with a rubber spatula by hand to be sure not to over mix the batter.
- In a large bowl, add the heavy cream and beat with a hand mixer, until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the cream to the cake batter, followed by ¾ cup toasted pecans. Save remaining pecans for decorating.
- Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake testers inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, rotating pans halfway through baking.
- Remove cakes from the oven and let cool in their pans for 10 minutes on cooling racks. Invert cakes onto cooling racks and let cool completely.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice and salt. Reduce the speed to low and beat for 1 minute.
- Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 4 minutes until fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the cream cheese and beat until smooth for about 1 minute. Do not over beat or the frosting will become soupy.
- Place one cake layer on a cake round cake board and place on a cake turntable. Spread about 2/3 cup frosting on top, spreading the frosting out to the edge of the cake. Place the second cake layer on top and spread 2/3 cup frosting on top, spreading all the way out to the edge of the cake. Add the last cake layer on top (bottom side up) and add a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake, creating a crumb coat. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Apply the final coat of frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Save remaining frosting for decorating. Pour remaining coconut and pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully pick up the frosted cake using the cake board on the bottom. You can use a thin spatula to lift up if necessary. Holding the cake in one hand, use your other hand to generously scoop up the coconut and pecans and apply and press to adhere to the sides of the cake, working over the baking sheet so any fallout will drop back into the rimmed baking sheet for you to use again. Place cake on a serving platter and add remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with Ateco piping tip #827. Pipe swirls on the top edge of the cake. Sprinkle coconut-pecan mixture over the swirls and serve.
Storage: Cake layers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight cake container on the counter or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Assembled cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Prepared frosting will keep at room temperature for up to 6 hours, or refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring frosting to room temperature and beat on low speed to soften before using.
To toast pecans: Heat oven to 350 degrees on a rimmed baking sheet, bake for 10 to 15 minutes stirring and rotating half way through baking.
To toast coconut: Heat oven to 350 degrees on a rimmed baking sheet, bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring at least once half way through baking.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 814Total Fat: 66gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 175mgSodium: 494mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 4gSugar: 23gProtein: 11g
*Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary.*