Italian Cream Cake


Italian Cream Cake

Italian Cream Cake
2 Hr
15 Min

We've got a dessert recipe that's as good as gold! Our bakery-style Italian Cream Cake recipe may be a box cake mix recipe, but it ends up with layer upon layer of a to-die-for from-scratch taste that'll make you feel like a star baker. You're gonna love how easy it is to make this fantastic cake recipe, and anyone who's lucky enough to get a bite will too. 

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What You'll Need

  • 1 (16.5-ounce) package white cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted, divided
  • 3 tablespoons rum (optional)
  • 2 (16-ounce) containers cream cheese frosting

What to Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour. (Yes, 3 layers!)
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cake mix, eggs, buttermilk, and oil 2 minutes. Stir in coconut and 3/4 cup pecans. Pour batter evenly into cake pans.
  3. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
  4. Sprinkle each cake layer with rum, if desired; let stand 10 minutes.
  5. Stir together frosting and remaining 1 cup pecans. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake (See Tips). Chill 2 hours before slicing.

Mr. Food Test Kitchen Tip!

  • The best way to frost a cake like this is to schmear the outside of the cake with a thin layer of the frosting. Pop it in the fridge to firm up and then cover that layer with more frosting. The results…a picture perfect cake that will melt in your mouth.
  • If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out our free eBook, Classic Cakes: 24 Easy Cake Recipes to Enjoy Year-Round!
  • We've got even more Italian sweets like this Italian Cream Cake recipe in our collection of 8 Easy Italian Dessert Recipes, so be sure to check them all out! 

Nutritional InformationShow More

Servings Per Recipe: 12

  • Amount Per Serving % Daily Value *
  • Calories 589
  • Calories from Fat 284
  • Total Fat 32g 48 %
  • Saturated Fat 7.7g 38 %
  • Trans Fat 0.0g 0 %
  • Protein 5.6g 11 %
  • Amount Per Serving % Daily Value *
  • Cholesterol 50mg 17 %
  • Sodium 425mg 18 %
  • Total Carbohydrates 75g 25 %
  • Dietary Fiber 1.8g 7 %
  • Sugars 54g 0 %

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P.S. That's one and one half cups of flour 1 1/2

could I use walnuts instead of Pecan nuts?

Hi there! Yes, you can substitute walnuts for pecans in this recipe. Enjoy!

Doesn't Mr food know that cake mixes have been reduced in size by 3oz. ? Some store brands are about 15.5oz but most aren't. All "old style" recipes using cake mixes can't be used and expect them to turn out right.

Hi there! Thanks for your comment. While we do know that the general size of cake mixes has changed over the years, old recipes will still work with the newly sized mixes. Enjoy!

Yes, they work but are SMALLER after baking. Been there and found that out. That's why I got the cake 'upsizer' recipe from my food editor.

I wrote to my newspaper food editor and she researched an UPSIZER. Here is the recipe. I have used it several times and it DOES WORK! 1 1/2 C. Flour 1 cup sugar 2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. baking soda MIX all together and store in tight container. To increase your 15.25 oz cake mix to the 18.25 oz. ADD 3 TBS. of the mixture. (NO NEED TO CHANGE ANY OTHER INGREDIENTS) For chocolate cake substitute 3 oz. (6TBS) of the flour with cocoa powder. I made a container for chocolate cake also. IT DOES WORK AND I AM HAPPY WITH IT,

P.S. That's one and one half cups of flour.

can i use a 9x13 baking dish

Yes, you can certainly make this cake in a 9- x 13-baking dish. However, your baking time will change. We suggest baking according to the cake mix package directions. Also, if you're making this cake in a 9 x 13, you will only need 1 container of cream cheese frosting, as it will not be a layered cake and you will only need to frost the top. Enjoy!

are you upsizing to 16.5 or 18.5 as you stated or is that a typo?

where is the receipe for the cookie being shown to the left with the cherry in the middle

I got so many compliments on this cake. I'm making it a second time for a potluck dinner. I did make my own cream cheese frosting. And I though it came out great.

