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Ever thought about making a delightful Italian Cream Cake just for you or maybe to share with someone special? Well, you’re in for a treat with this Mini Italian Cream Cake recipe! This smaller version of the classic cake retains all the luxurious flavors you love – creamy, nutty, and irresistibly sweet. The best part? It’s surprisingly simple to make, even if you’re not a pro in the kitchen. Perfect for a cozy evening dessert or a special occasion, this mini cake recipe is about to become your new favorite.

In search of more delightful mini cake recipes, ideal for serving just one or two? Discover our incredible selection including a rich Red Velvet Cake, a decadent Devil’s Food Cake, an exotic Hummingbird Cake, a caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake, and an indulgent Flourless Chocolate Cake. Each one is perfectly portioned for small servings, ensuring a special treat every time.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy to Make: This recipe breaks down the process into simple, manageable steps, making it perfect for bakers of all levels.
  • Perfect Size: Scaled down to suit one or two people, this small cake is the ideal size for a small treat without leftovers.
  • Versatile Baking Options: Whether you have a 5×7 inch baking dish, a 5×5 inch baking dish, a cupcake pan, or even a couple of 10-ounce ramekins, this recipe is adaptable.
  • Rich and Flavorful: Packed with the tastes of almond, pecans, and coconut, every bite is a delightful experience.
a slice of italian cream cake on a white plate next to a jar of toasted coconut.

What Is An Italian Cream Cake?

Despite its name, Italian Cream Cake is not traditionally from Italy. It’s a Southern U.S. creation known for its rich taste and moist texture. The cake is a delightful blend of creamy frosting, crunchy pecans, and sweet coconut, making it a hit in any gathering. And the mini version? Just as delightful, but perfectly sized for fewer servings!

Ingredients

italian cream cake ingredients on a kitchen counter.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this small Italian cream cake recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

For the Cake

  • Butter: Essential for its rich flavor, butter creates a tender and moist crumb in the cake. The recipe calls for salted butter, but you can easily substitute it with unsalted butter. Just remember to add a pinch of salt to the cake batter if you do.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar not only sweetens the cake but also contributes to its golden-brown crust and moist texture.
  • Egg: A key binding agent, one large egg adds structure and helps the cake to rise, resulting in a light and airy texture.
  • Vanilla Extract: Imparts a classic, sweet aroma and enhances the overall flavor profile of the cake.
  • Almond Extract: Infuses the cake with a distinct, nutty sweetness, complementing the other ingredients and adding depth to the flavor profile.
  • Flour: Standard all-purpose flour is the foundation of the cake, giving it form and substance.
  • Baking Soda: Acts as a leavening agent, reacting with buttermilk to make the cake rise and become fluffy. Ensure it’s fresh for the best results.
  • Buttermilk: Contributes to the cake’s moist texture. Its acidity reacts with baking soda for leavening. If you’ve got extra buttermilk, consider using it to make Irish Soda Bread, Butter Swim Biscuits, or Buttermilk Pancakes.
  • Pecans: A traditional ingredient in Italian Cream Cakes, pecans add a delightful crunch and rich, nutty flavor. Got extra pecans? Use them to make a small batch of Ambrosia, Pecan Pralines, or a small Carrot Cake.
  • Coconut: Another classic element, coconut brings a sweet, chewy texture, enhancing the cake’s complexity. Leftover coconut can be used in a small batch of Morning Glory Muffins, Cowboy Cookies, or a mini German Chocolate Cake.

For the Frosting

  • Cream Cheese: The star of the frosting, providing a rich, tangy base that pairs perfectly with the sweet cake. If you’ve got a little extra cream cheese leftover from this recipe, consider using it in our single serve No-Bake Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Pie, or Icebox Cake.
  • Butter: Ensures the frosting is creamy and smooth, complementing the tanginess of the cream cheese.
  • Almond Extract: Adds an extra hint of nuttiness, echoing the flavors in the cake.
  • Powdered Sugar: Its fine texture dissolves easily, sweetening the frosting while contributing to a silky-smooth consistency.

Recipe Variations

When it comes to personalizing your mini Italian cream cake, there are several delicious variations you can try. While some modifications may steer away from the traditional recipe, they offer unique flavors and cater to different dietary needs or preferences.

