This Italian cream cake from the Pioneer Woman is filled with coconut cream and outrageously decadent.

Italian cream cake

We’re back! And someone finally picked a dessert for these Wednesday shenanigans. Thank you, Julie!

Dessert is pretty much the last thing I need right now after bridal shower ice cream sundaes & cake and happy hour wings & beer over the last few days. But, when duty calls…

Let’s talk about the fun part first.

1. This was my first attempt ever at a layered cake. I was half excited, half scared.

2. Spreading icing all over a cake is like an edible art class. I give myself an A.

2. Cream cheese frosting, need I say more?

3.  Yes, I will say more. Coconut. Ok, now I’m done.

Pioneer Woman's Italian cream cake
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Now here’s my honest take on this cake.

1. I have no idea why it’s called Billie’s Italian cream cake.

Billie definitely ain’t Italian. In fact, there’s nothing Italian about this cake at all.

Cream cheese is not Italian. Perhaps if it were mascarpone or ricotta, I’d get it. Maybe if there was some sort of amaretto flavoring to the actual cake part even I could get behind this Italian claim.

But alas, there’s not. Seems like Billie’s horizon’s need some broadening.

2. While the cake was very fun to assemble and looked absolutely awesome, I thought the taste was less than impressive.

I hid that slice above in the microwave for the entire day patiently waiting for dessert after dinner to dig in.

Hopes were high for this cream cheese filled little guy but one bite in and I was pretty disappointed.

It’s not that it wasn’t good (that would be hard to do with the amount of cream cheese, sugar and butter in this), it’s just that it tasted like any other regular cake.

If I didn’t actually make it myself, I honestly would’ve thought it was store bought.

There’s no “wow” factor to the cake part and the cream cheese icing overpowers everything else.

Not that cream cheese is a bad thing, because it’s definitely my favorite kind of icing, it was just TOO MUCH.

Billie's Italian cream cake

In typical Gina fashion, I made a few tweaks.

First of all, I halved the recipe which was easy except for the fact that it had 5 eggs in it.

Unlike some others, I did not shove half an egg into a measuring spoon and just went with 3.

It worked fine.

I cut the sugar down even further than half and I subbed applesauce for half the oil.

For the icing, even halving the recipe required a POUND of powdered sugar. Yes a full freakin pound. Slightly insane-o. I used less. I don’t even know how much less, I just poured enough from the bag into the mixer until I got the consistency I wanted.

Don’t worry, there’s still too much plenty of sugar.

Billie's Italian cream cake

I used a large baking sheet and just spread the batter out as far as it would go and crossed my fingers it wouldn’t slip into the empty abyss to the right.

It didn’t.

I cut it into 3 sections (yes, using a tailor measuring tape for accuracy) thinking I was going to do one long rectangular cake but then ended up cutting those in half and making two smaller ones instead.

The icing was made while the cakes cooled, my kitchen was left in a total state of disarray and whisks were attacked with vigor during the cleanup.

Billie's Italian cream cake

All in all, I think this cake has potential.

The cake part needs to be sassified up with some more flavor.

Personally, I’d make it a bit healthier with some flour and sweetener changes too. It’s a shame when you give into “normal” ingredients and don’t even come out with something that tastes good enough to be worth it.

The icing could also use some healthy tweaks, a lot less sugar and just less of it in general. It should be an accent to the cake, not completely overwhelm it.

Not a horrible recipe, but not a great one either in my opinion.

For the recipe, check out Julie’s post.

And for everyone else’s opinions and fun variations on this check them out below.

Megan- Wanna Be a Country Cleaver

Rachel- Baked by Rachel

Catching up on PW Wednesday posts?

Fried chicken tacos

Mushroom swiss sliders

Carnitas pizza

Breakfast pizza

White chicken enchiladas

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I love blogging because I love reading honest opinions about recipes so thanks. Your pictures are pretty and I love how you all got different posts out of the same recipe :)

  2. So this is what you all were talking about on Twitter!? Just now catching up… well it looks super tasty at least!

  3. Lol, I am glad you didn’t try to measure half an egg :) I appreciate your honesty on this one – it’s beautiful, but I always want to know if it’s really worth the calories! I can’t believe it’s your first layer cake – clearly you have a knack :)

  4. Sorry to hear it was disappointing. Maybe if you had used the full amount of sugar it would have had that WOW factor you were looking for? Then again, maybe it would have just been sweeter, but still no wow. That is my #1 pet peeve when making a recipe from someone else…lack of wow. I know if I wing it on my own, I can get closer to my own goal since I know my own taste buds than if I were to follow a recipe so that’s why I am a wing-it girl most of the time :)

    Halving…yes, almost always!

  5. Normally I’d be totally on board with cream cheese and coconut too, I mean how could it go wrong? I’m also not a fan of anything super duper sweet, so that’s probably the problem! The cake looks beautiful though and I’m pretty much drooling over it.

  6. hmmmm…interesting and entertaining! ;-) Well, although it looks good…I don’t really like coconut and a POUND of powdered sugar?!?! Holy shakes!