Neapolitan Layer Cake

neapolitan layer cake

Neapolitan layer cake

Hello Tuesday and hellooooo pretty cake!

I’d love to say that I made this cake for my mum for Mother’s Day, but unfortunately she’s a little too far away for me to send her a cake. In saying that, don’t you think this would make the perfect Mother’s Day cake? If you are a mumma, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day 🙂

I’ve been wanting to make a neapolitan layer cake for a while and I’m glad I finally did it. I am not sure where the idea to make this cake came from but it came to me late at night when I should have been sleeping (typical). I don’t know about you, but I have sweet memories of eating neapolitan ice cream as a child. There was something particalurly fun and exciting about opening the lid of the ice cream container to find three pretty coloured stripes, all in perfect unison. Surely if ice cream could look pretty and taste amazing with this flavour combination, then cake could too right? Right! Just wait ’till your tastes buds try this cake, all three layers in one mouthful (whoa 😍).

If you’re curious about where neapolitan flavoured icecream came from (like I was), check out Cakespy’s post about it. She’s done her research.

…By the way, did I tell you I was in Slovenia?

 lake bled

No?

Well Kevin and I are spending the week with our (one of many) super cute nieces and sister and brother-in-law, tripping around Lake Bled (and close surroundings) and then Venice. It’s so pretty here.

Have you ever been before?

Sophie in Bled

Okay so back to cake…

neapolitan layer cake

As you can see, we’re talking layer upon layer of deliciousness here, starting with chocolate cake and chocolate ganache buttercream, then raspberry cake and raspberry buttercream that’s bursting with flavour, topped off with a layer of super soft and fluffy vanilla cake and vanilla bean buttercream. Wholly-cake, somebody stop me. Please don’t.

There’s no possible way that this cake could be bad. Ever.

neapolitan layer cake

This cake is definitely a cake to pull out for a special occasion. I’ve been asked to make it for a wedding anniversary which I think will be perfect. But birthdays, afternoon tea parties, baby showers would all be very fitting too.

A couple of things about making this cake:
  • Firstly, please don’t be put put off by the loooong recipe below. Making this cake is not as hard/time consuming as you may think!
    Basically you make one vanilla cake batter, divide it in half, bake one as normal and mix two tablespoons of raspberry puree (or jam) to the remaining batter and bake in another cake tin as normal.
  • Then whilst those cakes are baking, you whip up the chocolate cake batter, spoon it into another tin (or wait for the other cakes to finish baking and then use one of those cake tins) and bake.
  • As for the buttercream it’s very similar. I like to make one big base of vanilla buttercream, then divide it into three bowls and add two tablelspoons of chocolate ganache to one bowl, and two tablespoons of raspberry puree (or jam) to another along with a couple drops of red food colouring for a vibrant red colour. In the last bowl, I add some scraped vanilla beans for an extra vanilla hit.
    If you need a recap on buttercream and how to make it the best way possible, head over here for a second.
  • To assemble, I usually start with the chocolate base, pipe or spoon on the chocolate ganache buttercream, then repeat with the raspberry layer and lastly the vanilla layer with vanilla bean buttercream. But you can order it anyway you like (is there a rule with which order the colours are meant to be? I have no idea). Kevin thinks that the vanilla should go in the middle so that every mouthful gets at least some of the chocolate or raspberry to go with the vanilla. Each to their own, I say.

neapolitan layer cake

Here is what it looks like inside…

I think the raspberry layer is my favourite. No scrap that, it’s definitely the chocolate. Ohhh but the vanilla is so good too…darn it. Just make sure you get all three layers in each bite, okay?

Neapolitan Layer Cake

Let me know how you get on with making this cake. I promise you’ll love it.

Neapolitan Layer Cake
Serves 15
A special cake for a special occasion! This cake is layered with chocolate cake, ganache, raspberry cake, raspberry frosting and topped with a vanilla bean cake with vanilla bean frosting. This cake has it all!
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Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
Chocolate Cake Layer
  1. 125g (1 cup) plain flour
  2. 30g (1/4 cup) natural cocoa powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee
  7. 56g (1/4 cup) butter, softened
  8. 150g (3/4 cup) castor sugar
  9. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (e.g. canola, sunflower)
  10. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. 125mls (1/2 cup) buttermilk
Vanilla and Raspberry Cake Layer
  1. 312g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
  6. 113g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  7. 300g (1 + 1/2 cups) castor sugar
  8. 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil (e.g. canola, sunflower)
  9. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  10. 1 egg yolk
  11. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  12. 250mls (1 cup) buttermilk
  13. 2 tablespoons pureed raspberries, or raspberry jam + 1- 2 drops of red food colouring
Buttercream
  1. 300g butter, softened
  2. 500-600g icing sugar, sifted
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 teaspoon scraped vanilla beans (optional)
  5. 30mls cream
  6. 30g chocolate, chopped
  7. 2 tablespoons pureed raspberries (or raspberry jam - note that this will make the buttercream very sweet)
To prepare chocolate cake
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 175C (345F) and line a 8 inch cake tin with baking paper.
  2. 2. In a small bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and coffee. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. 3. In a medium sized bowl, beat butter (with a hand held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment) until creamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until it is light in colour and fluffy in texture. With the mixer still on, slowly add the oil and continue beating until combined.
  4. 4. Add eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add half the flour mixture and fold about 5 times. Now add 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and fold again. Add the rest of the flour along with the remaining half of the buttermilk and gently fold until just combined.
  5. 5. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean (or with a coupe of dry crumbs). Cool in cake tin for tin minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack.
To prepare vanilla and raspberry cake
  1. 6. Whilst the chocolate cake is baking, prepare vanilla and raspberry cake. Line two 8 inch cake tins with baking paper.
  2. 7. In a medium sized bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla bean paste. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. 8. In a larger bowl, beat butter (with a hand held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment) until creamy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until it is light in colour and fluffy in texture. With the mixer still on, slowly add the oil and continue beating until combined.
  4. 9. Add eggs and vanilla extract to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add half the flour mixture and fold about 5 times. Now add 1/2 of the buttermilk and fold again. Add the rest of the flour along with the remaining half of the buttermilk and gently fold until just combined.
  5. 10. Spoon 630g of mixture into one of the prepared pans and stir raspberries and food colouring into the remaining mixture. Spoon this mixture into the other cake tin and bake both cakes for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean (or with a coupe of dry crumbs). Cool in cake tins for tin minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack.
Whilst the cakes are baking/cooling, make the buttercream frostings
  1. 11. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time and beat using a stand mixer or hand held mixer. Add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Divide the mixture into three bowls. Set aside.
  2. 12. Heat cream (in the microwave or in a small saucepan over the stove) and add chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted completely. Leave to cool.
  3. 13. To one bowl of buttercream, add raspberry puree and mix to combine completely. To another bowl, add cooled chocolate and cream mixture and mix to combine. Set aside.
To assemble the cake
  1. 14. Place the chocolate cake on a cake plate and spread the chocolate buttercream on top, filling right to the edge of the cake (I like to use a piping bag for this step to get a nice high and even height).
  2. 15. Place the raspberry cake layer on top and spread or pipe the raspberry frosting on top. Make sure it is level before adding the vanilla cake layer.
  3. 16. Add vanilla cake layer and spread the vanilla frosting on top.
Notes
  1. * This cake will keep in an air tight container for 2-3 days.
What Sarah Bakes http://whatsarahbakes.com/
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