Print Recipe

Orange Italian Cream Layer Cake

Layers of orange curd form the basis of an Italian cream cake, with hints of pecans and toasted coconut.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Orange curd takes 6-8 hrs. in fridge1 d
Total Time1 d 55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: International, Italian
Keyword: Italian Cake, Italian Cream Cake, Italian Layer Cake, Orange Layer Cake
Servings: 16 slices
Calories: 200kcal
Author: Anecia Hero - SmartyPantsKitchen


Cake Ingredients

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

Orange Curd Ingredients

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

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

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

Glazed Pecan Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecan halves (do not chop)
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • Vegetable cooking spray


Orange Curd Preparation

  • First, make the orange curd:
  • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and orange juice
  • Bring to boil, whisking constantly until mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency
  • Remove pan from heat; add butter and grated orange rind
  • Continue whisking until butter is well combined
  • Place orange curd in a glass container; place plastic wrap directly on the top of the orange curd; refrigerate for 4-8 hours

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting Preparation

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

Glazed Pecan Halves Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF
  • In a small bowl, combine pecan halves and corn syrup
  • Place pecan halves in an even layer on oiled parchment paper
  • 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
  • In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside
  • Grease and flour three nine inch cake pans; set aside
  • 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
  • Continue mixing and add sugar gradually
  • Add egg yolks one at time; blend well 
  • Add vanilla; blend well
  • Gradually add flour/baking soda mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture
  • 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)
  • In a separate bowl, add egg whites and beat until stiff peaks are formed
  • 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 the orange curd to the top of the cake
  • Place the second cake on top of the orange curd and the remaining orange curd on the top of the second cake
  • Place third cake on top of the second
  • Place the three layered cake in the refrigerator for one hour
  • 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 cold; apply frosting and place glazed pecans around the top


For best results, this recipe should be prepared in the following order:
  1. Prepare orange curd and refrigerate
  2. Prepare pecan cream cheese frosting and refrigerate
  3. Prepare glazed pecan halves and set aside
  4. Prepare cakes and allow to cool
  5. Apply orange curd to cake and refrigerate
  6. 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. 


Calories: 200kcal