Neapolitan Cake


May 02

Neapolitan Cake – Six layers of chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream, strawberry cake, and strawberry buttercream.

Happy Birthday to Me

Is it ok to wish myself happy birthday? I mean, I do make my own birthday cakes… so I’m going to say it’s ok to wish myself happy birthday too 😉

Yup, today’s my 36th birthday and I can hardly believe I’m saying that. (Where does time go?) I love birthdays. Mine, yours, whoevers! Birthdays are so fun and are meant to be celebrated to the fullest!

Birthday Cake

Of course, it’s not a birthday (or any normal day around here) without cake! Deciding on my birthday cake each year is one of my favorite things to do. In the past I’ve made myself my Peanut Butter Dream Cake, my Ultimate S’mores Cake, my Tonight Show Cake. Clearly a theme! Peanut butter fanatic over here!

Well, this year I strayed from the expected and went with one of your suggestions! Neapolitan Cake.

You’ve requested a Neapolitan Cake from me quite a bit over the years and I’m so happy I finally got around to making it! I’ve used my go-to chocolate cake layers with my silky chocolate buttercream, my vanilla cake with my classic vanilla buttercream, and I have a new strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream I’ve added to the mix.

New Strawberry Cake

You may recall my other strawberry cake from recipes like my Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, my Strawberry Lemonade Cake, and my Strawberry Crunch Cake. I created that strawberry cake a few years ago to mimic one of the best cakes I’d ever had at the Cake Bar in Dallas. I think I did a pretty good job making a copycat version of that particular cake, but that cake is definitely on the sweeter side. It’s also more of an artificial strawberry flavor thanks to the strawberry Jell-O in the layers. And while I love that cake, I decided to create a new, more naturally flavored strawberry cake. (Another request of yours).

To get the natural flavor of strawberries in this cake, I used a combination of finely ground freeze dried strawberries and a reduced strawberry puree. I found that in my testing, neither one of these ingredients on its own gave me a strong enough flavor. The combination of the two, however, was perfect! I licked my bowl clean each time I made this cake. It was almost like eating strawberry ice cream.

The strawberry buttercream also has freeze dried strawberries. You’ll also notice I’m using a bit more heavy cream in the frosting than usual. This helps to lighten the texture and make it nice and creamy.

I’ll share the full strawberry cake recipe soon, as it’s part of my new Strawberries n’ Cream Cake.

Neapolitan Cake

But back to the Neapolitan Cake as a whole. I love every single one of these cakes on its own, as well as in one giant bite together.

As you look at the recipe, you’ll notice a couple changes from my normal cake recipes. Because I wanted to split each cake layer in half, I used an entire half recipe of one of my cakes for just one layer. To make sure I got a really even bake, with all that batter in my pan, I reduced the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and baked for slightly longer.

There’s definitely a lot of steps in this cake, so I’d recommend spreading the work out over a couple days. Do your cake layers one day, your frostings another and then assembly on the day of your party.

For me, I’ve made two of these cakes and will be sharing them with friends on Saturday. To store them, I put them in the freezer with plastic wrap around them. On Friday night I plan to place them in the fridge to start thawing. Then on Saturday morning, I’ll move them to room temperature to thaw completely. This method helps so that there’s no a lot of condensation build up.

Ok! So there you have it! This year’s birthday cake and another classic in the books. Hope you love it!

 

Neapolitan Cake

Chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream, strawberry cake and strawberry buttercream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Keyword Neapolitan Cake
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 20 people
Author cakebycourtney

Ingredients

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot water

FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 5 oz. good quality chocolate of your choice I use dark or semi, melted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream

FOR THE VANILLA CAKE

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FOR THE VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 3 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE STRAWBERRY CAKE

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 oz freeze dried strawberries measured and then pulverized into a powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree about 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries, pureed and simmer over the stove to thicken and reduce to 1/2 cup

FOR THE STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1/2 oz. freeze dried strawberries measured and then pulverized into a powder
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray one 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, water and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it.
  6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. (I like to spray my cooling racks with nonstick spray to ensure non of the cake sticks to the racks).
  7. Divide the cake layer, horizontally. Wrap the entire cake layer in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

  1. In a bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about two minutes.
  2. Slowly add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until combined.
  4. Add the vanilla, salt and heavy cream. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat the frosting for another 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Before frosting your cake, use a wooden spoon to hand mix the frosting to push out air bubbles.

FOR THE VANILLA CAKE

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray one 8" round cake pan with non-stick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, sugar and salt. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  3. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
  4. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and baking powder with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until combined.
  5. Add the vanilla extract. Mix on low until combined.
  6. Bake the cake for about 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with only just a few crumbs on it.
  7. Cool the cake on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cake onto cooking racks to cool completely. Once cooled, carefully divide the cake in half horizontally.
  8. If you don't plan to stack and decorate the cake right away, level the cakes if needed and then immediately wrap each layer in plastic wrap or tin foil and freeze.
  9. About an hour before assembly, remove the cake from the freezer.

FOR THE VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, and vanilla extract.
  3. Continue to beat the frosting on medium-high speed for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Before frosting your cake, mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.

FOR THE STRAWBERRY CAKE

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray one 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment. Spray again. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and freeze dried strawberries. Set aside.
  3. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter for about 2 minutes. Add the oil and beat for another 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and egg whites, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
  5. With the mixer on low, alternatively add the flour mixture with the strawberry puree, starting and finishing with the flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. Bake the cake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it.
  7. Let cool completely and then divide the layer like you did with the chocolate and vanilla cakes.

FOR THE STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2 minutes. This will soften the butter without it having to be warm.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
  3. Add the freeze dried strawberries.
  4. With mixer on medium speed, add whipping cream, and vanilla

  5. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting will become lighter in color and texture.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Starting with the chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream, place the first half of the chocolate cake on a cake board. Spread about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of of the chocolate buttercream over the cake layer. Top with the second half of the chocolate cake and spread another 1/2 to 3/4 cup buttercream on top.
  2. Place the first half of the vanilla cake layer on top of the chocolate buttercream. Top with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup vanilla buttercream, followed by the second half of the vanilla cake and more vanilla buttercream.
  3. On top of the vanilla buttercream, place the first half of the strawberry cake, followed by 1/2 to 3/4 cup strawberry buttercream. Place the final strawberry cake layer on top of the strawberry buttercream.
  4. Apply a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake. I used chocolate buttercream around the chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream around the vanilla cake, and strawberry buttercream around the strawberry cake. This thin layer of frosting is your crumb coat. After you apply the crumb coat, you'll put the entire cake into the freeze for 10 to 15 minutes. This sets the crumb coat and locks the crumbs in place so you don't have them in your final coat of frosting.
  5. Once the cake has chilled for 10 to 15 minutes, continue to frost the cake with the remaining frosting.

3 thoughts on “Neapolitan Cake

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  1. I cannot wait to make this cake. In looking over the instructions; for the strawberry cake layer, it says to divide batter evenly between the four pans…. Not sure if that’s just a typo or if I missed something. Can you please clarify?

  2. For the strawberry cake, it says at the beginning to spray one pan, then at the end of the recipe, it says to divide the cake evenly between the four pans. Confused where the additional 3 pans came from? Please clarify 🙂