Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake

Prepare to be delighted by this drool-worthy Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake! It features a moist chocolate cake layer, sweet strawberry ice cream, refreshing vanilla bean ice cream and a light whipped cream topping.

Looking for another classic ice cream cake? This Dairy Queen Copycat Recipe is killer!

A big slice of Neapolitan ice cream cake on a dessert plate with a metal fork

A Truly Sensational Ice Cream Cake

You can’t beat the combination of ice cream and cake. Instead of making a cake and serving it with a scoop of ice cream, why not combine the two into one big treat? Don’t mind if I do!

This cake is a fond reminder of the Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches I loved as a child. It’s just a more elegant version! And even though there are a lot of layers to enjoy, it’s super easy to make.

The ice cream layers are made without an ice cream machine, meaning there’s less hassle and fewer tools to clean up. Before it’s even frozen, the ice cream is already nice and thick – so there’s no need to freeze the cake before you add your second layer. Talk about a time saver!

A close-up shot of the cake's interior after a few slices have been removed
A slice of Neapolitan ice cream cake on a white plate with one bite on a fork

What is Neapolitan Ice Cream?

Neapolitan ice cream refers to a classic combination of three amazing flavors – chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. Its origins are often pinpointed in Naples, Italy, which is why it’s called Neapolitan. You can find this iconic ice cream trio in pops, sandwiches, tubs – practically everywhere!

Ingredients You’ll Need

This cake is just as timeless as the ice cream flavor that inspired it. Some things never get old!

For the Chocolate Cake Layer

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder: Natural and unsweetened.
  • Baking Soda: Not baking powder.
  • Egg
  • Buttermilk: You could also use regular milk.
  • Vegetable Oil: For a wonderfully moist crumb.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Boiling Water: This enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder.

For the Strawberry Ice Cream

  • Cream Cheese: Brought to room temperature.
  • Sugar
  • Milk: Any kind of milk you have on hand will suffice.
  • Strawberry Extract
  • Cool Whip: Thawed. To take your Neapolitan ice cream a step further, use homemade whipped cream instead.
  • Red Food Coloring: I used about 20 drops to achieve my ideal pink color.

For the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • Cream Cheese: Room temperature.
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Bean Paste: If you’re struggling to find this, try the baking aisle at your local grocery store.
  • Vanilla Extract: To supplement the bean paste.
  • Cool Whip: Thawed (or homemade whipped cream).

For the Whipped Cream Topping

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Be sure to keep this nice and cold.
  • Powdered Sugar: For structure.
  • Vanilla Extract
A piece of Neapolitan ice cream cake on a plate with a chocolate fudge drizzle

How to Make Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake

So I have to ask – which Neapolitan flavor is your favorite? I’m definitely a strawberry girl at heart.

Make the Chocolate Cake

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Transfer all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk them together.
  3. Add Egg, Buttermilk & Oil: Add the egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  4. Add Remaining Ingredients: Add the vanilla extract to the boiling water, then add the mixture to your batter. Mix at medium speed until the batter is smooth.
  5. Bake: Pour the batter into one 8-inch pan and bake the cake for 40-42 minutes.
  6. Let Cool: Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then tranfer it to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  7. Remove Dome: Once the cake has cooled completely, cut off the dome on top with a long serrated knife.

Make the Strawberry & Vanilla Ice Creams

  1. Make Strawberry Ice Cream: Use a mixer bowl to combine the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then add the milk and strawberry extract, mixing until completely combined. Finally, fold in the cool whip and food coloring, then set the prepared ice cream aside.
  2. Make Vanilla Ice Cream: Mix together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then add the milk, vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract. Mix until the ice cream is completely combined, then fold in the cool whip.

Make the Whipped Cream & Assemble

  1. Prepare Pan: Line the sides of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. The lining should stick up above the top edge of the pan, as the cake will probably be a little bit taller than your pan. If you want, you can put a cardboard cake circle in the bottom of the pan.
  2. Build Cake: Return the cooled chocolate cake to the bottom of your pan. Top it with the strawberry ice cream, spreading it out into an even layer. Carefully add the vanilla ice cream and spread it into an even layer.
  3. Freeze: Allow your ice cream cake to freeze completely. This will take around 6-8 hours.
  4. Chill Mixing Bowl: Once the cake is frozen, remove it from the springform pan and take out the parchment paper lining. Prepare to make the icing by freezing your bowl and whisk attachment for about 10 minutes
  5. Whip Cream: Remove the bowl and whisk from the freezer and whip the cream on high until it begins to thicken.
  6. Add Remaining Ingredients: Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Whip on high until the icing is thick and creamy.
  7. Spread Onto Cake: Ice the top and outsides of the cake, then pipe a rim of frosting around the top edge if desired.
A piece of Neapolitan ice cream cake on a plate with the rest of the cake in the background

Tips for Success

Ready to knock this Neapolitan ice cream cake out of the park? These tips are here to help you do so.

