Cake,  Layer Cake

Neapolitan Cake

Just in time for your Easter celebrations: Neapolitan Cake! I’ve wanted to make one of these for a long time, and when I found these little bunny grahams at the store, it sealed the deal! The little bunnies make this perfect for Easter, but this beauty is dessert glory year-round!

Neapolitan Cake

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This Neapolitan Cake is a three-layer queen! With the traditional flavors of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla bean, it’s a crowd pleaser! Each layer is so flavorful on its own, it’s unbeatable when you put them together!

Neapolitan Cake

There are a few interesting ingredients in the chocolate cake layer. First: coffee. The cake won’t taste like coffee, I swear! The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, and I highly recommend it! If you would prefer not to, you can use hot water instead.

Neapolitan Cake

The white vinegar in the chocolate cake may also seem like strange ingredient for a cake, but SCIENCE! The vinegar reacts with the baking soda (think second grade volcano science project), which gives your cake a lighter, fluffier texture. You won’t taste the vinegar. Check the recipe notes if you want to substitute with another vinegar.

Neapolitan Cake

I also use chocolate extract in the chocolate cake because it’s soooo delicious! I highly recommend this (sometimes overlooked) extract! It lends an amazing depth of flavor to chocolate baked goods! If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can find some here. Even better, makes yourself some Homemade Chocolate Extract for next time!

Both the strawberry and vanilla cakes use cake flour to help the cakes to be super soft and fluffy. You can substitute with all-purpose flour, but the cakes may be more dense. If you’re looking to buy cake flour, you can find some here.

Neapolitan Cake

You know me, I put vanilla bean paste in everything! Delicious and more economical than whole vanilla beans, this ingredient is my go-to for an extra punch of flavor. You can find it online here. If you prefer to substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.

Neapolitan Cake

The vanilla cake recipe uses buttermilk, which adds fabulous flavor and texture. If you don’t have buttermilk, check the recipe notes for a quick substitution with milk and vinegar or lemon juice.

Neapolitan Cake

Okay. So it’s a lot of recipes and a lot of dishes to clean but IT’S WORTH IT!! Pro tip: make the cakes in stages/in advance, wrap tightly in plastic, and freeze to assemble the cake later.

Happy Easter to you and yours! I hope you have a super sweet time! <3

Other posts you may like:

Champagne and Chocolate Strawberries Cake

Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake

Vanilla Cake with Blackberry Buttercream

Sangria Cake

Vanilla Cake with Berry Buttercream

Chocolate cake adapted from Brown Eyed Baker. Strawberry Cake adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Vanilla Cake adapted from Bravetart White Mountain Cake.

Neapolitan Cake

Amee
The classic flavors of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate combine in this Neapolitan Cake! This three-layer beauty is a celebration cake!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cakes
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

Chocolate Cake:

  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 60% cacao)
  • cup dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup hot coffee (see note)
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp white vinegar (see note)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chocolate extract (see note)

Strawberry Cake:

  • 8 oz strawberries
  • cups cake flour (see note)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp sour cream (I used full fat)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • pink food coloring, if desired

Vanilla Cake:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, soft but still cool (4 Tbsp or ½ stick)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, solid but creamy
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ Tbsp vanilla bean paste (see note)
  • 1 cup cake flour (see note)
  • ½ cup buttermilk (see note)

Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

  • 3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (see note)
  • 3 Tbsp heavy (whipping) cream

Strawberry Buttercream:

  • ¼ vanilla bean frosting, prepared above
  • ½ cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp heavy (whipping) cream

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • ¼ vanilla bean frosting, prepared above
  • ¼ cup dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp heavy (whipping) cream

Instructions
 

For Chocolate Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 8" cake pan and set aside.
  • In a large heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder. Pour hot coffee over the top (see note) and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate chocolate mixture for 20 minutes.
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • After chilling 20 minutes, remove chocolate mixture from the refrigerator. Add oil, eggs, vinegar (see note), vanilla extract, and chocolate extract (see note). Whisk until smooth.
  • Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 35-38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn/rotate cake pans halfway through baking to help ensure an even bake. Cool cake 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For Strawberry Cake:

  • Purée the strawberries in a food processor. You should have about ½ cup of purée. Transfer the purée to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until reduced to about ¼ cup. Cool completely.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8" cake pan and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (cake flour [see note], baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the egg whites and beat until combined. Next add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Continue to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add half the dry ingredients and and mix until nearly incorporated. Follow with half the milk, the remaining dry ingredients, and then the remaining milk, allowing the mixer to incorporate each ingredient before adding the next. Be careful not to overmix!
  • Finally, add the strawberry reduction and mix just until combined. If you'd like the batter to be more colorful, you can add a few drops of pink food coloring.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn/rotate cake pans halfway through baking to help ensure an even bake. Cool cake 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For Vanilla Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease an 8" cake pan and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, coconut oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • With the mixer running on low, add the egg whites one at a time. Add vanilla bean paste (see note) and mix to combine.
  • With the mixer running on low, alternate additions of flour and buttermilk (see note). Add half the flour, followed by half the buttermilk. Repeat for remaining flour and buttermilk, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding the next.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn/rotate cake pans halfway through baking to help ensure an even bake. Cool cake 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sifted powdered sugar until smooth. Add vanilla bean paste (see note) and cream and mix to combine.
  • Half of this frosting will remain vanilla bean flavored, ¼ will become strawberry buttercream, and ¼ will become chocolate buttercream. There will be more vanilla than the other flavors so you have enough to frost the vanilla cake layer and to put vanilla buttercream swirls on top of the cake.

For Strawberry Buttercream:

  • In the bowl of a food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries until they become a powder.
  • Place ¼ of the vanilla bean buttercream in a bowl and add the strawberry powder and cream. Mix to combine.

For Chocolate Buttercream:

  • Place ¼ of the vanilla bean buttercream in a bowl and add the sifted cocoa powder and cream. Mix to combine.

For Assembly:

  • Frost cooled cake layers with buttercream. I decided to frost each cake layer with its own flavor of buttercream (chocolate with chocolate, etc.), but you can choose to frost as you desire. If storing in the refrigerator, allow the buttercream to warm before serving.
    Enjoy!

Notes

Note on coffee: The cake won’t taste like coffee, I swear! The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, and I highly recommend it! If you would prefer not to, you can use hot water instead.
Note on vinegar: This may seem like a strange ingredient in a cake, but SCIENCE! The vinegar reacts with the baking soda (think second grade volcano science project), which gives your cake a lighter, fluffier texture. You won’t taste the vinegar. That said, if you don’t have white vinegar, consider taste in what you substitute. Apple cider vinegar would be a good fit, but your aged balsamic would likely lend a strange flavor.
Note on chocolate extract: I highly recommend this (sometimes overlooked) extract! It lends an amazing depth of flavor to chocolate baked goods! If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can find some [here]. Even better, makes yourself some [Homemade Chocolate Extract] for next time!
Note on cake flour: Cake flour helps to lend the cakes a super soft and fluffy texture. You can substitute with all-purpose flour, but the cakes may be more dense. If you’re looking to buy cake flour, you can find some [here].
Note on vanilla bean paste: You know me, it’s in everything! Delicious and more economical than whole vanilla beans, this ingredient is my go-to for an extra punch of flavor. You can find it online [here]. If you prefer to substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.
Note on buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a quick substitution with milk (2% milkfat or greater) and vinegar or lemon juice. For this recipe, pour 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar into a liquid measure, then add enough milk to come up to the 0.5 cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes, then it’s ready for use!

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