Italian Cream Cupcakes

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I had an order today for an Italian Cream Cake.  I haven’t baked one in a long time, but man, oh man, I should’ve been baking them regularly.

Actually, I’ve only made this recipe three times before, but one of those times was for my sister.  I tell you that for a reason.

Prior to baking for my sister, I was worried that maybe my recipe didn’t taste like an  “authentic” Italian Cream Cake, because honestly, I had never eaten it before taking an order for it (oy!).

I have no idea how I made it into my 30’s without this cake in my life.  It’s so, so good!

Here’s a picture of the one I sent out very early this morning.    The pics aren’t great – I blame it on the fact that I wasn’t fully awake at 7 am. 😉   I’ve told you before, I’m not a morning person!

Back to my sister… she absolutely loves Italian Cream Cake and she had had it before quite a few times and she assures me that this one tastes great!!

Granted, I already knew that it was delicious (I may or may not be scarfing down an extra cupcake right now)… but I didn’t know if it tasted how it was supposed to taste.  But it does.  I’m sure now.

How did this lead to cupcakes, you ask?  Well today I was making a cake a little larger than my “normal” Italian Cream Cake, so I doubled the recipe and ended up with extra batter.

What better to do with extra batter than to make cupcakes?   YAY!!

I wasn’t sure how the cake recipe would translate to cupcakes, but let me assure you – it holds up just fine!  These cupcakes are fantastic!!

Without further delay… here’s my recipe for Italian Cream Cheese Cupcakes.

Wait – before I do that… quick question for you.  Do you call it an Italian Cream Cake or an Italian Cream Cheese Cake?  Which is right?  Italian Cream Cheese Cupcakes?   Or is it just Italian Cream Cupcakes? Just wondering.

Ooooh, don’t forget:  if you love pecans, be sure to also check out the Chocolate Drizzled Pecan Pie cookies I made last week :) and check out this post with tons of Christmas candy, cupcakes and other goodies!!

Okay – here’s the printable recipe!  This will make a 3 layer 8″ cake or approximately 24 cupcakes.  For the purpose of this recipe – we’re talking about cupcakes!

These cupcakes are linked up at Creative Thursday!!

3.5 from 2 reviews
Italian Cream Cheese Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 30 cupcakes
For the cake:
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package white cake mix; I prefer Pillsbury*
  • ½ cup all purpose cake flour
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons rum extract (or to taste, if you don't like rum, don't add this much!)
  • 1 loose cup flaked coconut
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
For the frosting**
  • 2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks of real butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract, optional
  • 2 lb. sifted confectioners' sugar (must be sifted)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, as needed
  • ½ cup soft sweetened flaked coconut, for garnish
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, for garnish
  • *Please see this post about the adjusting recipes for smaller cake mixes.
  • **This amount can be cut in half if you don't like a lot of frosting, but who doesn't like ALOT of frosting? This stuff is to die for... you will eat at least half of it with a spoon anyway ;)
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line 30 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cake mix, flour, pudding, eggs, buttermilk, oil and extracts. Mix for 3-4 minutes until very well combined.
  3. Gently fold in the coconut and pecans.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners approximately ⅔ full of batter. I love to use a cookie scoop to do this... you get the perfect amount for each cupcake!
  5. Bake for 17-18 minutes, until the cupcakes are very lightly browned and spring back when touched in the center.
  6. While the cupcakes are baking, combine the butter, cream cheese, and extracts in a mixing bowl. Beat until very smooth.
  7. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add heavy cream as needed to thin the frosting for spreading.
  8. At this point, some people mix in the coconut and pecans. I don't. I don't like the texture of chunky frosting, plus it's really hard to pipe that way. So I frost the cupcakes, then garnish with coconut and pecans!



  1. Linda Stuckey says

    Wow, those look heavenly!! I might be adding that to my Christmas goodie list…which is getting quite long! lol Love your beautiful work!!

  2. Michelle says

    These looks so delicious and I love that they use a regular boxed mix :) Pinning! Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday. Can’t wait to see what you share this week! Have a wonderful day.

