Orange Italian Cream Cake

This Orange Italian Cream Cake is a spin-off of the traditional Italian Wedding Cake.

Not only is it beautiful, it’s delicious and perfect for any special occasion or holiday!

Orange Italian Cream Cake on cake plate with oranges in the background

There are many variations of Italian Cream cake recipes, but the basic ingredients are:  coconut-infused white cake, nestled between layers of orange curd, topped with with pecan cream cheese frosting.

Why you’ll love this recipe!

  • All-natural, no preservatives – made from scratch, no boxed cake mixes 
  • Beautiful – definitely a show-stopper on your dessert table
  • Delicious – fresh flavor, nice texture–not too sweet

This recipe is considered intermediate level because there are many components. I recommend you read the instructions twice, if not three times, then work in steps. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

Italian Cream Cake consists of four main components: cake, orange curd, frosting and glazed pecans.

You will need:

  • Flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, eggs, butter, baking soda, cornstarch, shortening, vanilla extract, corn syrup, coconut, orange juice, buttermilk, cream cheese, pecan halves, orange zest
  • Stand mixer
  • 3- nine inch cake pans

Do not be intimidated by the ingredient list.

Make this recipe in steps and you’ll find it much easier than tackling all in one day, as it does require a significant amount of time for the cake and orange curd to chill.

The orange curd needs to chill for 6-8 hours before applying it to the cakes, then the stacked cake with curd needs to refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours. 

How to make it:

I recommend you make the orange curd, pecan frosting, toasted pecans and toasted coconut at least one day in advance.

Bake the cakes and allow to cool

Spread orange curd on two of the cakes and stack them; place the third cake on top; do not put orange curd on the top cake; refrigerate the stacked cake at least 8 hours

Apply frosting to chilled cakes

Garnish with pecan halves, orange zest and toasted coconut

Expert tips:

Allow plenty of time – I cannot stress this enough, as it does require several hours of refrigeration before you add the frosting 

Read the instructions twice, if not three times

The curd filling and cakes will need to be refrigerated 6-8 hours;  make the orange curd a day in advance of baking the cakes

Make sure you have plenty of room in the fridge to store the stacked cakes for 6-8 hours

Chilling the cakes with curd helps keep the layers in place when you’re ready to spread on the frosting

Use a stand mixer for the cake batter; then use a spatula to fold in the egg whites

How to toast coconut 

Place shredded coconut in a dry skillet on medium heat in a single layer; do not add oil; do not walk away.

Allow to cook, stirring frequently until coconut is toasted to your liking. Immediately remove toasted coconut from hot skillet and set aside.

How to toast chopped pecans

Place chopped pecans in a dry skillet on medium heat in a single layer; stir constantly until you can smell the pecans; remove from hot skillet and set aside

How to slice and serve a round stacked cake

You’ve spent a lot of time making your delicious Orange Italian Cream Cake and now it’s time to serve it!

Here’s how to slice a stacked round cake for the best presentation.Diagram showing how to slice a round cake

For a pretty presentation, clean the knife in between cutting each slice of the Italian cream cake.

Got allergies?

Authentic Italian Cream Cake typically includes nuts and coconut; however, you can eliminate these ingredients if you suspect some of your guests may have nut or coconut allergies. This orange cream cake will still be delicious!

Storage and Freezing

Generally speaking, most cakes can be frozen up to a year, provided they are in an air-tight, freezer compatible container.

When you’re ready to serve this homemade Orange Italian cream cake, thaw it at room temperature, slice and serve.

Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5-days. 

Close up of a slice of Orange Italian Cream Cake

This beautiful Orange Italian Cream cake will be the hit of your dinner party! It’s a perfect special occasion dessert and is great for holidays!

