These Italian Cream Cupcakes are tasty and delicious! Light, airy and rich vanilla buttermilk and almond cupcakes blended with sweetened coconut and pecans. Topped with the ultimate cream cheese and buttercream frosting with cherries and pecans. These cupcakes will quickly become a family favorite. Serve for the holidays or during summer months when fresh cherries are readily available.
These cupcakes have been on my mind for some time now and I just knew I wanted to make them at the start of cherry season in June. I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to share these Italian Cream Cupcakes as they are such a delight to enjoy with fresh cherries during the summer.
These cupcakes are a twist on traditional Italian Cream Cake. With a few adjustments I’ve turned a classic recipe into a fun dessert that everyone will love. These cupcakes come out light and airy thanks the addition of buttermilk and hand-stirred coconut flakes and pecans.
What truly makes these cupcakes special is the buttermilk. I find that buttermilk helps to make cupcakes moist and rich. It’s not often I bring this ingredient on in baking but you’ll want to splurge and give this a try!
Before making cupcakes, let’s talk about frosting. Having lived in the south for a few years now, I struggle with making homemade icing that will hold up against the heat and humidity. Over the years and many culinary experiments with frosting, I’ve learned a thing or two.
If you live a climate that’s hot or need to transport cupcakes it might be a better option to use shortening in the icing. Use a high ratio shortening that will allow you to frost all these beautiful ruffles without it going flat and melting.
A good way to see if you need to use shortening as the main fat ingredient is to start with an equal ratio of butter and shortening. If it melts, try using just shortening in place of butter.
Don’t worry about flavor. Baking extracts are often much more flavorful when made with shortening. The frosting can always be adjusted with flavor. If you don’t like a sweet frosting, try using a little milk powder in place of some confectioner’s sugar.
Italian Cream Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 2½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 7 ounces sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup chopped pecans
For the Frosting
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 12 tablespoons shortening
- 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 16 ounces cream cheese
- fresh cherries (garnish)
- chopped pecans (garnish)
- heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a muffin tin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder then whisk well to combine.In a bowl fit with a mixer, cream together softened butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and both extracts. Beat mixture until light and creamy, about 4 minutes.Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.Alternately add buttermilk and dry flour mixture beating on medium-low until done. Once done, increase mixer speed and beat until fully combined. Stir in coconut and chopped pecans. Fill each cupcake 3/5 full of batter. Bake in oven for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.Repeat with remaining batter, then completely cool cupcakes before frosting.
For the Frosting
- I’ve used Russian Ball Tips to frost each cupcake. Using this type of tip requires a lot of frosting. If not using a Russian Ball Tip to frost and simply just applying icing with spatula or knife, frosting recipe can be halved. Beat softened butter, shortening and confectioners’ sugar for 3-5 minutes. Beat in 1/4 softened cream cheese at a time. Beat in vanilla extract, almond extract and a pinch of salt. Beat for an additional 3 minutes. Fill a cupcake liner bag with frosting.Refrigerate frosting for about 30 minutes. Use a cupcake tip (such as a Russian Cake Tip) to frost cupcakes. Once frosted, fill the center hole with frosting by filling a pipping bag with softened frosting. Top with a cherry and chopped pecans.