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Italian Cream Cheese Cake

Buttermilk makes every bite of this awesome Italian cream cheese cake recipe moist and flavorful. I rely on this recipe year-round.—Joyce Lutz, Centerview, Missouri
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 11 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three 9-in. round baking pans. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat until just combined. Stir in coconut and pecans.
  • In another bowl, beat egg whites with clean beaters until stiff but not dry. Fold one-fourth of the egg whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites. Pour into prepared pans.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in pecans. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Instead of buying buttermilk, you can place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and add enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. Or you can substitute 1 cup of plain yogurt for the buttermilk.
  • Unless otherwise specified, Taste of Home recipes are tested with lightly salted butter. Unsalted, or sweet, butter is sometimes used to achieve a buttery flavor, such as in shortbread cookies or buttercream frosting. In these recipes, added salt would detract from the buttery taste desired.
  • These 50 easy cakes make last-minute entertaining a breeze.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 slice: 736 calories, 41g fat (19g saturated fat), 117mg cholesterol, 330mg sodium, 90g carbohydrate (75g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • Tricia
      Jun 29, 2020

      I have tasted a lot of these cakes. This recipe is the best one yet. Very moist and delicious. A very big hit with my husband.

    • Pamela
      May 22, 2020

      I have 4 ?’s. For people who made this and left comments, 1. I purchased unsalted butter, ? Making on Monday. 2. Purchased Spectrum Natural Shortening? How did it work? 3. One person said used large single pan, can this change cake taste etc. 4. About Flour, what two flours did the lady use who made the comment? Thanks Pamela Pam[email protected]

    • Dave
      Apr 1, 2020

      Was delicious! First making this!!

    • Jan
      Apr 1, 2020

      I adjusted this recipe for high altitude (7200 ft) and increased the baking time. It is moist, sweet and probably one of the best cakes I've eaten. Thank you

    • Judy
      Apr 1, 2020

      This is a traditional cake in the South. We make them for holidays. But we call it an Italian Cream Cake since there is no cream cheese in the cake. Calling it a cheese cake is misleading. I have made these for 50 years.

    • sherry
      Mar 30, 2020

      For those who do not want to use shortening, Spectrum makes an organic shortening that uses no hydrogenated oils. I plan to make this using Spectrum and will post a review then. We can't eat an entire cake, and I hesitate to make this while we are still staying at home - there are only two of us. I normally bake for family and neighbors, but we aren't seeing anyone and I hesitate to drop off home baked goods to anyone.

    • Catherine
      Mar 30, 2020

      I have made this fantastic cake for Christmas for the past two years - it is definitely a keeper. On a cake stand it looks so grand. My daughter makes a wonderful raspberry glaze to drizzle over each slice. It is super moist and the icing is rich and creamy. 5 stars for sure!

    • Mary Lou
      Mar 30, 2020

      I don’t want to use shortening because it is hydrogenated and bad for heart health. What can I substitute for the shortening?

    • Steven
      Mar 29, 2020

      I don't have a review yet but have a question. I don't like coconut and since the recipe calls for a large amount, is there something I could/should put in as to not through off the recipe?

    • Gloria
      Mar 29, 2020

      I have the same recipe for years, it's the Italian Cream Cake. I thought this was a cheesecake recipe mocking the Italian Cream Cake but its not. I have made this cake for many groups and people and as always it was gone in 10 minutes. Always let the eggs stay out till room temperature, cold egg whites never fluff up. I use two kinds of flour to make a moist dense cake and it's delicious. I want to try the cheesecake recipe of this cake, I'm sure it too would be delish!!