Related recipes:

Orange Italian Cream Cake garnished with pecan halves and toasted coconut

Orange Italian Cream Cake

Layers of orange curd form the basis of an Italian cream cake, with hints of pecans and toasted coconut.
5 from 7 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: International, Italian
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Orange curd and cake: refrigerate 8 hours: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes
Yield: 16 slices
Author: Anecia Hero


Cake Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar , granulated
  • 5 large eggs separated; reserve whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour ,all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • cups coconut ,sweetened, flaked
  • Fresh Orange Curd (see recipe)
  • Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe)
  • Glazed Pecan Halves (see recipe)
  • spray oil (for cake pans)
  • ½ cup flour (for cake pans)

Orange Curd Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar , granulated
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice (about 4 lbs. navel oranges; juiced)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 whole eggs lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 12 oz. cream cheese ,softened
  • ½ cup butter ,softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup pecans chopped and toasted

Glazed Pecan Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan halves (do not chop)
  • cup light corn syrup
  • Vegetable cooking spray , for pans and parchment paper


Orange Curd Preparation (Make in advance)

  • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, orange juice and 3 whole eggs
    1 cup sugar, 2 cups fresh orange juice, ¼ cup cornstarch, 3 whole eggs
  • Bring to boil, whisking constantly until mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency
  • Remove pan from heat; add butter and grated orange rind (orange zest)
    ¼ cup butter, 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • Continue whisking until butter is well combined
  • Place in a glass container; place plastic wrap directly on the top of the curd; refrigerate for 4-8 hours

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting Preparation

  • Using a mixer, combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract until creamy
    ½ cup butter, 12 oz. cream cheese, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Gradually add powdered sugar to mixture on low speed until sugar is well-combined
    2 cups powdered sugar
  • Add chopped/toasted pecan pieces to mixture; combine well
    1 cup pecans
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour

Glazed Pecan Halves Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF
  • In a small bowl, combine pecan halves and corn syrup
    2 cups pecan halves, ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • Place pecan halves in an even layer on oiled parchment paper
    Vegetable cooking spray
  • Bake for 10 minutes; flip pecans and bake an additional 10-12 minutes
  • Place pecan halves in an even layer on wax paper and allow to cool

Cake Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF; lightly oil and flour 3- 9"inch cake pans; set aside
    spray oil, ½ cup flour
  • In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside
    2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Separate five whole eggs; set yolks and whites aside
  • Using a stand/electric mixer on medium speed, combine butter and shortening until blended and fluffy
    ½ cup butter, ½ cup shortening
  • Continue mixing and add sugar gradually
    2 cups sugar
  • Add egg yolks one at time; blend well 
    5 large eggs
  • Add vanilla; blend well
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Gradually add flour/baking soda mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture
    1 cup buttermilk
  • Add one cup of the flaked coconut and blend by hand until combined; set aside (reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of flaked coconut for garnish if desired)
    1½ cups coconut
  • In a separate bowl, add egg whites and beat until stiff peaks are formed
    5 large eggs
  • Once stiff peaks are formed, use a spatula and fold egg whites into cake batter
  • Pour 1/3 of the batter into each of the prepared baking pans (NOTE: the baking pans will only be about 1/3 full; do not panic; it's supposed to be this way); the cakes will rise significantly
  • Bake cakes in oven for 25-40 minutes; check center with toothpick and when it comes out clean, the cake is done
  • Turn cakes out onto cooling racks and allow to cool
  • Once cakes have cooled, place one cake on a cake board; add ¾ cup orange curd to the top; place second cake on top of the first, spread ¾ cup orange curd to the top; add the third cake; DO NOT PUT ORANGE CURD ON THE TOP CAKE
    Fresh Orange Curd
  • Refrigerate the stacked cakes for at least 8 hours
  • Optional: lightly toast the remaining 1/2 cup of flaked coconut on the stove in a dry pan; toast until you can smell it, then remove it from the heat 
  • Once cake is thoroughly chilled, apply frosting and place glazed pecans around the top
    Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting, Glazed Pecan Halves
  • Garnish with toasted coconut and serve


For best results, this recipe should be prepared in the following order:
Day 1
  1. Prepare orange curd and refrigerate
  2. Prepare pecan cream cheese frosting and refrigerate
  3. Prepare glazed pecan halves and set aside
  4. Toast coconut and pecans; set aside or store in a container until later
  5. Prepare cakes and allow to cool
Day 2
  1. Apply orange curd to cakes and refrigerate
  2. Apply frosting to cold cake; refrigerate until about 30 prior to serving
If you do not have the time to devote to making this cake in one day, make the orange curd, frosting and glazed pecans in advance. 

Nutrition Estimate

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 750kcalCarbohydrates: 81gProtein: 8gFat: 46gSaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 309mgPotassium: 253mgFiber: 3gSugar: 63gVitamin A: 910IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 2mg
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