  • Nut-Free Version: For a nut allergy-friendly cake, simply omit the pecans. Keep in mind, removing the nuts does make it a non-traditional Italian Cream Cake, but it’s still just as delicious.
  • Chocolate Chip Italian Cream Cake: Elevate the classic with a sprinkle of chocolate chips in the batter. This Chocolate Chip Italian Cream Cake variation adds little bursts of chocolatey goodness, creating a delightful contrast with the traditional nutty and coconut flavors of the original recipe. Perfect for chocolate lovers seeking a twist on the classic.
  • Lemon-Infused Cake: For a citrusy variant, add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the batter. This Lemon Italian Cream Cake offers a fresh, tangy flavor, perfect for those who love a fruity touch.
  • Spiced Cream Cake: Spice up your cake by adding a quarter-teaspoon of cinnamon or a dash of nutmeg to the batter. This adds a warm, aromatic flavor to the cake.

Toasting Pecans And Coconut For Enhanced Flavor

Enhance the flavor of your Italian cream cake or cupcakes by toasting the pecans and coconut. Toasting not only intensifies their taste but also adds a delightful crunch to your dessert. Here’s a quick and simple method:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 350°F. This temperature is ideal for gently toasting the nuts and coconut without burning them.
  2. Prepare for Toasting: Spread 1/2 cup of pecans and 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut on a rimmed baking sheet. This allows them to toast evenly.
  3. First Toasting Phase: Place the baking sheet in the oven and toast for 3 minutes. This initial phase starts the toasting process, bringing out the oils and flavors.
  4. Stir and Continue Toasting: After 3 minutes, take the sheet out. Use a spatula to flip the pecans and toss the coconut for even toasting. Then, return to the oven for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Remember, half of these toasted pecans and coconut will be folded into your cake batter, while the other half will beautifully garnish the frosting, offering a burst of toasted flavor in every bite.

two small Italian cream cakes in white ramekins.

How To Line A Baking Dish With Parchment Paper For Easy Cake Removal

In this section, you’ll learn a simple yet effective method to line the base of your baking dish with parchment paper. This technique not only facilitates effortless removal of your mini Italian cream cake from the dish but also ensures its bottom stays intact and beautifully presented. Here’s how to do it:

a baking dish on top of a sheet of parchment paper.
  1. Position the Dish: Start by placing your baking dish directly on top of a sheet of parchment paper. This setup prepares you for tracing the exact size of the dish in the next step.
tracing a baking dish on a sheet of parchment paper.
  1. Trace the Bottom: With the dish set on the parchment paper, use a pencil to trace around the bottom. This tracing will serve as your cutting guide to create a perfect fit for the dish.
cutting the parchment paper to fit the baking dish.
  1. Cut the Parchment: Following the outline you just traced, cut out the shape from the parchment paper. The resulting piece will snugly fit the bottom of your baking dish.
a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  1. Line the Dish: Lightly grease the inside of your baking dish. Then, place the parchment cutout at the bottom, pressing it to adhere to the greased surface.

Remember, while this method enhances cake removal and maintains the integrity of your cake’s base, it’s an optional step. You can still bake a beautiful cake without parchment paper by simply greasing the dish thoroughly.

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How To Make Italian Cream Cake

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a mini Italian cream cake. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

