Monday, February 16, 2015

italian cream cake

This Italian cream cake (also called Italian wedding cake) is another old-school, family recipe.  Back before I fell in love with that chocolate peanut butter cake, I always wanted this for a birthday cake.  Before we discovered Italian cream cake, I was in love with carrot cake, and I suppose my love for all three stems from my deep adoration of a cream-cheese-based frosting.

In a few months, Nick and I will be tying the knot and celebrating with our nearest and dearest, some good food, and (hopefully) some homemade cake(s).

Personally, I have analysis paralysis sometimes, especially when it comes to picking a favorite dessert--I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens!  (Bonus points for knowing from which 1998 Drew Barrymore movie I stole that line).

Inevitably, this overwhelming love for dessert means that I'll be making several single-tier cakes, but the problem still remains in narrowing down my choices.  Obviously there must be a double chocolate cake for my sister Steph and a red velvet cake for my mother and a cheesecake for Nick, but what else? 

Funfetti?  Vanilla?  Almond?  Italian cream cake?  Strawberry?  Mix it up with brownies or crack pie?

I mean--sheesh!  How do you still pick from those?  Since we're not going around doing cake testing, I thought it would be kind of fun to still do it on a small scale to help us decide (and I'm sure that those getting in on the cake testing will certainly attest to its necessity).

This recipe is hopefully the first of several to undergo the test process, but it is still a favorite.  I scaled it down to two-fifths of the recipe for the sake of this small cake, but scaling it down is messy (think tablespoons mixed with teaspoons for each ingredient), so I have shared the whole, original, old-school recipe here, updated to have double the cream cheese frosting and everything.


1 stick (½ cup) butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 c oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup buttermilk
5 eggs, separated

12 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 stick butter
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)


1.  Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F

2.  Make the cake.
  • Prepare 3 round 9-inch cake pans by greasing, flouring, and lining with parchment paper.
  • Cream 1 stick butter, oil and sugar until smooth.
  • Add egg yolks and beat well. 
  • Add flour and baking soda to creamed mixture. 
  • Add the buttermilk, vanilla, coconut, and nuts.
  • In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Then, fold stiffly beaten egg whites into cake batter.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
3.  Make the frosting
  • Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add sugar and mix well.
  • Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Beat in nuts and coconut until well-combined.
4.  Frost cake and serve. Top with extra toasted coconut if desired for decoration.
5.  Store in the refrigerator covered or in an airtight container.


  1. This cake looks amazing! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

  2. I'm normally a chocolate fan, but that looks scrumptious!

    Bonus points for downsizing a cake! That can't have been easy.

    Can you add me to your small-batch recipe Pinterest board? Thanks!

  3. Red Velvet...hmmm...I can't seem to find the recipe on your site.