Neapolitan Layer Cake Recipe That Looks & Tastes Like Heaven on Earth

layer cakeThere's layer cake, and then there's Neapolitan Layer Cake. Layers of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry coming together via a deliciously sweet strawberry frosting. Heaven on earth.

This cake isn't something you whip up 1-2-3. It takes some time and perseverance. But once it's done, you won't be sorry. Except for when, you know, you eat it all up. 

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Neapolitan Layer Cake adapted from Stick a Fork

Ingredients:

Strawberry Cake

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 (3 oz) package of strawberry gelatin (JELL-O)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries
  • (or you could use unsweetened and add a tablespoon of white sugar)

Classic Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 + 2 tablespoons cup cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Fluffy Vanilla Cake

  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

Strawberry Frosting

  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon strawberry flavored extract (more to taste)
  • Pink food coloring

Instructions:

Strawberry Cake

1. Prepare one 9″ round pans with parchment paper and non-stick spray.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix vanilla and milk together. Combine and whisk dry ingredients, adding to creamed mixture and alternating with milk/vanilla until just combined. Blend in strawberry puree. Pour into prepared pans.

3. Bake in 350 for about 25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes, then inverting onto wire rack to finish cooling.

Chocolate Cake:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray and parchment paper and set aside.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into the round pan and place in the oven.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Vanilla Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare a 9-inch round pan with parchment and cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites, 2 tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients on low speed for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the butter and remaining milk on low speed until just moistened. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minuets. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and slowly add in the egg mixture, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.

4. Baked for 20-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Strawberry Frosting

Beat the butter and powdered sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, water, heavy cream, salt and strawberry extract, then whip on high-speed until smooth and fluffy – about 4-5 minutes. Add food coloring and mix until well blended. If the consistency is too thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, and whip again for 30 seconds.

To assemble cake:

1. Cut each 9-inch layer horizontally so you have two thin layers of each flavor. On a 9-inch cake board, or directly on your serving platter, stack the cakes starting with chocolate on the bottom, then strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry on top. In between each layer, spread a thin layer of strawberry jam. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes before frosting.

2. To frost, use an off-set spatula to evenly spread the icing across the top and sides of the cake. Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe an outline of stars around the top and bottom borders. Top with sprinkles, then serve. Enjoy!

 

Image via Kiri No Hana/Flickr

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