Neapolitan Cake



One of my favorite cake blogs is Sweetapolita – Rosie is so amazing and talented with cakes.  There is an endless supply of inspiration on her blog.  When I saw this cake on Sweetapolita’s blog I knew I would have to make it, I just needed to find an excuse.  Although I have to be honest when I ate Neapolitan ice cream as a kid (never a flavor I would have chosen) I skipped the strawberry ice-cream.  Maybe because it had a fake taste to it and I can’t stand fake fruit flavor.  I also saw another one of Sweetapolita’s recipes was her swiss meringue buttercream – it was on her chocolate celebration cake.  I was intrigued by her ruffle technique and wanted to try the Swiss meringue buttercream.  I am so glad I did, it took a bit of time but was totally worth it!  The Swiss meringue frosting is light and not overly sweet.  It pairs perfectly with this cake. This was a perfect cake to celebrate Hoosier Baker Blog’s 1 year anniversary. 
The original recipe makes more cake than you will need for this.  I have included the halved recipes.  Make sure to bake in 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch sides as my vanilla cake spilled over and made a mess in my oven.  I have also found it easier to put cake pans on a cookie sheet so they can be easily rotated and protect the bottom of the stove in case the cake spills over (obviously I need to follow my own advice 😉
I think I prefer my vanilla cake recipe (which I used with the peppermint cake) better and would use it next time with this cake.   Either way though, you can’t go wrong.  


You may want to make this over a couple of days.  I made the cakes one day, let them cool, wrapped them in plastic wrap and then stored them in the refrigerator.  