Delish!!! Did not use coconut [allergies] used a pecan-flavoured white cake mix, used the buttermilk, did a slab cake with only on tin of creamcheese frosting...wonderful, a keeper

Can you use rum extract in place of rum? If so, how much?

Rum cannot be replaced by rum extract.

I used 1 tsp rum extract and 2 TBLSP water. turned out Very well. (GOOD)!

You should let them know at Mr. Food - they must not be reading the comments in these - where someone has posted after their reply.

what can we use instead of buttermilk

Add vinegar to milk a few minutes before adding to batter. I use a Tablespoon of vinegar per cup so this recipe would use about 1 Tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon. It curdles and acts just like buttermilk in a recipe.

There's a powdered product called Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend that is available on many supermarket shelves. It's to be mixed with water, and does a really good job in recipes such as this. King Arthur flour also has a buttermilk powder. Keeps for years!

You can use any cake mix without pudding in it. Just add a package of instant pudding mix. I've done this with many recipes. Also why can't one just use flaked coconut from a package measuring out 3+ ounces? Seems reasonable to me. So many wonderful desserts can be made using cake mixes. When I was younger I made scratch recipes. Now I know better and have better things to do with my time. Also one can use any frosting on any cake or none at all. It's a choice!!

What size package of instant pudding mix?

Where to get Appleton rum in batter please?

Appleton spiced rum is a brand of rum and you would most likely find it at a liquor store. However, since this is a suggestion from one of our other subscribers, we can not guarantee the outcome. Thank you!

Appleton spiced rum in batter sounds great, where to get it please.


I never cared for coconut, but I'll try the frozen if you say it's better.

Excellent recipe

Hi! I would very much appreciate it if the nutrition info was also included with each recipe as a lot of other recipe sites do. Could this be added... This would be so helpful, Please, please include this information

I agree whole heartily, I would like to see the nutritional information for recipes too!

Made it in a sheet cake pan. That worked fine.

by "sheet cake", do you mean a jelly roll pan - cookie sheet with short sides, or did you use a 13x9 pan? I don't make layer cakes - too much fuss and muss - have never made this delicious-sounding cake because I don't want to make three layers! So I was relieved to hear that somebody bakes it in other than three layers!

I made this cake and everyone loved it!! Even my hard to please husband. This will be on my favorites list for sure!!!!

Very good, moist cake. I added a small can of crushed pineapple (not drained). Used Appleton Spiced Rum in Batter, on cakes and in Frosting. I also toasted the coconuts and pecans.

where do i find the coconut in the can ?

I think you might find it in the same place where they have the bagged coconut. If not, just ask the clerk and they will help you. Enjoy your cake.

Thank you Mr Food...I made this cake for my daughter's birthday as a surprise...I worried that it wouldn't turn out right...It turned out beautifully I followed your direction to the letter and all went well.

Hi! I would very much appreciate it if the nutrition info was also included with each recipe as a lot of other recipe sites do. Could this be added?

Can this cake be done in either a Bundt or Tube Pan?

where do you find replay to any of the comments?

Dear Mr Food, Your the best, you have made my life so much easier with your recipes. They are quick and simple and your right they are OH! SOOOOOOO GOOD!

Thanks for jogging my brain. How simple could it be. My cousin had a great pistacio cake made with instant pistacio pudding. It was outstanding. She used a white cake mix and also did a whip creme frosting using another pkg of pudding. BonAptit

Here is the URL to find how to add pudding to your cake mix to make it a cake mix with pudding.

A few years ago, cake mix with pudding in the mix was very popular. It started out with new recipes that added pudding, but the cake mix companies started putting pudding in the mix. I don't know if they still do. I don't seem to be seeing it on the shelves anymore. Maybe there is a homemade version to be found on the web, by making a search to find it.

Cake mixes with pudding in the mix are still available. Just look on the cake mix shelves. I get them all the time. Betty Crocker Super Moist, and at the very bottom of the front of the box says..."As always, pudding in the mix." I know this because I just cheated and looked at a box in my pantry:))

I'd like to know where I can get a cake with pudding in it also. Someone please explain or tell me where I can purchase one. By the way,, no one has to use canned frosting, please feel free to make your own.