  • Remember to Line the Pan: Lining your springform pan with parchment paper helps the ice cream stay in place before it’s fully frozen. If you skip this step, there’s a chance you could end up with a melty mess.
  • What if I Don’t Have a Springform Pan? If you do not have a springform pan, line your pan with plastic wrap before you add your parchment paper and cake board. You can use the plastic wrap to lift your cake out of the pan once it’s assembled and frozen.
  • Honor the Freezing Time: It’s not easy to spread whipped cream frosting onto ice cream that isn’t frozen solid. Be sure to let your cake fully set in the freezer before you finish it off.
  • Stick With the Same Pan: I like to assemble my cake in the same pan I used to bake the chocolate layer. Not all 8-inch pans are exactly the same size, and it’s important that the cake fits inside.
  • How to Cut Clean Slices: Let your ice cream cake rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before you cut into it. If you’re still struggling to slice it after that, run your knife under hot water (and dry it off with a towel) before each cut.
A serving of cake on a plate with two red and pink striped straws right behind it

How to Store Extras

This cake will stay good in the freezer all week long! Just make sure you keep it well covered to avoid freezer burn.

Print
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A piece of Neapolitan ice cream cake on a plate with a chocolate fudge drizzle
Recipe

Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Prepare to be delighted by this drool-worthy Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake! It features a moist chocolate cake layer, sweet strawberry ice cream, refreshing vanilla bean ice cream and a light whipped cream topping.


Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp (43g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) boiling water

For the Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (104g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 tsp strawberry extract
  • 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed (or homemade whipped cream)
  • about 20 drops red food coloring

For the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (104g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed (or homemade whipped cream)

For the Whipped Cream Icing

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1/2 cup (58g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
  2. Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla to boiling water and add to mixture.
  5. Mix at medium speed until smooth.
  6. Pour into one 8-inch pan and bake 40-42 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes in pans, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.
  8. Once cooled, cut off cake dome with a long serrated knife.

Make the Strawberry & Vanilla Ice Creams

  1. Once the cake has cooled, make the strawberry ice cream. Combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a mixer until smooth. Add the milk and strawberry extract and mix until completely combined.
  2. Fold in the cool whip and food color, then set aside.
  3. To make the vanilla ice cream, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a mixer until smooth. Add the milk, vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract and mix until completely combined.
  4. Fold in the cool whip.

Make the Icing & Assemble

  1. Line the sides of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper. The parchment paper should stick up above the top edge of the pan, since the cake will probably be a little taller than your pan. If you want, put a cardboard cake circle in the bottom of the pan. You should be using the same 8-inch pan you used for the cake. Not all 8-inch pans are exactly the same size. Your cake needs to fit in this pan.
  2. Put the chocolate cake in the bottom of your pan.
  3. Top cake with the strawberry ice cream and spread into an even layer.
  4. Carefully add vanilla ice cream and spread into an even layer.
  5. Allow ice cream cake to freeze completely, 6-8 hours.
  6. When frozen, remove cake from springform pan and remove parchment paper from sides.
  7. To make icing, put mixing bowl and whisk attachment in freezer for about 10 minutes.
  8. Remove bowl and whisk from freezer and whip cream on high until it begins to thicken.
  9. Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and whip on high until thick and creamy.
  10. Ice cake and freeze until serving.

Notes

  • Store this cake well covered and enjoy it within 1 week.
  • 8-inch springform pans are best for this recipe so that you can easily remove the cake once it’s been assembled. If you don’t own a springform pan, line your pan with plastic wrap before adding your parchment paper and cake board. You can use the plastic warp to lift your cake out of the pan once it’s assembled and frozen. You want to make your cake layers in the same pan you’ll use for layering the ice cream and cake together so that they cake layers fit in the final pan you use for layering.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 502
  • Sugar: 41.8 g
  • Sodium: 220.5 mg
  • Fat: 32.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 50.1 g
  • Protein: 4.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 61.5 mg

Keywords: neapolitan cake, ice cream birthday cake, how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker

More Neapolitan Treats to Try

Can’t get enough of this flavor combination? I can’t blame you!

Neapolitan Cupcakes
No-Bake Neapolitan Cheesecake Pie
Neapolitan Millionaire Cake
Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake Roll

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Recipe rating

61 Comments
    1. Lindsay

      In theory yes, but you’d need to adjust your pan size and I’m not really sure what size would be ideal.

  1. Sarah Wheeler

    I have had a request for this cake and as I’m in Australia I’m wondering if the measurements are the same here in Australia? I don’t have a 1/8 cup measurement. Also the oven temp 300 degrees our ovens only go to to 250 and that’s seems quite hot for a cake.
    Thanks

    1. Lindsay

      I edited the ingredients to include grams and ml, so hopefully that helps. Also, it’s 300 degrees Fahrenheit. I added the celcius temperature.

  2. Wendy

    Looks great! I want to pin for later. The images Pinterest pulled in don’t align with article. You may want to make an update

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12