Triple Layer Italian Cream Cake

  • Yield: 20 servings

"While searching online for an upgrade to a particular cake recipe I had been using, I came across one that had all the elements I was looking for, plus room for my own additions. My old standby was missing that certain 'X' factor or 'je ne sais quoi.' I needed a more drool-worthy recipe for a cake contest during the annual church picnic celebrating our pastor’s 50th birthday. I had to come up with a recipe that was beyond good, I had to bake a winner. And a winner it was! Out of 28 entries, my cake took the prize for 'Best Tasting' cake with good reason. It’s an out of the ordinary, super moist, lick the plate clean, and 'I don’t care how many lunges I have to do at the gym—it’s worth it!' kind of good. However, possibly the best description and compliment given this cake was from a gentleman at the picnic who said, 'Your cake was just like the weather tonight, perfect . . . absolutely perfect.' I couldn’t agree more, nor think of a better cake to 'relish' and celebrate a birthday with.—Mary Vander Lugt, Holland, Mich.


1cup buttermilk
1teaspoon baking soda
2cups granulated sugar
1/2cup (1 stick) butter
1/2cup vegetable oil
1/2cup butter-flavored shortening
4 egg yolks
1teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
2cups all-purpose flour
1cup (heaping) unsweetened coconut
1cup (heaping) chopped pecans
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2cup (1 stick) butter, softened
4cups powdered sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
Coconut milk (optional)
Extra chopped pecans and coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 3 (9-inch) round cake pans.
  2. To prepare cake, combine soda and buttermilk in small bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine sugar, butter, oil and shortening in large mixing bowl. Beat with a mixture at medium-high speed until creamy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add buttermilk mixture alternately with flour to creamed mixture; beat well. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter; quickly fold in remaining whites. Stir in pecans and coconut. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan and let cool completely.
  5. To make frosting, beat together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar. Shake can of coconut milk well before opening and slowly pour in small amounts of milk to taste (optional), until frosting reaches the desired consistency. Adjust any frosting ingredients to consistency and taste needed.
  6. To assemble cake, place one layer on a plate. Spread frosting on top. Refrigerate 10 minutes until frosting is firm. Repeat with second and third layers, spread frosting on top and sides of cake.
  7. For garnish, toast chopped pecans and coconut 8 minutes in 350Foven, until coconut is golden brown, stirring often so coconut does not burn. Let cool. Stir mixture and pat onto sides of the cake. Take any remaining frosting or make an additional half of the frosting recipe to pipe extra around perimeter of cake. Refrigerate cake to ensure firming of layers and frosting.  Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

Recipe by Azalea Stephens, Dayton, Texas