Italian Wedding Cupcakes

What is more lovely than a wedding dessert?

One of my most popular cakes is my Italian Wedding Cake because of it’s lightness and perfect balance of flavors, and it’s recipe inspired these cupcakes! The rum-soaked pecan filling that usually goes in the middle layer of the cake is in the center of each cupcake. A smooth cream cheese frosting lightly flavored with coconut pairs perfectly with these desserts.

It’s so difficult to find a cupcake that isn’t dry and a frosting that isn’t sickly sweet. These cupcakes are perfect though! The cake is as fluffy as angel food and yet as textured as hummingbird.

These cupcakes are beautiful and classy enough for a wedding but delicious any time of year.  They’ll become an instant favorite!

Happy Baking,

Ivy B. Lake

For this recipe you will need 2 small bowls, 1 medium bowl, 1 large bowl, an electric mixer, whisk, spatula, small saucepan, cutting board, cupcake tin, and 36 cupcake liners.

Ingredients (Cupcakes):

  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk (or make your own with vinegar and milk)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 7 eggs (I know I know…)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (substitute with walnuts if necessary)

Ingredients (Frosting): 

  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 oz. butter
  • 2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp. coconut extract

Ingredients (Filling): 

  • 1/3 cup dark rum
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • pinch of salt


(For the cupcakes) Preheat your oven to 350 and fill the cupcake tins with liners.

Pour the buttermilk into a glass measuring cup and add the baking soda. Stir to dissolve and then set aside.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites and put them in 2 small bowls.

Cream the butter, shortening, and sugars together in a large bowl until they resemble wet sand. Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. Use the electric mixer to combine.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the egg whites until a very loose meringue (with soft peaks) forms.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the large bowl with the butter/sugar. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the large bowl and mix by hand with a whisk. Slowly fold in the egg whites with a spatula and then stir in the chopped pecans and coconut. Be very gentle during this process and don’t overmix the batter.

Immediately pour the batter into the cupcake tins and bake for 15-20 minutes.

(For the filling) Roughly chop the pecans and warm them in the butter over low-medium heat. Add the rum and brown sugar and let simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat. Stir occasionally, adding the pinch of salt and vanilla. Allow the rum to reduce and the pecans to absorb some of the liquid, and after about 15 minutes remove from the heat and let cool.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, use a small knife to cut a hole the size of a nickel or quarter (depending on the amount of filling you want) and remove a piece of cake about 1 inch deep. Spoon the filling into this cavity and then top the cupcake with frosting. (Hint: Don’t waste all those little cut-outs of cupcake! You can make them into a delicious dessert or simply snack on them later)

(For the frosting) Beat the butter and cream cheese together at high speed and then add powdered sugar according to how sweet you want the frosting to be. Add the extracts and then pipe onto the filled cupcakes.

These cupcakes may seem complicated but the many elements are what make them so fantastic! I hope you enjoy.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

Please note that in the photos I used ALL brown sugar rather than half white/half brown. It was all I had at the time, and it caused the cupcakes to have a browner color! Either method tastes amazing.





One Comment Add yours

  1. Ivy B. Lake says:

    Thank you! 🙂


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