This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

These cupcakes based on Pioneer Woman’s Italian cake have chopped pecans and coconut flakes in the frosting and in the batter

Email Yourself This Recipe!
Get the recipe link sent to your inbox! PLUS, we’ll send you fresh recipes weekly!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

You’re probably questioning my intelligence right now, aren’t you? That or you’re wondering if I posted the wrong pictures for the recipe. In that case, no. This really is it!

Throughout this PW Wednesday series, the ladies and I have learned to modify almost all the recipes we’ve done. This is because we want the recipes to be healthier or because the quantity was made for a circus. Most of the time it was both. We used Ree’s recipes as guidelines and we added, subtracted ingredients to our taste. Which is why this series is so fun. One recipe, five very different dishes as the final outcome.

With that said, this week’s recipe was my choice again. I decided that we needed something sweet. We’ve done a bunch of savory dishes and while they have been nothing but amazing, we needed a sweet one to round out the savory dishes! So, I chose this cake. Err, cupcake? Again, modification.

The original recipe was a three layer cake that fed about 8-10 people. I really didn’t need that so I decided to halve the recipe and bake cupcakes instead! I really loved it. It has coconut flakes and chopped pecans IN the frosting and within the batter, there were coconut flakes. I only had half of one, the rest I gave to my coworkers and Jason. The reviews are this: not too sweet, the frosting is amazing, the cake batter is super moist, and love the coconut addition!

I must agree with all those. I did modify my frosting because I’m not a fan of getting a cavity as soon as frosting touches my teeth, so it definitely worked because everyone agreed this wasn’t a super sweet cupcake (which I don’t know how I achieved that because it seems like everyone else who made it this week thought it was too sweet). I love how moist my cupcakes came out. One friend said that he expected it to be a kind of dry cake but he was happily surprised with a moist cake. I’d have to say I think my favorite part is the fact that the batter is laced with coconut flakes. So yummy!

Grab the original recipe below for the cake, but here are my modifications:

  • I halved the recipe to make cupcakes. You use the same cake batter but just use and bake them in muffin tins! I was able to make 14 cupcakes with the halved recipe.
  • The original recipe calls for 5 eggs. How the heck do you halve 5 eggs?! I didn’t want to do the math like Rachel did, so I just threw in 3 eggs. Turned out perfectly fine.
  • I halved the frosting recipe and didn’t add as much powdered sugar as it called for (which if you’re curious it called for TWO POUNDS!! Cray cray). I likely added about 1/2 a cup. I added more pecans and coconut flakes instead :) I also think if I didn’t modify the frosting, my frosting would’ve been too runny to pipe.
  • I used a decorating tip with a large opening. Not sure you’ll be able to use a pretty frosting tip because there are pecans and coconut flakes folded into the frosting so with a small tip, it’ll likely all get stuck when you pipe.

Here are the ladies & their versions & opinions! It’s funny that two of us did cupcakes and the other two made the layered cake! I love us!

Rachel – Baked by Rachel

Megan – Wanna Be A Country Cleaver

Gina – Running to the Kitchen

5 from 1 vote

Billie’s Italian Cake

One of my favorite cakes transformed into cupcakes!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Servings: 9 cupcakes


For the cake

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup (114 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (236 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (85 g) sweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (236 ml) buttermilk

For the icing

  • 16 ounces (454 g) cream cheese
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds (907 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (109 g) chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (85 g) sweetened coconut flakes
Email Yourself This Recipe!
Get the recipe link sent to your inbox! PLUS, we’ll send you fresh recipes weekly!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • Preheat oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans or 2 quarter sheet pans or one 9×12-inch pan.
  • To make the cake, beat the egg whites until they’re stiff. Transfer them to another bowl, then clean mixing bowl and beater.
  • Combine the butter, vegetable oil, and granulated sugar in the mixing bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, then beat until smooth.
  • Add the coconut and beat to combine.
  • Combine the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl then alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk, mixing for a few seconds after each addition.
  • Add the egg whites and fold them gently in with the rest of the batter.
  • Pour the batter onto the greased pans and spread it out. Bake cakes for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Turn the cakes out of the pans and allow them to cool completely.
  • In the meantime, you can make your icing. To make, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until very light and fluffy.
  • Add 3/4 cup of the chopped pecans (reserving 1/4 cup for topping) and the 1 cup of coconut flakes. Mix until all combined.
  • Stack the cake layers, spreading a generous amount of icing in between each layer. Take the extra icing and spread it all around the sides.
  • End with sprinkling of the remaining chopped pecans.
  • You can wrap the cake up or place in tupperware for up to a week.


Source: page 243 of Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier


Serving: 1cupcake, Calories: 1395kcal, Carbohydrates: 159g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 83g, Saturated Fat: 52g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 210mg, Sodium: 394mg, Potassium: 276mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 131g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

You May Also Like...

Leave a comment

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

Recipe Rating


    1. Hi Shah, if you read the blog entry, the bulleted list tells you how I made them into cupcakes. Pretty much the same ingredients/process. I just halved the recipe.

  1. Thanks Julie, I did what you want ! I always put credit bellow images, maybe you didn’t notice! I’ve also put credit bellow every photos how! Thanks again! Cupcakes are so lovely!

  2. These cupcakes are absolutely amazing! I’m delighted with them! I’ve featured this recipes on my blog! I hope you don’t mind! If you don’t agree with that please contact me and I will remove it. All the best.

    1. Hi vera, it would’ve been nice if you had asked to used my photos before making your post. With that said, could you credit me for my photographs by saying “Photos by” or something along those lines?? Thank you.

  3. This is, like, ACTUALLY a super creative cake-turned-cupcake! I’ve seen sooo many desserts (and even cocktails) made in to cupcakes nowadays that I started to feel like the novelty was wearing off, but for some reason the idea of this is so neat to me!

  4. TWO POUNDS of powdered sugar? Def cray cray Julie, haha.

    Julie I have to say – I think these pictures are the PRETTIEST pics I’ve seen on Table for Two yet – they are literally perfect. It takes me about 60 shots to get the pictures I like. I’m still learning! I always love drooling over your pics. :)

    1. Thanks Sally! These are my favorite pictures to date too :) I have some next week that are contenders though! hehe xoxo

  5. I love that you girls all have such different takes on each recipe! Now I want a cupcake. Or four.

  6. After checking out all ya’lls recipes…I think i would totally go for the cupcake version. These just look so much more fun, and easy to prepare. Thanks for testing out these recipes!

  7. These are absolutely stunning!! Love that you turned the cake into cupcakes!! Smarty pants!