Neapolitan Cake

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

5 from 13 votes
Chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream, strawberry cake and strawberry buttercream.
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins



  • 1 1/4 (150 g) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (59 g) good cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) buttermilk room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (54.5 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (118.3 g) hot water


  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 5 oz. good quality chocolate of your choice I use dark or semi, melted
  • 3 cups (375 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1 teaspoons (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons (57.75 g) heavy cream


  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (54.5 g) canola oil
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (172.5 g) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
  • 3 cups (375 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 3 tablespoons (43.31 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g) vanilla extract


  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (54.5 g) vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp (2.1 g) vanilla
  • 1 tsp (4 g) baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups (143.75 g) cake flour
  • 1 oz freeze dried strawberries measured and then pulverized into a powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup (116 g) strawberry puree about 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries, pureed and simmer over the stove to thicken and reduce to 1/2 cup


  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 2 1/2 cups (312.5 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 1/2 oz. freeze dried strawberries measured and then pulverized into a powder
  • 4 tablespoons (57.75 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.1 g) pure vanilla extract



  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, water and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Divide the cake layer, horizontally. Wrap the entire cake layer in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.


  • In a bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about two minutes.
  • 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.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until combined.
  • 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.
  • Before frosting your cake, use a wooden spoon to hand mix the frosting to push out air bubbles.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and baking powder with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until combined.
  • Add the vanilla extract. Mix on low until combined.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • About an hour before assembly, remove the cake from the freezer.


  • 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.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, followed by the heavy cream, and vanilla extract.
  • Continue to beat the frosting on medium-high speed for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Before frosting your cake, mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.


  • 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.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and freeze dried strawberries. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • Add the eggs and egg whites, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Let cool completely and then divide the layer like you did with the chocolate and vanilla cakes.


  • 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.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
  • Add the freeze dried strawberries.
  • With mixer on medium speed, add whipping cream, and vanilla
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Once the cake has chilled for 10 to 15 minutes, continue to frost the cake with the remaining frosting.
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword Neapolitan Cake

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Leave a Comment


  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?

    1. 5 stars
      Me apasiona la repostería y mi inconveniente es no saber mucho de las redes y menos descifrar las recetas tan sublimes que comparte, Dios le bendiga.

  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 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I have a question just for my own learning purpose, what is the reason for using 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk on the vanilla cake? Also, if I wanted a stronger vanilla flavor, do you think it would be okay to add vanilla bean paste, or do you have any suggestions? Thank you! 🙂

  4. Hi! This cake looks fantastic, and I’d like to make it for my dad’s upcoming birthday. However, I have a question. I notice that the layers of chocolate cake look a little shorter than the vanilla and strawberry ones. Is this just because the chocolate is on the bottom and got squooshed down a little, or is it because it’s the only flavor that doesn’t use cake flour?

  5. Hello, this recipe looks fabulous. I want to do it for my mum’s birthday in one week’s time.

    I think I will serve the cake immediately after frosting. I have a few questions: once the cake is assembled and fully frosted and cut, how do I store the remains of the cake? Will it withstand being kept at room temperature (I live in sub-tropical regions, and we currently have 24-28 deg Celsius)? Or does the cake need to be kept in the refrigerator?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi! I hope your mom loves it! Once you are done serving the cake, I recommend cutting the cake into slices and individually wrapping them in saran wrap. You can keep them in the fridge for a couple of days but I like to leave mine in the freezer so they last even longer!

        1. 5 stars
          I made the strawberry cake for my niece’s wedding cake. She wanted a strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting. This cake turned out amazing!!! Thank you for developing such a delicious cake recipe!! I’ll have to try the chocolate and vanilla another time.

      1. D-2 before starting. I have another small question: for the baking temperatures in your recipe, do you use a convection oven (i.e. with fan)?

      2. 4 stars
        Hi! So spent the whole day making cakes, buttercreams and decorating (as had sole day off). Cakes came out lovely, and mum loved the gift! We especially loved the strawberry one, so incredibly flavourful, delicate and delicious – even if the pink of the cake and the cream was more off-colour than the lovely pinks you got, must be coming from the quality of strawberries I got. Nonetheless, it still tasted divine. All in all, the layers of the cake blended well together. A true party cake!

