Recipe: Italian Cream ‘Snowball’ Cupcakes

Our cupcake contributor, Lauren of Crave. Indulge. Satisfy, is back with her first post of the year…

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is looking forward to a fresh start in 2012!  I am excited to kick off a new year and share one of my family’s favorite recipes for Italian Cream Cake.  This is a family recipe that has been around for as long as I can remember and one that we always enjoy around the holidays, especially the winter months.  With winter around for a little while longer and still a chance of snow for some of you that live in colder climates, I thought this recipe would be perfect baked as individual cakes to resemble snowballs.  I hope you enjoy these Italian Cream ‘Snowball’ Cupcakes.

Italian Cream Snowball Cupcake

The base of the cake is white and fluffy loaded with chopped walnuts and flaked coconut.  Apply a heaping mound of cream cheese icing and garnish with coconut flakes to create a mound of snow on top.  Aren’t these just the cutest little edible snowballs!  Although these cupcakes taste amazing at room temperature, my family loves to enjoy them after being chilled in the refrigerator!  You can’t go wrong either way!

Italian Cream Snowball Cupcake

For this particular batch of cupcakes I decided to bake them in Wilton White Nut & Party Cups.  I simply placed the paper cups on baking sheets instead of using a muffin pan.  You should be able to find these cups in the baking section of your local craft store if you want to use them.  Traditional paper cupcake liners will work perfectly fine as well, I just wanted to try something “new” for the new year with these cupcakes!

Italian Cream Snowball Cupcake

This cake recipe is pretty versatile and works well as an 8″ 3-layer cake as well.  If you aren’t a huge lover of coconut then feel free to garnish with chopped walnuts instead.  Or you can swap out the walnuts for pecans.  We love to switch up the garnish in my family!

Italian Cream Cake Cupcakes
(makes 24 cupcakes)

For the cake:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag (14 oz) flaked coconut (use 1/2 cup for cake, remaining for garnish)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place paper cups on a baking sheet.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and vegetable shortening.
  3. Add sugar and continue beating until mixture is smooth.
  4. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Combine flour and baking soda.
  6. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  7. Stir in vanilla, 1/2 cup coconut and walnuts.
  8. Beat egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into cake batter.
  9. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter.
  10. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  11. Let cupcakes cool on pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.
  12. Once cupcakes are completely cool frost with Cream Cheese icing.

For the icing:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla

  1. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well combined.
  2. Gradually add in confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
  3. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Frost cupcakes with offset spatula and garnish with coconut flakes.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!  Here’s to a wonderful and exciting new year!

Lauren Kapeluck , CONTRIBUTOR

Lauren is a monthly contributor for The Cake Blog. She is a self-taught baker and lover of all things sugar. Read more about Lauren on her bio page.


  1. 2


    The pictures are magical! I love the floating snowflakes and the Italian Cream Snowballs look beautiful! Can’t wait to try them. Italian Cream is my all time favorite:) Thanks for posting!

  2. 7


    I was looking for an Italian cupcake recipe to donate as a fund raiser for an Italian booth, and chose this one. The cupcakes “shrunk” during the 5 minute cooling period. They taste good, but I opted to use a commercial whipped frosting instead of the cream cheese icing, and left the coconut off. I sort of think they’d be better without the nuts, and would omit them next time. Will be dropping them off in the next hour. Hope they like them. :)

  3. 8

    Brooke says

    i just finished baking these and they are amazing! I followed both recipes to a T…the batter alone was delicious!
    I’ve made these before and lost the recipe which is how i stumbled upon your blog. I will be making these again!
    thank you!

  4. 9

    Kate says

    Id love to give these a try however I really dont like using vegetable shortening in my baking – plus its very hard to get over here in Oz. Would it be acceptable to make these with all butter, omitting the shortening? Thanks :)

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