Italian Cream Cheese Cake

Italian Coconut Cream Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting

When we were in need of a real showstopper of a dessert this fall, we knew that the fantastically-talented Janine Waite from Happy Happy Nester would know exactly what to make. Her pick: Italian Coconut Cream Cake with Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s a new twist on a classic, and it’ll be refreshingly unexpected when your guests arrive this season, whether it’s for a grand event like Thanksgiving, or a casual catch-up with tea and cake on a blustery Sunday.

There’s something about a classic cake recipe that brings back memories of baking alongside Grandma in the kitchen as a child. Even if this recipe is new to you, the steps will feel familiar, comforting, and nostalgic. Turn on some festive music, preheat the oven, and start making new memories!

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Italian Cream Cheese Cake

Italian Coconut Cream Cake


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 eggs (separate eggs)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • ½ cup cooking oil (like coconut or canola)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 7 ounces of shredded coconut


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with wax paper and grease once again. Sprinkle flour and coat the entire inside of the pans, then tap out the excess.

2. Mix buttermilk and baking soda together and set aside.

3. In another mixing bowl, separate eggs and beat whites until stiff. Set aside.

4. Cream together the butter, cooking oil, and sugar.

5. Add egg yolks one at a time to the cream/butter mixture. Beat well after each addition.

6. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together.

7. Add the buttermilk and flour mix to the egg mixture, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

8. Next, add vanilla and salt to the cake batter.

9. Fold in egg whites and stir in gently, then carefully fold in the pecans and coconut.

10. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 25 minutes at 350° F, or until a toothpick comes out of the batter mostly clean.

11. Cool on a rack and remove wax paper.

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Italian Cream Cheese Cake

Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 cups powder sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree


1. Beat butter and cream cheese together, then slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

2. Measure 1 ¾ cups of the frosting and add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pumpkin. Beat till smooth.

3. Place bottom cake layer on a cake platter and frost the top with the pumpkin frosting. Place the second layer on top and finish frosting the rest of the cake with the plain cream cheese frosting.

4. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

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Janine Waite and Family


Be sure to follow Janine Waite from Happy Happy Nester on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest for other delicious recipes and fabulous tips this holiday season!


All photos courtesy Mark Yamamoto from My Photography.


Hi John,

Thanks so much for your insightful comment. Yes, definitely try coconut oil! I haven’t baked much with this oil, so I would be interested to see your results. Let me know how it comes out. I hope you like my recipe. 🙂

Where does the 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) in the Frosting ingredients get mixed in? Its listed in the ingredients but I don’t see it in the directions for mising the frosting.

Hi Donna,
Janine here from the Happy Happy Nester. In baking the wax paper lines, the cake pans so that the baked cake will evenly come out of the pan. To answer your question, the wax paper doesn’t melt in the oven. If you like, you probably can use parchment paper? Good luck and I hope you make the cake! 🙂

Oh my word … this looks, sounds and reads delicious!!!
I am going to try it!
Any thoughts on using this recipe for a Bundt Cake? Wonder how much of the recipe would go on the Bundt Cake pan or Cupcake holders.
In any case … this is a licking the bowl and spatual recipe!

I’ve made this recipe as cupcakes, and they come out great! The only thing you’ll miss is the pumpkin spice filling that is in the middle of the cake. 🙂 I haven’t made it as a bundt cake, but again you’ll miss the delicious pumpkin filling. But, either way, your ideas will totally work since this cake is a moist and delicious recipe and the cream cheese frosting is a nice compliment.

The frosting recipe lists butter as an ingredient but then nowhere in the instructions does it indicate when to use it. I’m a bit of a baking novice, so I’m wondering if the butter is actually needed? Thanks for clarifying.

Hi Jen,
This is Janine from the Happy Happy Nester. Glad you like my recipe. So, the frosting calls for butter and if you look at “1” in the instruction it says to “beat butter.” Hope this helps and that you make this lovely cake. Thanks for your question, happy to help!

Hi Liz,
This is Janine from the Happy Happy Nester. I haven’t tried this recipe with gluten free flour. I guess you can try and see. Does King Arthur have a gluten free flour? I am impressed with their gluten free pancake mix. Also, there are so many GF flours to choose from and they have come a long way! Let me know how it comes out if you make this cake.

Best gluten free flour is ” cup 4 cup” brand. My guests don’t even realize it’s not regular flour. It’s better than King arthur or other brands.. This cake recipe turned out amazing!! It’s my all time favorite cake..thank you!

I am gluten free too. I’m thinking if you use gluten free flour you will also need some baking powder. Without it I don’t know if it will rise. I use a mix of white rice flour, potato starch, corn starch ( in place of tapioca starch) and xanthum gum.

What did I do wrong? My cake oozed out of the pans while cooking and it took another 40 minutes to get a toothpick to come out clean. After cooling they fell to goo. I looked over the recipe and I followed it exactly. What happened?

I made this for Thanksgiving and it turned out great! I didn’t have wax or parchment paper on hand, but I didn’t have any problems with sticking or the cake breaking apart. I used coconut oil inst ad of Canola. It was perfect! Thank you for the recipe. We enjoyed it!

I just made this for my son,with cup 4 cup gluten free flour as he is a celiac, and both he and my husband said it was the best cake they have ever eaten Thank you!!

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