Italian Cream Cupcakes

Luscious Italian Cream Cupcakes have an incredible delicate crumb and are capped with sweetened cream cheese frosting. Studded with toasted pecans and shredded coconut throughout allows its creamy and nutty flavors to emerge in every bite.

Italian Cream Cupcakes | URBAN BAKES

These Italian cream cupcakes are to die for! Right from the first bite, the frosting and white cake simply melts in your mouth. A huge compliment to Italian cream because truth be told, I’m personally not big on cream cheese and coconut but while eating these, I completely forgot it was there. That’s how well the flavors blend together. It’s SO GOOD, I’ll be making this again, and again!

It’s been said Italian cream cake is from the South, specifically Texas and there’s nothing truly “Italian” about it. Regardless of where it originated or how it got its name, this cake flavor goes straight on the list as one of my favorites.

Italian Cream Cupcakes | URBAN BAKES

What is Italian Cream Cake?

Italian cream cake is a white or vanilla-flavored sponge cake baked with toasted pecans and shredded coconut. (Here, I’ve chosen to reduce the quantity of the ingredients typically needed for a cake and instead made a cupcake version.) It’s known for its incredible tenderness and flavor which in part comes from the buttermilk, an acid that acts on gluten (protein) tenderizing it and thus producing a more delicate crumb. The coconut not only adds flavor but also moisture. And the larger than usual quantity of eggs used in Italian Cream recipe creates wonderful richness in flavor.

The base of the frosting can be made of whipped heavy cream or cream cheese; though sweetened cream cheese frosting tends to be more common. And while some recipes call for pecans mixed within the frosting, others will have the pecans and sometimes also flaked or shredded coconut sprinkled on top.

Italian Cream Cupcakes | URBAN BAKES

There are many people I know that are quite finicky when it comes to coconut. Myself, included. I’ve found that I can tolerate small amounts and prefer unsweetened over sweetened as the flavor tends to be less intense. The cupcakes shown use unsweetened coconut. The downside to using this variation is that it’s drier. Sweetened shredded coconut will add more moisture to the recipe. If you’re like me, using unsweetened may be more tolerable. But if you’re really opposed to coconut, feel free to omit it though I will say, you may be surprised!

Italian Cream Cupcakes | URBAN BAKES

Don’t forget to check out my latest Instagram reel on these cupcakes HERE!

Italian Cream Cupcakes | URBAN BAKES

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Italian Cream Cupcakes | URBAN BAKES

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Italian Cream Cupcakes | URBAN BAKES

Italian Cream Cupcakes

  • Author: URBAN BAKES
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Luscious Italian Cream Cupcakes have an incredible delicate crumb and are capped with sweetened cream cheese frosting. Studded with toasted pecans and shredded coconut throughout allows its creamy and nutty flavors to emerge in every bite.




  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (30 grams) sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup (37 grams) pecans, chopped and toasted


  • 8 oz (226 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 grams) milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 5 cups (575 grams) powdered sugar


  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) pecans, finely chopped and toasted
  • 1/2 cup (30 grams) sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 16 pecan halves


  1. CUPCAKES: Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).  Line 16 cupcake wells with cupcake liner; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer or a large bowl fitted to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Increase speed to high and add eggs one at a time until well combined. Decrease speed to low and gradually add flour and baking soda, continue to mix until smooth. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix until just combined. Fold in coconut and pecans. 
  3. Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full of batter which is about 1/4 cup. 
  4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs. Let cupcakes rest in the pan for 1 minute before carefully removing them onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature.  
  5. FROSTING: Meanwhile, in the bowl fitted to an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low to medium speed, beat cream cheese, butter, 1 tablespoon of milk and vanilla until smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, continue to mix until thick and smooth. If the frosting becomes too thick, add the remaining tablespoon of milk. 
  6. ASSEMBLY: In a large piping bag fitted with a standard-size decorating coupler, fill the bag with frosting, about 3/4 full. Twist the wide-end opening of the bag to push down and seal in the frosting.  Cut the tip of the piping bag. 
  7. Pipe a ring of frosting toward the outer edge over the cupcake and lightly dip the piped frosting into a shallow bowl of finely chopped pecans. 
  8. At the center of the cupcake, pipe swirls clockwise or counterclockwise working inward toward the center with each layer of the swirl. Sprinkle coconut and top the tip of the frosting with a pecan half.
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Cupcakes

Keywords: Italian cream cupcakes, Italian cream cake, white cake with pecans and coconut, pecans and coconut, cream cheese frosting

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