Preparing the Cake Batter

  1. Preheat the Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (177°C). This ensures the oven reaches the ideal temperature for evenly baking your mini Italian cream cake.
a blue bowl filled with flour and baking soda.
  1. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. This ensures an even distribution of the leavening agent throughout the cake.
butter and sugar creamed in a mixing bowl.
  1. Cream Butter and Sugar: Using a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds in a large bowl. Add sugar and continue beating until the mixture resembles wet sand.
butter, egg, sugar and extracts mixed together in a mixing bowl.
  1. Add Egg and Extracts: Incorporate the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract into the butter and sugar mixture, beating for an additional 30 seconds. These ingredients add moisture and flavor to the cake.
italian cream cake batter in a mixing bowl without nuts and coconut.
  1. Blend in Flour and Buttermilk: Gently add half of the flour mixture to your batter, mixing until just combined. Then, pour in the buttermilk, blending it thoroughly before proceeding. Finally, incorporate the remaining flour, mixing again until just combined. It’s important to mix well after each addition to ensure a smooth batter while avoiding overmixing, which can lead to a tough cake.
italian cream cake batter in a mixing bowl.
  1. Fold in Pecans and Coconut: Gently stir in the toasted chopped pecans and toasted coconut. (See the section above for toasting instructions). This adds a delightful texture and flavor to the cake.
italian cream cake batter in a small red baking dish.
  1. Prepare the Baking Dish: Pour the batter into a buttered 5×7 inch baking dish. Alternatively, you can use a 5×5 inch dish, two 10-ounce ramekins, or a cupcake pan for Italian cream cupcakes.
a mini italian cream cake cooling on a kitchen counter.
  1. Bake the Cake: Bake your cake in the oven for 27 to 30 minutes. Once baked, allow it to cool completely before frosting.

Making the Frosting

cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and almond extract mixed together in a mixing bowl.
  1. Whip the Frosting Ingredients: In a bowl, combine the room temperature cream cheese, butter, almond extract, and sifted powdered sugar. Sifting the powdered sugar ensures a smooth, lump-free frosting.
a mini italian cream cake frosted on a silver tray.
  1. Frost and Garnish the Cake: Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Finish by sprinkling chopped pecans and toasted coconut on top for added flavor and texture.

Baking Times For Different Baking Dishes

  • 5×7 inch baking dish: Bake for 27-30 minutes.
  • 5×5 inch baking dish: Bake for 32-35 minutes.
  • 2 – 10 ounce ramekins: Bake for 33-35 minutes
  • Cupcakes: Bake for 27-30 minutes.

Italian Cream Cake Cupcakes: A Bite-Sized Treat

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more whimsical, why not turn the mini Italian cream cake recipe into charming cupcakes? These Italian cream cake cupcakes pack all the rich, nutty flavors of the original cake into a fun, single serving format. Ideal for individual treats or for sharing, these cupcakes offer the same delicious experience as the cake but in a charming, bite-sized form. Whether you’re serving them up at a small gathering or enjoying a personal treat, these cupcakes are a perfect way to enjoy the classic taste in a new, delightful presentation.

four italian cream cake cupcakes on a blue plate.

Transforming the cake recipe into cupcakes is a breeze. Simply prepare the batter as directed, then pour it into cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Be sure to keep an eye on them after about 25-30 minutes in the oven. Once they’re golden and a toothpick comes out clean, they’re done. Let them cool, then top them off with the creamy frosting, and voilà! You have adorable, delicious Italian cream cupcakes that are sure to be a hit at any gathering or simply as a delightful treat for yourself. These cupcakes offer the same luxurious experience as the Italian cream cake, just in a more petite package.

an italian cream cupcake sliced in half on a blue plate.

Expert Tips

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure your butter, eggs, and buttermilk are at room temperature for a smoother batter.
  • Don’t Overmix: Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined to keep the cake light and fluffy.
  • Toast the Nuts: For added flavor, briefly toast the pecans before adding them to the batter.
  • Check for Doneness: Use a toothpick to check if the cake is done. It should come out clean.
  • Frosting Tips: For the creamiest frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until thoroughly combined and smooth.
a fork on the side of a plate with a slice of Italian Cream Cake on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does an Italian cream cake keep?

Properly stored in the refrigerator, it lasts for 3-4 days.

Can I freeze Italian cream cake?

Yes, wrap it well and freeze for up to a month. Thaw in the fridge.

Do I need to store an Italian cream cake in the fridge?

Yes. Keep the cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy it.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this small Italian cream cake recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Mini Italian Cream Cake

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Enjoy baking a Mini Italian Cream Cake: a simple, sweet, and nutty delight, perfectly sized for one or two, topped with rich cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients 
 

For the cake batter

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter , room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup toasted pecans , divided (see notes below for toasting instructions)
  • ½ cup toasted coconut , divided (see notes below for toasting instructions)

For the frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter , room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar , sifted
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Instructions 

  • Preheat the Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (177°C). 

