If you love coconut, this stunning Italian Cream Cake, also known as the Italian Wedding Cake, is for you! It’s a recipe from my cake cookbook, The European Cake Cookbook. You’ll love everything about this cake, from the delicate coconut cake layers, to the fluffy coconut whipped cream frosting to the toasted coconut flakes! Every single fluffy and delicate bite of this cake is packed with incredible coconut flavor!
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Ingredients for Italian Wedding Cake
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for making this delicious coconut cake:
- Coconut Milk: I recommend using full-fat coconut milk for the most flavor.
- Coconut Extract: using coconut extract adds even more flavor without having to add too much liquid to the recipe.
- Coconut Milk Fat Solids: to get the milk fat solids, simply place a can of full-fat coconut milk into the refrigerator a few hours. Open the chilled milk and use a spoon to scoop out the fat that’s solidified at the top. The water will settle at the bottom.
- Butter: for making the cake layers
- Eggs, Sugar, Flour: for the cake layers
- Mascarpone: you can also use cream cheese for this recipe. Allow the cheese to soften for about 30 minutes, then use in the recipe.
- Heavy Cream: use very well chilled cream for best results.
- Shredded Coconut: sweetened and toasted coconut flakes are great for garnishing the cake. You can also add grated coconut into the cake layers.
Making The Coconut Cake Layers
Every part of this Italian Wedding Cake has some coconut flavor! I add coconut milk and coconut extract to the delicate, white coconut cake layers. The fatty coconut milk not only adds coconut flavor, but also makes the cake extra delicate and soft. Make sure to use full-fat milk for this recipe! I also like soaking the layers with more unsweetened coconut milk when I’m assembling the cake. This helps keep the cake nice and moist even when it’s refrigerated.
Making the Coconut Whipped Cream!
The coconut whipped cream frosting I use for this Italian Cream Cake is one of my favorites! I could literally eat it with a spoon, it’s that good!! The mild flavor of mascarpone combined with coconut milk and fluffy whipped cream is phenomenal! Here are some tips for making the frosting:
- Soften the mascarpone cheese at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Don’t let it stand for too long!
- Cream together the cheese and coconut milk until it’s super creamy and smooth! Make sure no clumps remain.
- Whisk the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form before adding the cheese mixture.
- Once you add the cheese mixture to the whipped cream, mix just until the cheese is mixed in and the frosting is fluffy. Do not overmix! Over mixing for even a few seconds can cause the frosting to separate. If you’re making this for the first time, mix the whipped cream frosting on low speed.
How to Make Coconut Italian Wedding Cake
Putting together this creamy Italian wedding cake is a breeze! Here’s how I do it:
- Allow the cake layers to cool completely! This is important, otherwise the frosting will melt! Take a long, serrated knife and carefully split the layers in half.
- Soak each cake layer lightly with coconut milk. This will make the cake more moist and add more coconut flavor!
- Spread a generous amount of the prepared coconut whipped cream onto each cake layer, the frost the top and sides.
- Garnish the cake with dollops of whipped cream and toasted coconut.
- This cake can be enjoyed right away, or stored in the refrigerated for up to 3 days.
The European Cake Cookbook
This amazing Italian cream cake recipe is from my cake cookbook, The European Cake Cookbook! This book is packed with 65, all-new cake recipes from all across Europe. I hand-picked each recipe and this Italian Wedding Cake has a special place in my book! Get your copy HERE!
Enjoyed this delicious tropical flavored cake recipe? Check out some of my other dessert recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Coconut Cupcakes – seriously, the best coconut cupcakes with bakery-style frosting and toasted coconut!
- Mango Cake – so light and fluffy and fruity! This amazing mango cake has it all!
- Coconut Kahlua Cake – this coconut coffee cake is made with coffee buttercream, chocolate ganache and more coconut!
- Coconut Lime Cheesecake – you’ll love this fluffy coconut cheesecake topped with lime curd!
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Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- I love these aluminum, 8-inch round cake pans for baking.
- And these pre-cut parchment paper rounds save a ton of time!
- Use a classic KitchenAid stand mixer, or this smaller handheld mixer.
- And this set of jumbo cake decorating tips are a must for all bakers.
Coconut Italian Wedding Cake Recipe (video)
For Cake Layers:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp coconut extract
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
For Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 8 oz mascarpone or cream cheese; softened
- 1/2 cup coconut milk fat solids
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 cups toasted coconut, for garnish
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, for soaking layers
For Coconut Cake Layers:
- Preheat oven to 350F (177C). Line two, 8-inch (20 cm) cake rounds with parchment paper and grease the sides.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes using a hand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the coconut extract and begin adding 1 egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour in the coconut milk.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter and then mix, mixing just until the flour is incorporated.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans. Bake in preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the layers from the oven and cool completely on wire rack. Once cooled, level the top of each layer and split the layers in half using a serrated knife.
For Toasted Coconut:
- Prepare the toasted coconut. Simply spread the shredded coconut over a baking tray and bake in preheated oven at 350F (177C), tossing every 2 to 3 minutes so it doesn’t burn. Once the coconut is golden brown, remove it from the oven and cool completely.
For Whipped Cream Frosting:
- Prepare the coconut whipped cream: in a small bowl, cream together the softened mascarpone cheese, coconut fat solids (see note in recipe post above) and coconut extract for a few minutes, until creamy and smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the chilled heavy cream and confectioner's sugar with mixer set on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
- Add the cheese and coconut cream mixture to whipped cream. Whisk again on high speed for about 30 seconds until stiff peaks form again. Transfer 2 cups (473 ml) of the cream into a pastry bag for garnishing the top; use an open star French tip such as 4FT or 9FT.
Assembling the Cake:
- Assembling the cake: before adding frosting between the cake layers, soak each layer generously with coconut milk. Transfer the remaining ½ cup coconut milk into a dispenser bottle or use a sponge to drizzle the milk over the layers. Spread each layer with a generous amount of frosting, then frost the top and sides of the cake. Pipe dollops of cream on top for the garnish. Press toasted coconut onto the sides of the cake and sprinkle over the top. Refrigerate cake if not serving right away.
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