Classic Italian Cream Cake goes low carb and keto! This rich layer cake is a truly special dessert recipe, and it’s worth the time and effort.
Some recipes make me do the happy dance. And this keto Italian Cream Cake is one of those recipes. I really am quite excited to bring this one to you today as it is seriously fantastic. I rank it up there among my best cake recipes, easily.
So here’s the deal. As most of you know, I’ve been hard at work on a keto dessert cookbook. Easy Keto Desserts will be coming out on July 3rd and I am so excited about that one. Because let’s be honest, that’s where my heart lies. Creating healthy low carb desserts just makes me happy. And apparently it makes a lot of you happy too. But the recipes in that book are, obviously, on the “easier” side of things. They are delicious treats you can whip up without a whole lot of effort and without getting out every pan and whisk in your kitchen. They are still creative and innovative, but they aren’t overly complicated.
And while I know many of you will appreciate that, I actually have a bit of a thing for more complicated desserts – the kind that really do have you getting out multiple bowls and beaters and whisks. The sort that has every cupboard open and every spare surface of kitchen counter covered. When I have the time for them, I really love those recipes…just burrowing into my kitchen and losing myself in the creation of something delicious.
I’d never heard of Italian Cream Cake before I moved to the US. It’s just not a Canadian thing…and with good reason. It’s actually not really Italian at all, but instead a kind of vintage southern cake recipe. But regardless of origins, it’s an astonishingly good cake and makes for a perfect low carb makeover. I realized it was perfect as a recipe to showcase Bob’s Red Mill products, because I would not only be using almond flour, but also their unsweetened shredded coconut and a little coconut flour as well. I always rely on their low carb flours and meals, as I know they will produce excellent results. And they came through for me as always!
How to Make Keto Italian Cream Cake
One thing I would do differently for this cake, however, is use smaller 8 inch pans. At the time of creation, I only had 9 inch round pans. They worked just fine but the layers weren’t as high and impressive looking as I would have liked – the cake was rather wide and squat-looking…but the amazing flavour more than made up for it. If you choose to use 8 inch pans, the baking time will be longer, of course. My guess is anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes longer. This is a big, rich cake, so whether you bake it in 9 inch pans or 8 inch pans, it serves about 16 people.
So here’s to easy desserts and here’s to complicated desserts. They both have a place in my heart!
Want more amazing keto cake recipes? Check out my new Keto Desserts page. All recipes under 7g TOTAL carbs!
Love to bake? You need this cookbook!
Low Carb Italian Cream Cake
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup Swerve Sweetener
- 4 large eggs room temperature, separated
- ½ cup heavy cream room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream room temperature
- 2 tablespoon shredded coconut lightly toasted
- 2 tablespoon chopped pecans lightly toasted
- Preheat the oven to 325F and grease two 8 inch or 9 inch round cake pans very well (the 8 inch pans will take a little longer to cook but the layers will be higher and I think they will look better). Line the pans with parchment paper and grease the paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sweetener until well combined. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.
- In another bowl, whisk together the almond flour, shredded coconut, chopped pecans, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat into the butter mixture until just combined.
- In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they hold stiff peaks. Gently fold into the cake batter.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and spread to the edges. Bake 35 to 45 minutes (or longer, depending on your pans), until the cakes are golden on the edges and firm to the touch in the middle.
- Remove and let cool completely in the pans, then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the parchment from the layers if it comes out with them.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Beat in the sweetener and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Slowly add the heavy whipping cream until a spreadable consistency is achieved.
- Place the bottom layer on a serving plate and cover the top with about ⅓ of the frosting. Add the next layer and frost the top and the sides.
- Sprinkle the top with the toasted coconut and pecans. Refrigerate at least half an hour to let set.
Hi I found this recipe Dr. Bergs you tube. I follow you to but Dr. berg uses 1/4 cup of swerve sweetener. So I’m wandering which one I should use. Thanks
You should follow my recipe. Unfortunately, Dr. Berg took my recipe and claimed it as his own… I had to ask them to give me credit!
Ok thanks so much! I made it but went with 1/2 cup swerve it just didn’t seem like enough sweetener. I will definitely put 1 cup next time.I have not tried it to see if it sweet enough. I’m waiting till tomorrow.
That’s terrible Dr berg stealing your hard work of this beautiful cake.
I love your recipes I made the chocolate cake everyone loved it.
Thanks for the reply much appreciated
He steals it and then ruins the recipe!!!! I’ve been done with him for years and this clinches the deal :O Your recipes are the bomb!
I love this recipe. I’ve made it probably half a dozen times and it always turns out good. I’m wondering if I can use this recipe as a base for a pumpkin spice cake for Thanksgiving… Not sure what I would need to do to adjust to make sure that it is still cohesive and doesn’t fall apart.
I’m honestly not sure, although it’s great idea.
Can this cake be stored frozen?
I suppose it could as long as you wrap it up tightly.
edie southard says
can I make this a Italian rum cake
I guess. Never heard of it.
Hi! When you reference “beat” are you talking about a hand mixer or stand mixer? If stand mixer what attachment do you recommend? Thanks!!
It doesn’t matter which one you use, hand mixers are fine, as are stand mixers. For stand mixers, the basic paddle (not the whisk).
First of all, thank you for posting this recipe! This is my favorite cake, and my mother has made it for my birthday since I was little. Now that I’m old (and keto) I thought I’d never be able to enjoy it again. But thank you for taking care of that!
