Italian Wedding Cake

Italian Wedding Cake

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

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.

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 center 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.


  • For the Cake:
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 cups 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 cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Garnish:
  • Shredded coconut

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.

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

    Gather the ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside. 

    Separate the eggs and beat the whites
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 

    Beat butter and sugar
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat well. 

    Mix in the yolks and vanilla
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  5. In another large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

    Mix the dry ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  6. Alternately add the buttermilk and flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until well combined. 

    Mix the dry and wet ingredients
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  7. Stir the shredded coconut into the mixture.

    Mix the coconut into the cake
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  8. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

    Fold in the egg whites
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 

    Bake the Italian Wedding Cakes
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  10. Remove the cake layers from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

    Cool the Italian Wedding Cakes
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Make the Frosting and Decorate

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

    Ingredients for frosting for Italian Wedding Cake
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. 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. 

    top with frosting
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. Sprinkle additional shredded coconut on top of the frosted cake and press lightly into the sides of the cake.

    Sprinkle additional shredded coconut
     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. Cover until ready to serve. For best results, prepare this cake the day before you plan to serve. 

    Italian Wedding Cake Recipe
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni 
  5. Share a slice of Italian wedding cake with someone special. Enjoy!

    Slice of Italian Wedding Cake
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni