Decorated Italian Cream Cake from Cake Mix on Granite Counter

Best Italian Cream Cake From Cake Mix

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Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Allison Lancaster

In the mood for a delicious Italian cream cake but not really in the mood to spend hours baking? This Italian Cream cake from cake mix is sure to be a family favorite recipe. The best part? It’s so decadent they’ll never know you didn’t make it from scratch!

Made with a store-bought cake mix and a few other easily ready ingredients you will wow your guests with a decadent cake that they will believe comes from a bakery. Little do they know, it only took you a small amount of time to put it together. Work smarter, not harder!

Italian cream cake on white plate on counter top with candle in background.

Why You’ll Love this Italian Cream Cake from Box Cake Mix

Can I tell you a secret? Until this year, I had never had an Italian Cream Cake. I know…shocker!

I am a HUGE fan of coconut cake though and when my mom’s birthday was coming up, I knew I wanted to bake her cake this year.

She loves coconut about as much as I do, so I thought her birthday would be the perfect time to make her an Italian Cream Cake.

The only problem? Most Italian Cream Cake recipes call for sifting flour and all of those other things that I simply didn’t have the time for.

The solution? Use a store-bought white cake mix, add a few special ingredients, and viola! Italian Cream Cake that is so good they’ll never know it wasn’t made from scratch! I love making a box cake mix taste homemade and this cake is one of my top favorites!

How to Make Italian Cream Cake From a Cake Mix

Italian Cream Cake Ingredients & Substitutions

Glass bowl of cake mix for Italian Cream Cake From Cake Mix being mixed by whisk.
Stock images by Depositphotos
  • white cake mix: I personally prefer the Baker’s Corner (Aldi store brand) for this recipe but you can use whatever mix you have on hand.
  • buttermilk (or heavy cream): this is key to making a creamy and decadent cake that your guests will love. I don’t personally keep buttermilk on hand and have found that heavy cream works just fine as well.
  • coconut oil: This really makes the coconut flavor pop. Make sure you are using a high-quality coconut oil for this.
  • chopped pecans: One hack to make this recipe easier is to use the chopped pecans that you can purchase in the baking section of your grocery store.

Equipment Needed for This Italian Cream Cake

I love using my Kitchenaid mixer anytime that I am making a cake or other baked goods. Below you’ll find a few of my other favorite baking tools as well!


Best Italian Cream Cake Recipe FAQ’s

What type of cake mix should I use for Italian Cream Cake?

I used the store-brand (huge Aldi fan here!) white cake mix when making this or other cake mix desserts. You can use any brand of white cake mix that you prefer, one is no better than the other in my opinion!

You’ll be adding the ‘special ingredients’ to take your cake to the next level.

How far in advance can I make Italian Cream Cake from cake mix?

I made mine the day before. I just had some extra time before my mom’s birthday so I thought, “why not?”. The cake held up perfectly and honestly, I think the extra time gave the flavors a bit of time to settle into the cake.

I wouldn’t make it any more than 2 days ahead of time though. If you want an easy cake to make ahead of time, you should try my old-fashioned applesauce cake which can last up to 5 days in the fridge!

How do I make Frosting for an Italian Cream Cake?

To make the frosting for your Italian cream cake, you’ll first gather your ingredients and follow the instructions in the recipe card below.

  • cream cheese: I personally use the Aldi brand of cream cheese, any store brand cream cheese will work. I don’t suggest using a light or low fat cream cheese for this recipe though.
  • butter: I prefer salted butter for this recipe but you can also use unsalted butter if you prefer. If you do, add a pinch of salt to your frosting before mixing.
  • powdered sugar: I would suggest sifting your powdered sugar to give it a smoother texture
  • vanilla & almond extracts: make sure to use high quality extracts

How do I make Italian Cream Cake From A Cake Mix?

It’s so easy! The box cake mix is going to do most of the work for you. You just add your own touches to this delicious recipe. They’ll never know it started with a cake mix!

How to Store Italian Cream Cake

I personally stored mine in my handy dandy cakekeeper that I’ve had for years. I would be sure to store this cake in the fridge though since the icing has cream cheese in it.

Italian Cream Cake From a Cake Mix Recipe

Best Italian Cream Cake From Cake Mix

Best Italian Cream Cake From Cake Mix

Yield: 8 Slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
In the mood for a delicious Italian cream cake but not really in the mood to spend hours baking? This Italian Cream cake is made using a cake mix. The best part? It's so decadent they'll never know you didn't make it from scratch!


  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk (or heavy cream)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • 1-8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp almond extract 
  • 1 -1/2 cup toasted pecans for garnish
  • 1 -1/2 cup toasted coconut for garnish


    Cake Batter:

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
    2. Mix cake mix, buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil and coconut oil together in a large mixer until smooth (be careful not to over mix!
    3. While mixing, add 1/2 cup of coconut flakes & 1/2 cup chopped pecans to a baking sheet and put in oven while preheating to toast both coconut & pecans (this step is optional but I highly recommend it!). Toast in oven for 5-10 minutes, turning with a spatula ever 1-2 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
    4. Add in toasted pecans and coconut flakes to batter, fold into batter with a spatula.
    5. Spray 2-9" round cake pans with non-stick spray. Divide batter in 1/2 and pour into the pans.
    6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the center of each cake and it comes out clean.
    7. Cool both layers for 20-30 minutes on counter.
    8. Remove layers from cake pans and let cool for 60 minutes on wire racks.
    9. While oven is still hot, add coconut & pecans for garnish for top of cake into oven and toast them following the same steps above (#3).

Italian Cream Cake Frosting:

  1. Allow butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature until softened.
  2. Mix together cream cheese and butter until well mixed
  3. Add in powdered sugar (1/3 cup at a time), mixing until well combined
  4. Add vanilla & almond extracts
  5. Add 1/2 cup of toasted pecans and 1/2 cup of coconut to icing, fold in until well combined
  6. Add frosting to cake. Garnish with remaining toasted coconut & pecans

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 675Total Fat: 60gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 345mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 8g

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  1. this is it! the one with the perfect recipe! all the right ingredients and toasted goodness. thank you. no more searching for this old grandma.

  2. Can you substitute rum extract for the vanilla. And almond in this Italian cream

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