Italian Cream Cupcakes

This is a misnomer. These cupcakes are neither Italian nor do they actually contain cream. In reality, this Southern confection is yet another gorgeous vehicle for ample amounts of cream cheese frosting, which I always support and enable whenever possible.

The Italian part, faux or otherwise, does come in handy when using these to punctuate a giant lasagna dinner (complete with garlic bread) hosted at a friend’s house.

Since this was my first attempt at this specific cupcake, I took my time with the recipe. I actually sifted the dry ingredients using my red sifter. The walnuts received a thorough chop, not a rough one. I eased each egg yolk away from the surrounding white with care and attention then painstakingly whipped the pillows of egg white and introduced them to the batter with a delicate fold. I scooped (relatively) perfect rounds into the cupcake liners and wiped away any excess dribbles…

Only to discover as I opened the preheated oven to slide that first pan in that I had been betrayed by one of my dearest friends…

The oven was cold.

The coil had apparently shorted, leaving me with 2 ½ trays of raw cupcakes whose fate hung in the balance of my next course of action.

The solution manifested across the street in the form of my incredibly sweet, opinionated, generous neighbors who emigrated here from Poland long before I was born. This is not the first time their presence has eased suburban life – the morning after hurricane Irma slid across the entire state of Florida leaving us without power for a week and causing our garage to flood (and almost our Blue House!), they handed a fresh pot of coffee through our window brewed with the help of their generator.

When I requested to borrow their oven for about 15 minutes all I was asked was what temperature I needed it set to. I, of course, presented them with a couple of the frosted finished product prior to heading off to Lasagna Night with the Bearded One. They saved the cupcakes!

For this reason, I dedicate this post to my fantastic neighbors. Italian, Polish, Southern, whatever…generosity is universal.

Recipe adapted from Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. I made several tweaks and swapped out pecans for walnuts!

Makes about 30 Cupcakes


½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
½ Cup Vegetable Shortening
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Cake Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
½ Tsp. Sea Salt
5 Large Eggs, Separated
1 Cup Buttermilk, Shaken
2 Tsp. Vanilla
1 Tsp. Tripel Sec
½ Cup Chopped Walnuts – Extra make a fun topping as well, so keep that in mind!
1 Cup Shredded Coconut


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Line 2 Muffin (plus 6) with cupcake papers of choice
  • Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside
  • Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy
  • Add the egg yolks one at a time
  • Alternate mixing in the buttermilk and flour, beginning and ending with the buttermilk
  • Incorporate the vanilla, tripel sec, coconut, and walnuts
  • Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form – I like to freeze the bowl and the beaters prior to adding the egg whites to be whipped
  • Fold the egg whites into the batter in gentle stages
  • Use a large cookie scoop to divide the batter between the muffin containers
  • Bake for 15 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean

Cream Cheese Frosting


16 oz. Cream Cheese
1 Cup Butter
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract


  • Use an electric mixer to cream the mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth
  • Mix in the vanilla
  • Incorporate the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time
  • Top the cupcakes with the frosting – I used a piping bag for a fancy swirl, but a butter knife does the trick just fine!

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