Italian Cream Cheesecake | Two layers of classic Italian Cream Cake and a complementary layer of coconut pecan cheesecake sandwiched in the middle make for one amazing dessert! Così bello!
Friends! Say hello to my favorite layer cake of all time.
Ever since having my first piece of Italian Cream Cake years ago (when we carried it in my bakery,) I knew that no matter how much I loved chocolate and red velvet, I would never look at them the same way again.
That dense buttermilk cake. The almost ton of coconut, shaved and flaky and toasted to perfection. Those crunchy, roasty pecans on top of the best cream cheese icing ever. It’s a love affair I have yet to shake.
And then I went and put my little creative spin on it and now the world has Italian Cream Cheesecake to fall for. No need to thank me, y’all.
Say hello, also, to Easter Dessert 2016.
You might remember last year’s equally epic, delicious, award-winning Chocolate Cannoli Cheesecake Mousse Torte, and the dramatics that went into putting it together.
There was as much whining as there was wine-ing.
Thankfully, this year did not prove to be nearly as stressful a baking venture. This cake only looks complicated, but I can promise you it was almost fun to make, even after two 12-hour days in a row at work.
Alright so…it may have been slightly stressful, but it was all on me.
The cake itself was a 2-day project. I’ve learned my lesson as far as prepping big cakes for photographing – make sure it’s refrigerated or frozen long enough to be gor-gee-us for slice styling purposes.
Friday, the first night, was cheesecake baking night. No worries. I can bake a cheesecake in my sleep!
Which…is pretty much exactly what I did. I laid down on the couch while it baked to watch a little Netflix. Inevitably, I dozed off. I can’t help myself, our couch is ridic in the comfort department.
I dozed off and slept right through the oven timer.
The one that stops chiming after two minutes.
I woke up with a start to hear the extraneous beep my oven lets off every minute or so. A string of profanity fell from my lips as I leaped off the couch and flew to the oven door. How long had I been asleep?
The three-inch crack down the top of the dark cheesecake was a telltale sign. I thought for sure as I stared at it that I would be up another two hours remaking the damn thing.
I pulled it out of the oven (prematurely, since I normally let my cheesecakes cool in the oven with the door cracked) and amazingly, it still had jiggle. It was still soft, and the color wasn’t as dark as I originally thought.
Hello, sigh of relief. I could still pull it off.
The following day, I woke up extra early before work and pumped out the cake layers (and six cupcakes with the extra batter.) They cooled for twelve hours while I took care of business at work, then it all came together around 9pm.
I almost ran out of coconut.
I had to redo the top twice because I apparently forgot what a circle looks like.
A few of my whole garnish pecans got a bit over-toasted.
This cake wasn’t a perfect subject to work with, but it’s about as close as I’ve gotten to it.
And the best part, of course?
Our Annual Easter Wine Dinner is basically a room full of Italians, me, and Mr. Crumby.
The cake was a complete hit. Quite literally plate-licking good, from the looks of the dishwasher after dessert.
More cheesecake recipes to try next!
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Italian Cream Cheesecake
Coconut Pecan Cheesecake
- 24 ounce (4 packages) cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 7 ounces coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup toasted pecans
Italian Cream Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 5 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 2 cups sweetened coconut divided
- 1 ½ cups toasted pecans divided
Almond Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 ounces (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese softened
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Pinch kosher salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Reserved coconut toasted
- Reserved toasted pecans
Coconut Pecan Cheesecake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, placing the oven rack in the lower third. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan, place a round of parchment paper in the bottom, then butter the parchment. Double wrap pan carefully in aluminum foil, set in a large roasting pan, and set aside.
- Place the cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt, beating until smooth and well combined.
- Beat in coconut milk and extract until well blended. Add eggs in one at a time, beating well between each addition. Gently fold in toasted pecans.
- Pour batter into prepared springform pan. Place roasting pan containing springform pan in the oven, and carefully fill roasting pan with boiling water to about an inch up the springform pan. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake for 65-70 minutes, until lightly browned and the middle retains a slight jiggle.
- Cool cake in pan to room temperature on a cooling rack, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Italian Cream Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour (or spray with baking spray) 2 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl,whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream together the butter, sugars, and extracts 3-4 minutes, until creamy and pale in color.
- Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fully combined.
- Gently fold in 1 cup of coconut and 1 cup of toasted pecans.
- Divide the batter evenly between cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
- Almond Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream together cream cheese and butter until light, fluffy and pale yellow in color. Beat in extracts and salt, then gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until creamy and smooth.
- Place one layer of cake on the cake plate, spread a layer of icing on top, and sprinkle with ⅓ of the remaining toasted pecan pieces. Carefully remove cheesecake from springform base and flip upside down on top of icing. Peel off parchment layer, spread on another layer of icing, sprinkle on another ⅓ of pecans, then top with second layer of cake.
- Frost the top and sides or the cake. Garnish the sides of the cake with toasted coconut. Spoon cream cheese icing in a piping bag and pipe a circle of dots around inner edge of top of cake. Decorate the top and bottom edge with the remaining pecans and more cream cheese dots. Refrigerate until ready to serve.