Cake was easy to make and the taste was ate the cake in one day.

I made cupcakes using BOTH this recipe and another "from scratch" recipe the same day. I asked my family to judge which they liked best. I made frosting from scratch for both recipes. For the scratch mix, I frosted with plain frosting and sprinkled toasted coconut on top. For Mr.Food recipe, I mixed the coconut and nuts into my frosting. The MrFood's recipe (although made with a cake mix) with the coconut/nut/cream cheese frosting was voted #1. So don't knock this recipe until you try it.

Is thei REALLY how people cook now--with box cake mixes and canned frosting? Do they not have any tastebuds or are they just used to everything tasting like cardboard and preservatives? How sad!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my word Yes this is really how people cook I am wondering why you are commenting on cake mix recipes if you find them so abhorrent Cake mixes certainly do not taste like cardboard and preservatives They have the same ingredients in them that you would use to make a scratch cake just a lot less work for people who don't have all day to make things from scratch and that is why they were invented in the first place and less stuff on your shelves Canned frosting can certainly be less desirable so I might agree with you on that one but it has its place as well And for general information I usually warm canned frosting in the microwave until a slightly runny consistency and use it as a light frosting or simply drizzle it over a bundt cake if I do not want a thickly frosted cakeRead More Saves lots of frosting and I can use it for several cakes that way Stick the rest of in the frig until next time

I cook sweets only or times a year for special occasions Your flour and leavening agents become rancid and ineffective if they are not used timely so I have discarded ingredients that I am not sure are fresh out of my cupboard and freezer in favor of new products If I were to buy flour baking soda powder etc each time each cake would be prohibitive and would make more sense to go to a professional bakery and get the cake So yes I am an experienced baker from years ago but have no problem using a box mix freshly purchased from a grocery with fresh ingredients and going from there There's room in this world for baking purists such as yourself with plenty of time and also for working moms who need to 'bring home the bacon' plus cook it when they get there and I do not apologize forRead More accessing shortcuts when I need to

The recipe says white cake mix with pudding??? I did not understand that and the video said nothing about pudding???? Do I get vanilla pudding mix and add with cake mix or buy prepared pudding and pour in, or make a vanilla pudding and stire in. OR is there a cake mix that I have not found that sayd with pudding on the package?

There are many cake mixes on the supermarket shelfs and some say they are made with added pudding. I believe this is the kind to look for.


I made this cake Sunday morning and took it to dinner at a friend's home. I thought it was very rich and tasty. Only problem I encountered was that even after chilling in the fridge as suggested, it tended to crumble quite a bit when slicing. Best to make it the day before to really let it "set". (Friend's 4 year old granddaughter did not like the texture - nuts and coconut.)

I am certain that this Italian cake is very good but this one is awesome ITALIAN CREAM CAKE stick butter c sugar egg yolks c chopped nuts tsp vanilla c Crisco or other shortening c plain flour c buttermilk tsp soda sm can Angel Flake coconut egg whites stiffly beaten small jar maraschino cherries drained Cream butter shortening Add sugar and egg yolks and beat well Add flour and soda which have been sifted together alternately with buttermilk Stir in vanilla and add nuts and coconut and cherries Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites Pour into greased and floured inch layer cake pans Bake at degrees for minutes FROSTING FOR ITALIAN CREAM CAKE oz cream cheese room temperature stick butter room temperature box powdered sugar tsp vanilla c nuts chopped half a jar of maraschino cherries drained Mix all ingredients together and spread on layers and top of cake I usuallyRead More double the frostin

Good grief! Just reading the ingredients gave me pause. No doubt that with all the eggs and butter and beating and sifting, your CAKE is most delicious. However, the purpose of the Mr. Food recipe is to SIMPLIFY the task of baking a cake that turns out so very delicious too.

Wow, that sounds totally awesome and totally time-consuming, and totally full of ingredients that would give me pause to keep on my shelves (especially maraschino cherries which are not my cup of tea taste-wise and totally full of food coloring). Other than that, that is why I use cake mixes when I don't want to go to all that trouble. Not that I don't bake from scratch sometimes; I just choose not to as a rule.


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