        My decorating was so-so and very messy (results not as pretty and neat as yours!) but I did kind of get there at the end (the afternoon heat was a bit harsh for the buttercreams). Also, since we have health issues with too much sugar, I used a 1:1 ratio of butter/powdered sugar – it came out normal sweet.

        Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

      3. The strawberry cake came out heavy and thicker then the other ones almost like a heavy pound cake I need help I am going to try to remake the strawberry cake I don’t no what I did wrong. I left it in the oven for 30 or did I over cooked the strawberries

  6. Do you have to cut each cake in half horizontally to create 6 layers, or can I just have each flavor be one full cake (skip the extra steps of cutting horizontally and frosting the additional layers)?

  7. I tried this recipe for my daughter’s birthday, and it was sweet. I reduced the sugar to 30% to 50% but still sweet. I used brown sugar instead of granulated sugar. I used the following measurement: chocolate (100 g), vanilla (100g), and strawberry (70 g). I think there is a mistake in the ingredients list. I double-checked to make sure I followed the directions perfectly. Unfortunately, the cake was sweet, specifically the vanilla cake.

    1. You can make your own at home. For one cup of AP flour, take out two tablespoons and replace with two tablespoons cornstarch. Then sift the mixture at least six times. You need to get the mixture as fine as actual cake flour, so don’t skip this step.

  8. Hi! Will be making this soon. Question, could I use black coffee in place of the hot water in the chocolate cake?

  9. I noticed you call for all purpose flour but only for the chocolate cake. Why’s that? Or what’s the science for using a flour with a higher protein content for chocolate?

  10. Made this for a friend’s daughter who graduated high school. I wasn’t at the party so I wasn’t able to taste it, but I received rave reviews about how it came out!

    The vanilla cake layer did take longer to cook (probably closer to 40 minutes) and I added a pinch of salt to the vanilla buttercream frosting since it was too sweet for my tastes. Otherwise, followed the recipe as written.

    Topped the cake with a chocolate drop and a few roses alternating colors with the leftover frosting around the top. (Careful, the strawberry frosting can clog up your tip.) It was beautiful and exactly what she wanted.

  11. 5 stars
    I made this cake for a family members birthday and everyone loved it!!!! I’ve had another request now to make it again but for a smaller group (only 3 people). Do you think I could half everything as written and then do a little 6” version?

  12. Hi! I made this cake this week. the vanilla and chocolate turned out great. The strawberry frosting turned out great, but the strawberry cake would not rise it was very dense. I ended up ditching the first batch because I thought I did something wrong, and then I baked another one and the same thing happened. Do you have any suggestions?

  13. 4 stars
    Cake tasted fantastic! The only thing was that this cake turned out super tall for me. It was overwhelming as I could not fit it in a standard dessert plate as seen in these pictures.

    Another reviewer commented that the strawberry cake did not garner the same shade of pink–mine as well remained muted in color but with great strawberry flecks. I found the icing to be balanced with the sponges. All of the cakes tasted wonderful with my guests requesting an encore of the strawberry cake in particular.

  14. How tall are your layers? I have my vanilla and strawberry done so far, and before splitting they are about 1.5-1.75 inches high. They seem like split they will be pretty thin

  15. 5 stars
    I bought your cookbook and noticed the recipe online for you strawberry cake layer and the recipe in the book are different?

  16. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe!! I also made it for my birthday and it didn’t disappoint! I love that you include buttermilk and oil in your recipes because it adds moisture. I would love to see a tutorial on how you decorated the cake. Thanks for sharing your recipes and expertise!

  17. 5 stars
    This cake was INTENSE and AMAZNG! My 4 year old asked for it for her birthday, and putting this cake together was definitely a labor of love. But it was worth it! I did find that I had to bake my cake layers for much longer than suggested (almost 7-10min more), but just keep an eye on your cakes and check with a toothpick. I also doubled the vanilla frosting so that I’d have some extra for decorating. The measurements given made barely enough to frost the cake completely. I am very proud of this cake! Thanks, Cortney!