Italian Cream Layer Cake

You might be surprised to hear that of all the desserts in my baking obsessed world, cake isn’t my first pick when it comes to sweets.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love a slice of cake from time to time, but of all the delicious desserts, I’d pass it by for a decadent bowl of pudding or a light crispy cookie any day.

Now…with that said, there’s Italian Cream Cake.   Oh my goodness.  Here is an exception to my former rule.  One bite of this cake and I’m transported to a happy, happy place.  Most cakes, while much enjoyed, are pretty easy to part with and share with friends.  This cake however, was much harder to separate from.  I literally could have consumed the entire cake without much regard.  The combination of tangy cream cheese, sweet coconut and toasted walnuts is so irresistible and completely self-indulgent…I’m hopelessly in love.

I urge you to give this cake a try…but please try to share.  Can I please have a slice??

For the Cake:          {Print Recipe}

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

5 whole eggs (separated)

3 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

2 cups all-purpose flour (+1 Tbsp for high altitude)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup buttermilk (+2 Tbsp for high altitude)

For the Frosting:

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped + more for garnish

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Making the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour (3) 9” round cake pans (and add parchment, if desired) and set aside.  In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium high speed until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, combine the butter, oil & sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Lower the speed and add the egg yolks, vanilla and coconut.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix well after each addition.  Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.  Divide the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle the top of each batter filled pan with 1 Tbsp. sugar.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pan(s) on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.  Remove the cakes from the pan by sliding a knife around the perimeter of the pan.  Allow the cakes to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.

Making the frosting:

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Stir the coconut and toasted, chopped walnuts into the frosting mixture or set aside to decorate the outside of the cake (I stirred the coconut into the frosting and used the walnuts for garnish).  Spread the frosting between the layers of cake, the top and all sides.  If using the walnuts for garnish, lightly press the walnuts around the perimeter of the cake.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Storage:  This cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.  Remove the cake from the refrigerator 2-3 hours before serving as it is best served at room temperature for the most perfect texture and consistency.

Enjoy! xoxo


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