  3. Barb Warner says


    I made these cupcakes for a winter wonderland themed Christmas party and they were a huge hit.

    Your recipe for Italian Cream cake/cupcakes was sooo much easier than mine and tastes amazing.
    If I can use a box cake I do. My recipe is completely from scatch and quite frankly difficult and really “fussy”.

    I know you were wondering if these tasted like the real thing. Just wanted to let you know..they taste just as good as the italian cream cake you get in New York and New Jersey (where I am from originally). So kuddos!


    • Rose says

      Awww… thank you SOOOO much for your comment!! I know it’s silly, but I got chills reading it! I know what you mean about fussy recipes… sometimes they’re worth it and sometimes not, but it sure is great to find a shortcut that works just as well!! Big Hugs!! Rose

  4. Patty says

    Hi Rose,

    I just made this recipe. I made it into a 10″ cake instead of cupcakes. I used two batches. It tastes so yummy! And your right, who doesn’t like a lot of frosting! The frosting is so smooth and creamy! The cake is for my brother-in-law lets hope he likes it! Thanks for all your wonderful ideas!

  5. Bev says

    These cupcakes are great! I am making them to take to work tonight, it ‘s my birthday and we are having a birthday/ 4th of July celebration. I am not a big coconut fan but I will make these again. Very easy to do. Thank You!

  6. DJ says

    I just made these cupcakes. I agree with the others–they are great tasting and easy to make. I toasted the coconut to sprinkle on top. They look so pretty!
    This recipe will go to the front of my cake recipe collection with a lot of stars in front of it.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  7. Veronica says

    These cupcakes are great! Thank you so much for sharing… I have made these cupcakes every week since October… After the first batch of frosting I now cut the ingredients in half. I find that my frosting never gets thick enough.

  8. Ioana says

    Hi Rose,

    I just found your website and this recipe and everything looks amazing!

    I have a question, though: I started to make the italian cream cheese cupcakes, measured and weighed all the ingredients and just before starting to actually make the batter I discovered that the flour that’s in the list of ingredients for the cake doesn’t appear anywhere else. Can you please help? Do I have to add that 1/2 cup of flour or not? I couldn’t find any mention of it in the comments, so I’m really wondering what to do now – did everyone just ignored it or did everyone just added it or…? :)

    Thank you!

    • Rose says

      Oh my goodness… yes, you add it in with the cake mix, eggs, etc. I actually sometimes use an extra 1/2 cup of white cake mix instead of the flour too – whichever is easier for you. I always have open cake mix on hand because of the smaller cake mixes (see what I mean here) so that’s generally my “fix”. Either way, half a cup of flour or cake mix will be perfect. And I’m updating the recipe now!

  9. Peggy says

    These look yummy and I’m making them this weekend for a shower. Is the pudding mix instant or regular? Just want to make sure.

    Thank you,

  10. Jeri says

    Hi Rose!
    The recipe says to add a box of instant pudding, but my favorite white cake mix already has pudding in the mix. Do I still add the box of pudding? Thanks!

  11. Laurie says

    I was loving this recipe until I realized it called for a BOX cake mix. That’s very disappointing to hear, seeing as how I can make a wonderful italian cream cake WITHOUT using a box. Guess I’ll just stick to my old recipe.

  12. Jessica says

    This recipe is amazing – I added it to my own ‘stable’ of cake/cupcake recipes. One thing I would ask for future bakers – could you possibly edit the recipe to put ‘instant’ pudding mix? I bought cook n’serve the first time I made this and it is a massive difference 😉 I saw afterwards in the comments that it was clarified, but it was too late by then! Anyways, everyone raved about these – they are super dense and perfect for decorating, the frosting holds color very well and the added bonus is that it’s super easy to make! No one will know it’s a box based recipe 😉 Thanks Rose! Here is a picture of my finished cupcakes!

    • Rose says

      I corrected that – thank you!! And I’m SO glad you loved the cupcakes – they’re definitely favorites with my family AND my clients!!


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