Neapolitan Cake

Strawberry Jam
Makes about 2 ½ cups of jam
Strawberry Jam Ingredients
1 pound strawberries, fresh or frozen (thaw first)
2 cups sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice
Directions for Strawberry Jam
1.  In a large bowl crush strawberries. 
2.  In a saucepan/pot that can hold at least 4 quarts, mix strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. 
3.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has melted.
4.  Turn the heat up to medium and bring mixture to a boil.  Continue to cook until the temperature has reached 220F on a candy thermometer. 
5.  Remove from heat and let cool until the jam is warm to the touch.
To prepare for the cake glaze:
1.  Using a mesh strainer with small holes and a spoon, strain the jam to separate out the seeds. 
2.  Place the strainer mixture into a clean saucepan and whisk in 1 cup of water.
3.  Bring the mixture to a boil, remove from heat, and let cool.
Strawberry Cake
Ingredients for Strawberry cake
Makes one 9-inch cake
1 cup white sugar
1.5 ounces strawberry gelatin (like JELL-O)
½ cup butter, softened
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (about 1 cup or 5 strawberries) and 1 tablespoon white sugar pureed in a blender or food processor. 
Directions for Strawberry cake
1.   Preheat oven to 350F
2.   Prepare one 9-inch round cake pan by spreading a thin layer of butter or shortening on the bottom and sides of the cake pan.  Place a parchment paper circle in the bottom of the pan, spread a thin layer of butter or shortening on the parchment paper then dust the inside of the pan with flour.  
3.   Cream together butter, sugar, and strawberry gelatin (dry) in a large bowl.  Mix until light and fluffy about 1-2 minutes with a stand mixer. 
4.   Add eggs one at a time to the butter mixture, mixing after each addition until blended.
5.   Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.
6.   Mix milk and vanilla in separate bowl and set aside.
7.   Alternate adding flour mixture and milk/vanilla to butter mixture; starting with the flour mixture and ending with the flour mixture. 
8.   Mix in strawberry puree and pour mixture in prepared pan. 
9.   Bake for 25-35 minutes on the middle rack, turning after 20 minutes.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. 
10.  Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, remove from the pan carefully and finish cooling on wire rack.
Dark Chocolate Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake
Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Cake
¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature
½ cup strong black coffee, cooled to room temperature
½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions for Dark Chocolate Cake
1.  Preheat oven to 350F. 
2.  Prepare one 9-inch round cake pan by spreading a thin layer of butter or shortening on the bottom and sides of the cake pan.  Place a parchment paper circle in the bottom of the pan, spread a thin layer of butter or shortening on the parchment paper then dust the inside of the pan with flour.  
3. In a bowl sift flour, dark cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. To the flour mixture, add sugar, egg, coffee, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. 
5. Mix all ingredients together, if using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment.  Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. 
6.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes clean.  Make sure to rotate your pan after baking for 20 minutes. 
7.  Remove cake from the oven and place on a wire rack in the pan to cool for 20 minutes.
8.  Gently remove cake from the pan and the parchment paper.  Let the cake cool on the wire rack until completely cool. 
Vanilla Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake
Ingredients for Vanilla Cake
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature (divided 1/8 cup and ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons)
1 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/8 cup sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature
Directions for Vanilla Cake
1.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Prepare one 9-inch round cake pan by spreading a thin layer of butter or shortening on the bottom and sides of the cake pan.  Place a parchment paper circle in the bottom of the pan, spread a thin layer of butter or shortening on the parchment paper then dust the inside of the pan with flour.  
2.  In a bowl mix egg whites, 1/8 cup of milk, and vanilla; set aside.
3.  With a whisk, mix the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a mixer.
4.  Add the butter and remaining ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons of milk to the flour mixture and mix on low speed, just until combined. 
5.  Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 ½ minutes; scrape the sides of the bowl. 
6.  On medium speed, in three batches add the egg mixture; mixing after each addition (about 20 seconds).
7.  Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Rotate your pan after 20 minutes in the oven.
8.  Remove cake from the oven when done and let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes in the pan. 
9.  Carefully remove the cake from the pan and the parchment paper from the cake.   Let the cake finish cooling on the rack. 
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Makes about 5 cups of frosting
Ingredients for Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Directions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1.   Wipe the bowl and utensils you will be using with vinegar or lemon juice to remove grease.
2.   Place the clean bowl of a stand mixer (or other bowl if using a hand mixer) over a pot of simmering water.
3.   Add egg whites and sugar to bowl and whisk constantly until the temperature reaches 160F on a candy thermometer.  Remove from the heat.
4.   Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip the mixture starting at low speed (for about 1 minute) then increase to medium-high (7 on a stand mixer) until the mixture is cool, thick, and glossy; about 8-10 minutes. 
5.   Using the paddle attachment on medium speed, start adding the butter one piece at a time while continuously mixing.  Continue to mix until all butter has been added and the texture of the buttercream is smooth.  If the mixture starts to look chunky and curdle, continue mixing and it will eventually come together. 
6.   Mix in vanilla and salt. 
You can keep the frosting in the refrigerator for up to one week.  Bring back to room temperature and whip for 5 minutes prior to using.  Frosting can also be frozen up to 6-8 weeks. 
Directions to assemble the cake:
1. Individually wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes prior to assembling and frosting.
2.  Torte (cut in half) the chocolate and strawberry layers to make four thin layers. (See Picture) 

3.  Using a round cake board, place a half layer of the chocolate cake down (cut side up). 
4.  Spread about a ¼ cup of fresh strawberry jam on the chocolate layer and then place half of the strawberry layer down (see Picture)

5.  Spread jam on the top of the strawberry layer then place the white cake layer on top of the strawberry. 
6.  Spread jam on the top of the white cake, place the chocolate layer on top, spread jam and repeat with the other strawberry half. 
7.  Spread a thin layer of frosting  (a crumb coat) on the cake and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 
8.  Frost the cake as desired.  To make the ruffles, I used a Wilton tip #104.  Holding your frosting bag at a 90-degree angle, pointing the wider end of the tip towards the cake move from left to right up the cake.  Continue to do this around the entire cake.   
Strawberry Jam adapted from All Recipes
How to prepare strawberry jam to use as a glaze from: Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques by Jenni Wright and Eric Treuille (1996)
Swiss Meringue Buttercream, ruffle frosting technique, Neapolitan cake recipe and idea from Sweetapolita
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