I do have a question though. The original recipe calls for buttermilk and soda rather than heavy cream and baking powder. I was wondering if this change was due to the way the nut flours interact with leavening? In other words, is there chemistry here that I’m missing? Lol! This is a big, expensive cake, and I appreciate the fact that you have done the testing for us! I don’t wanna mess that up!
Buttermilk has too many carbs and baking soda requires the acid in baking powder to react and leaven things. So baking powder is more useful in keto baking.
Buttermilk only has 12 g carbs in 1/2 cup, so divided by 16 servings that is less than 1 g carb per serving. I don’t know how much this would affect strict keto adherents, but for us low-barbers seems like it would be fine.
This looks so good. I don’t have any coconut flour (but I have all the other ingredients).If I omit the coconut flour will that have a big impact on the final result? I know baking can be finicky.
Try using another full cup of almond flour.
Xinia Gonzalez says
Really excited to try your recipes, new in Keto, but so far so good.Ive lost over 20 pounds! have a terrible sweet tooth and im diabetic, but even my glucosa readings are great! Thank you for your recipes!
Cara Miles says
I was thrilled when I saw your email this morning regarding this cake. This is one of my husband’s favorite cakes and probably the first “fancy” cake I ever made him. I am so excited to try this keto version. I think I’ll try this for mother’s day. Thanks for sharing!
Hope you love it!
Hi Carolyn! I want to make it as a birthday cake and want it to be a bit taller and still 9in. So my thoughts were to double the recipe and divide in 3pans. Would you think it could work?
What you need to do is find the area of each pan to figure out how you would increase the recipe. Just google “area of a 9 inch circle”. Then you can see how much 2x that is versus 3x.
I wish I could try this recipe! I’m allergic to peanut and tree nuts (coconut is not a true nut, so I do eat it), plus diabetic so into a low carb diet regime. Is there a good substitute for almond flour in this recipe? I’m soooo craving for a good Italian creme cake recipe!
I’m going to make this. I’m curious as to how many servings it takes to stay keto. I could eat the whole thing if it is as delicious as it looks !
karen bratton says
Great recipe, have made many times. I always seem to mess up somehow but always came out okay. Today I really messed up and put both sticks of butter in the cake batter. Unfortunately this is for a few guests. I hope it is still okay. Any thoughts on what I should expect?
karen bratton says
update: After emailing I started on the icing and realized I had left the heavy cream out of the cake. Results: Cake was perfect everyone loved it. I guess I substituted the butter for the heavy cream lol. I dont think I should have been cooking that day 😉
LOL, I guess not. At least it still tasted good.
This Italian Cream cake is the best keto dessert recipe I have ever made. Truly followed the directions except I had only “whipped” cream cheese to make the frosting and it turned out perfect anyway! I used parchment and sprayed under and on top of it and had no problem removing it.
sarah bradshaw says
Can I use a glass 8×8 dish or a 7in springform pan? That’s all I have. If I can use them what would the bake time be?
I’m sorry, I really don’t know as that’s not how I made and tested this recipe. Glass bakes VERY differently than metal…
Denise Lachance says
I’ve made a lot of your cakes over the last 6 years and I have to say this one is in a superior class all its own! Three bowls to wash and more steps to follow but so worth it. Thanks so much and enjoy the holiday season.
Can this cake be made paleo? I loved Italian cream cake before changing the way I eat for my health.
You’re certainly welcome to try dairy free subs for the cream cheese and butter but I cannot guarantee the outcome.
Hi, I must have done something terribly wrong because my cake came out with the look and texture of cornbread. I know it couldn’t have been the recipe but something I must have done wrong. I used 9″ pans, that’s what I had, so I’m wondering if it might have been less flat had they been 8″? Also, I baked it for 40 minutes (I split the difference of 35 – 45 minutes) and I’m wondering if that may have been too long (I have a gas oven if that makes a difference)? I want to try it again but I’m afraid to. Any suggestions of what I may have done wrong? Thanks and I do want to try some other recipes.
9-inch pans would be fine but they do sound like they got over-baked. Every oven is different and baking times give ranges not so you split the difference, but so that you watch your cakes and take them out when they are done. It could even be before that time range, if your oven runs hot.
And yes, if you read my blog post you will see my talk about them being flatter in 9-inch pans.
Elaine Carol Wenger says
I baked this Italian cream cake only had 9 in pan and should have had 8 in like you said. Cake was rather dry and crumbly. Used SWerve as my sweetner and it was too sweet for our taste. Thank you for the recipe
This cake is amazing, I have made it 3 times! Do you think it would work as cupcakes?
doh I’m sorry, a ctrl f didnt fond the word and of course its right above my comment!
I’ve made this delicious recipe before and my mom requested it for her birthday, but as cupcakes. Do you think it would work well as cupcakes? I’m assuming the baking time would be slightly longer in a cupcake pan…????♀️
Yes, should be fine… baking time would be shorter or about the same. Good to keep your eye on it.
Antoinette Shippley says
I love that it uses the same ingredients of a normal Italian cream cake, i made 18 cupcakes and added a cherry to the middle of each one. After frosting it was discovered that they wouldn’t be eaten promptly; can you freeze these or how long do you think they’ll keep in the fridge?
If they’re frosted already, it’s going to be hard to freeze them. Like any cupcakes, they will last about 5 days in the fridge.