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A neapolitan cake decorated with vanilla buttercream swirls, strawberry slices and drips of chocolate ganache
Recipe

Neapolitan Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 14 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Neapolitan Cake is a decadent dessert inspired by the iconic neapolitan ice cream! You’ll fall in love with the classic combination of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla all over again – it tastes even better in cake form.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Neapolitan Cake

  • 1 cup strawberry puree (from 2 cups [280g] chopped strawberries)
  • 3 cups (390g) all purpose flour, divided
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 10 tbsp (140g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp (210ml) milk, divided
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract
  • 10 drops red food coloring
  • 2.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), chopped
  • 2 tbsp (14g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (403g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (57g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 45 tbsp (60-75ml) heavy whipping cream (or water)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Vanilla & Strawberry Frostings

  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree (from 1/2 cup [70g] chopped strawberries)
  • 2 1/2 cups (560g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 46 tbsp (60-90ml) water or cream
  • 3/4 tsp strawberry extract
  • Pinch or two of salt

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 3 oz (1/2 cup | 85g) semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy whipping cream

Instructions

Make Cake Layers

  1. You will need reduced strawberry puree for both the cake layers and the buttercream. They are listed out separately for the cake and buttercream, but I recommend reducing them together so you’re only doing that step once. If you do that, then you’ll need 1 1/4 cups strawberry puree to start with. Add the strawberry puree to a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a slow boil, stirring consistently to keep it from burning, until it has thickened and reduced by half to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons, about 15 minutes. To measure, pour the puree into a measuring cup. If it’s evenly between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup (which would be 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons), it’s done.
  2. When the puree has thickened and reduced, pour into a measuring cup and allow to cool to at least room temperature. Separate out the two tablespoons for the frosting and place them in a separate bowl. This strawberry mixture can be made ahead, if you like, and stored in the fridge.
  3. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
  4. Combine 2 3/4 cups (358g) flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the butter, oil, sugar and one tablespoon of vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  7. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  8. Add 1 tablespoon of the milk and mix just until combined.
  9. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Batter will be thick. Do not over mix.
  10. Remove about 2 1/4 cups of batter (a third of the batter) and place that in a separate bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of milk, the strawberry reduction for the cake, strawberry extract and red food coloring to that batter and gently fold together to combine. Add 2 tablespoons (16g) of flour and gently fold to combine. Do not over mix. Spread the strawberry batter evenly into one of the prepared cake pans. Set aside.
  11. Add the remainder of the milk (1 cup) to the remainder of the batter and gently fold to combine. Place half of the batter (about 2 1/2 cups) into another bowl and gently fold in 2 tablespoons (16g) of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pour the batter into one of the prepared cake pans for the vanilla cake layer.
  12. Melt the chopped chocolate, then add it to the remaining cake batter along with the cocoa powder and gently fold together to combine. Spread the chocolate batter evenly into the final cake pan.
  13. Bake the layers for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Because of the different batters, they may vary a little on bake times. I found that the chocolate one need a few more minutes than the others. Remove cakes from oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to finish cooling.

Make Chocolate Buttercream

  1. When the cake layers are baked and cooled, make the frostings. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and mix until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of water or cream and mix until smooth and well combined.
  5. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  6. Add more water or cream until desired consistency is reached, then add salt. Set aside.

Make Vanilla & Strawberry Buttercream

  1. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of water or cream and mix until smooth and well combined.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined. It will be thick.
  5. Remove two cups of the buttercream to another bowl and add the strawberry reduction, strawberry extract and a pinch of salt. Mix together until well combined. Set aside.
  6. Add additional water or cream to the remaining vanilla frosting until desired consistency is reached, then add salt. Set aside.

Build Cake

  1. Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat.
  2. Place the chocolate cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Add 1 cup of chocolate buttercream and spread into an even layer.
  3. Add the strawberry cake layer on top of the chocolate buttercream and spread 1 cup of the strawberry buttercream on top, into an even layer.
  4. Add the vanilla cake layer on top, then spread about 1 cup of vanilla frosting evenly on top of the cake.
  5. To add the colored stripes on the sides of the cake, you can add the frosting with an offset spatula or use a piping back with a piping tip. Add chocolate frosting around the chocolate cake layer, strawberry frosting around the strawberry cake layer and vanilla frosting around the vanilla cake layer. Run an icing smoother around the outside of the cake to smooth it all out. Try to do it as few times as possible to keep the layers from bleeding into each other. Smooth out the top of the cake.
  6. To make the chocolate ganache, add the chocolate chips to a medium sized bowl.
  7. Heat the heavy whipping cream until it just begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate chips.
  8. Allow the chocolate and cream and to sit for 3-5 minutes, then whisk together until smooth.
  9. Drizzle the chocolate ganache around the edge of the cake. I like to use a squeeze bottle for drizzling around the edges. See my tips on making a chocolate drip cake (https://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/how-to-make-a-chocolate-drip-cake/).
  10. Use the remaining vanilla buttercream to pipe swirls around the top edge of the cake, then garnish with strawberries.
  11. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Cake is best stored well covered and eaten within 3-4 days. Best served at room temperature.

Notes

This recipe has a lot of steps and uses divided ingredients in several places. Read through everything before starting and pay close attention as you go.

Keywords: neapolitan cake, chocolate and vanilla cake, strawberry cake