Prepare the cake batter

  • Combine Dry Ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. This ensures an even distribution of the leavening agent throughout the cake.
  • Cream Butter and Sugar: Using a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds in a large bowl. Add sugar and continue beating until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  • Add Egg and Extracts: Incorporate the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract into the butter and sugar mixture, beating for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Blend in Flour and Buttermilk: Gently add half of the flour mixture to your batter, mixing until just combined. Then, pour in the buttermilk, blending it thoroughly before proceeding. Finally, incorporate the remaining flour, mixing again until just combined.
  • Fold in Pecans and Coconut: Gently stir in the ¼ cup of chopped pecans and ¼ cup of toasted coconut. (See the note below for toasting instructions).
  • Prepare the Baking Dish: Pour the batter into a buttered 5×7 inch baking dish.
  • Bake the Cake: Bake your cake in the oven for 27 to 30 minutes. Once baked, allow it to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting

  • Whip the Frosting Ingredients: In a bowl, beat the room temperature cream cheese, butter, and almond extract with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix on low until combined.
    Pro Tip: Sifting the powdered sugar ensures a smooth, lump-free frosting.
  • Frost and Garnish the Cake: Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Finish by sprinkling the remaining chopped pecans and toasted coconut on top for added flavor and texture.

Notes

Versatile Baking Options: Whether you have a 5×7 inch baking dish, a 5×5 inch baking dish, a cupcake pan, or even two 10-ounce ramekins, this recipe is adaptable. You can use any of these baking dishes with this recipe.
  • 5×7 inch baking dish: Bake for 27-30 minutes.
  • 5×5 inch baking dish: Bake for 32-35 minutes.
  • 2 – 10 ounce ramekins: Bake for 33-35 minutes
  • Cupcakes: Bake for 27-30 minutes.
 
Toasting Pecans And Coconut For Enhanced Flavor
  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 350°F. This temperature is ideal for gently toasting the nuts and coconut without burning them.
  2. Prepare for Toasting: Spread 1/2 cup of pecans and 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut on a rimmed baking sheet. This allows them to toast evenly.
  3. First Toasting Phase: Place the baking sheet in the oven and toast for 3 minutes. This initial phase starts the toasting process, bringing out the oils and flavors.
  4. Stir and Continue Toasting: After 3 minutes, take the sheet out. Use a spatula to flip the pecans and toss the coconut for even toasting. Then, return to the oven for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
 
Expert Tips
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure your butter, eggs, and buttermilk are at room temperature for a smoother batter.
  • Don’t Overmix: Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined to keep the cake light and fluffy.
  • Toast the Nuts: For added flavor, briefly toast the pecans before adding them to the batter.
  • Check for Doneness: Use a toothpick to check if the cake is done. It should come out clean.
  • Frosting Tips: For the creamiest frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 769kcal, Carbohydrates: 91g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 44g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 129mg, Sodium: 315mg, Potassium: 143mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 70g, Vitamin A: 1085IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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8 Comments

  1. Margi says:

    If I made this for 2 what size pan would you suggest? In the recipe the pan size stays the same even when you click on the 2 at the top

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      If you’re looking to double this recipe, an 8×8-inch pan would be the best choice. I haven’t tested the recipe in a doubled format, so this is a suggestion based on standard baking practices. When doubling, keep in mind that you might need to slightly adjust the baking time. It’s always a good idea to monitor your dish as it bakes to ensure the best results.

  2. Gay says:

    Would this recipe work in a 6 inch round pan? I tried a 6 inch square pans and in fell badly in the centre.
    Thank you , anxious to try this gain, looks so good!

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m sorry to hear about the trouble with the 6-inch square pan. While it should have worked, baking can sometimes be unpredictable. I suggest giving it a go with a 6-inch round pan. In our tests with this cake recipe, we did observe a minor indentation in the center on a few occasions, but it wasn’t significant. Plus, the frosting does a great job of covering it up. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out!

  3. Ellen Altizer says:

    In the nutrition details what is considered a serving? Being diabetic I’m curious.
    This recipe sounds delicious and am going to make it.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      The cake is baked in a 5×7 inch baking dish and I cut the cake into 4 squares – so a serving is 1/4 of the cake.

  4. J. Hegyi says:

    Good recipe.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you!