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Caramel Italian Cream Cake


Prep Time:


Cooking Time:

23 to 25 minutes




  • 3 cups shaved coconut
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  •   Quick Caramel Frosting
  •   Cream Cheese Frosting


Brown sugar is the shortcut to quick caramel flavor in both the cake layers and the frosting.


Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Place shaved coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan. Plance pecans in a second shallow pan. Bake coconut and pecans at the same time 5 to 7 minutes or until coconut is toasted and pecans are lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add granulated and brown sugars, beating well. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, beating until blended.

Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in pecans and 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut.

Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

Bake at 350 deg F for 23 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove pans from racks and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Prepare Quick Caramel Frosting. Immediately spread frosting between layers and on top of cake. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting over sides of cake; press 2 cups toasted shaved coconut onto sides of cake.


Like the classic caramel frosting, this one hardens quickly, so cool the cake layers before you start to make it.

1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bring first 3 ingredients to a rolling boil in a 3 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly (about 7 minutes)

Stir in cream and bring to a boil; remove from heat. Pour into a bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and vanilla at medium speed, using whisk attachment; beat 8 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Use immediately.

TIP: Don’t panic if you overbeat the frosting. Thin to a spreadable consistency by adding 1 to 2 teaspoon hot water.


Beat 1/4 cup butter, softened and 4 ounces cream cheese, softened at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.