This is my mom’s Italian Cream Cake recipe. It’s chock full of coconut, pecans and buttery goodness— iced with a rich cream cheese frosting. This cake is a labor of love and only makes appearances during the most special time of the year in our house—Christmas.
Heat the oven to 350 °F. Spray 3 cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper and set aside. Place the egg whites in a clean mixer bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes until stiff peaks form. Place the whipped egg whites in a separate bowl.
Wash and dry the mixer bowl and beaters. Place the softened butter in the clean bowl and beat until creamy about 1 – 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla and continue to beat with the electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.
In a separate bowl sift together the baking soda and cake flour. Slowly alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the creamy butter mixture. Stir in the coconut and pecans with a spatula. Fold in the beaten egg whites with an over and under stirring motion.
Bake the cakes on the center oven rack for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes before icing.
For the Icing:
Combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a mixer bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
Ice in between each cake layer and sides. Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1/2 cup of finely chopped nuts.