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The Italian Wedding Cake

Italian wedding cake—also known as Italian cream cake—is actually a traditional Southern dessert. No one really knows how this coconut layer cake got its European name, but it certainly is a showstopper.

Courtesy: The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

The cake layers are rich and moist thanks to buttermilk and shredded coconut. To keep the cake light and fluffy, whipped egg whites are folded into the batter. A decadent cream cheese frosting is spread between the layers as well as across the top and sides of the cake. Finally, a garnish of additional shredded coconut finishes off the elegant dessert.

This elegant layer cake is ready to take centre stage at any dessert table. With the beautiful white cream cheese frosting and delicate coconut garnish, it is the perfect choice for a holiday meal, shower, or even a casual wedding. The best part is, this cake actually tastes better the next day, so it is an ideal make-ahead dessert.

Prep: 40 mins | Cook: 30 mins | Total: 70 mins | Servings: 8-10 servings



For the Cake

  • 5 eggs

  • 1 cup butter (softened)

  • 2 cups of sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 2 cups shredded coconut


For the Frosting

  • 1 pound powdered sugar

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Shredded coconut (for garnish)

Steps to Make It


Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Courtesy: The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  • Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

  • Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

  • Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat well. In another large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

  • Alternately add the buttermilk and flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until well combined.

  • Stir the shredded coconut into the mixture. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake layers from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the Frosting and Decorate

  • Make the frosting. In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth.

  • Place one cake layer on the serving platter and top with frosting. Place the other layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Sprinkle additional shredded coconut on top of the frosted cake and press lightly into the sides of the cake.
  • Cover until ready to serve. For best results, prepare this cake the day before you plan to serve.

  • Share a slice of Italian wedding cake with someone special. Enjoy!


Courtesy: The Spruce Eats, Kristina Vanni

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