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Neapolitan Cake - Think you can’t recreate this cake? Think again! Click and see how….

3 Layer Neapolitan Cake (Chocolate, Vanilla & Strawberry)

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Hi Bold Bakers!

You know what’s better than a cake? A birthday cake for Bigger Bolder Baking’s 4th birthday! The thing I look forward to the most on my birthday is celebrating with my friends and family by indulging in a slice of homemade cake. If I’m honest, dessert is always the best part of any bash. That is why I decided to rethink the classic birthday cake and create my own version of the ultimate celebration dessert – a 3-Layer Neapolitan Cake!

Some people say their favorite flavor is chocolate while others say vanilla… and let’s not forget about the strawberry fans. When you put all 3 of these flavors together, you get the holy trinity known as Neapolitan. Inspired by my favorite Neapolitan Ice Cream recipe, this 3 Layer Neapolitan Cake is the  perfect combination of decadence. From the inside out, with the cakes themselves and topped with the frosting, this cake has got all of your favorites wrapped into one. I love this departure from the same old Funfetti cake. This cake is not only filled with richness and flavor – it’s also one of the most impressive cakes I’ve made to date.

This cake looks gorgeous and making it is as simple as making a classic sponge cake. After the cake batter is mixed up in one bowl, I divide it into 3 equal parts then flavor the batter with cocoa powder, fresh strawberry puree and vanilla extract to give it that Neapolitan twist. All of my GoodCook bakeware comes in handy when making desserts, so I used my GoodCook 9 inch round cake pan for this 3 Layer Neapolitan Cake. From their cooling racks to their cake decorating tools, GoodCook bakeware always helps me get the most professional results.

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After I bake off my chocolate, vanilla and strawberry sponge I decorate my cake with… you guessed it, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry frosting! I love how easy this cake is to decorate, especially with using 3 of my favorite Crazy Frosting flavors.

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Your friends’ jaws will drop when they see the 3 Layer Neapolitan cake standing tall with a stripe of brown, white and pink frosting. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate any occasion!

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Don’t miss my Birthday Cakes Headquarters including my NEW Chocolate & Peanut Butter Birthday Cake!


4.67 from 27 votes
Neapolitan Cake - Think you can’t recreate this cake? Think again! Click and see how….
3 Layer Neapolitan Cake
Prep Time
35 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 
Servings: 14 -16 slices
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups (12oz/360g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (12oz/360g) sugar
  • 6 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (12oz/360g) Self Raising flour
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup (21/2oz/75g) strawberries, pureed and strained
  • 1/4 cup (10z/30g) cocoa powder
  • Frosting:
  • 1 batch crazy vanilla frosting
  • 1/2 cup (5oz/150g) strawberry puree
  • 1/4 cup (1oz/30g) cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. First prepare your strawberry puree by blending 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries in a food processor. Transfer puree to a strainer and sieve to remove the seeds then aside.
  2. Next make your sponge cake batter: Preheat your oven to 350oF (180oC), butter and line the base of 3 (9 inch) GoodCook cake tins.
  3. Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Next add in the eggs in one at a time and whisk, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add in the vanilla and salt and continue mixing.
  4. Turn the machine down low and add in the self raising flour and milk, and mix until just combined.
  5. Divide the mixture evenly between 3 bowls. Flavor one with the strawberry puree, and one with the cocoa powder and leave the other as is. Once the additional flavorings are fully incorporated pour each flavor into one of the lined cake tins.
  6. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.
  7. Once cooled remove the cakes from their tins and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Once the cakes has completely cooled transfer one layer to a cake stand or serving plate. Frost the first layer with the corresponding frosting flavor then place the next layer on top and repeat with its corresponding flavor of frosting until all 3 layers are complete.
  9. Next using an offset spatula take 1/4 of the vanilla crazy frosting and frost the outside of the cake lightly to create the crumb layer.
  10. Next take the remaining crazy frosting and divide into 3. Flavor one with the strawberry puree, one with cocoa powder and leave one as is.
  11. Fill 3 piping bags fitted with a round tip or no tip at all.
  12. Using the first flavor of frosting frost the bottom 1/3 of the cake with 1 flavor of frosting. Using a method called pulled dot, dot the butter cream and pull with a spatula. *I strongly recommend you watch my video above to learn this technique!
  13. Using this method frost the remaining 2/3 of the cake until the whole thing is complete.
  14. This cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Recipe Notes

*I strongly recommend you watch my video above to learn the "pulled dot" technique.

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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51 Comments

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  1. Philippa on November 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Hi,
    Would like to make this for my daughters 18th- will cake hold up to icing and second tier?
    Many thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Yes Philippa, it’s a really sturdy cake. You can add a second tier.

      Best,
      Gemma.

  2. Olivia on November 11, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I want to make this cake for my dad’s birthday. The cake looks great! One question though why does the cake need so many eggs

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 6:48 am

      Hi Olivia,
      Good for you, I hope your Dad will love this recipe.
      This is a big cake, and it is a proportional recipe. It is also a traditional thing, it works!
      You can sub out some of the eggs if you wish, but perhaps just two. Add instead some natural yogurt/flax egg or applesauce.
      I hope this works out well for you,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. zt on November 9, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    Quick question. I baking this cake and decorating it do I put it in the fridge out at room temperature?
    Thank you x

    • Gemma Stafford on November 12, 2018 at 2:39 am

      Hi there,
      There is no quick answer to this!
      Room temperature is a different thing in different places. In Ireland where I grew up, room temperature hardly ever goes over 20C. As A result we would not refrigerate this type of cake, but store it in an airtight container on the counter or in the cupboard.
      If the room temperature will soften butter to almost a liquid then you would need to store this cake in the fridge, remove to room temperature about 30 mins before serving.
      I hope this makes sense to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Candice on October 30, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Hi Gemma! Love your name!

    My daughter wants strawberry cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes for her bday. I thought I could just your recipe and bake as cupcakes. Two questions:

    1. How long should I bake a standard size cupcake?
    2. Can I use espresso powder in the chocolate? If so, how much? It adds so much to the chocolate flavor.

    Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 1, 2018 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks so much, Candace.

      The cupcakes will only take around 15-18 minutes to bake.
      Yes, absolutely dilute at 1/2 teaspoon of espresso powder in water and add it to the chocolate mix. That will really lift the flavor.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  5. Ayesha Sally on September 10, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I tried this recipe and it was a great hit, I did the frosting differently.. I am not that good at decorating and all :). The cakes were so tasty and were really moist and fresh. Loved it so much!
    Thank you for this great recipe!
    Ayesha.

    • Gemma Stafford on September 10, 2018 at 2:56 am

      Hi Ayesha,
      Thank you for this lovely review.
      I am not too good at decorating either, but there are ways, and what matters is that your family loved it, the decorating will get better with practice.
      Well done you, thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Whit on August 24, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Hi Gemma! I reallllly need your help. I just want to do this cake with 2 layers of vanilla and strawberry.
    I don’t know how to do that but I really want to use your recipe. I am making the cake tomorrow so could you please (or somebody else) help me!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 24, 2018 at 8:25 am

      Hi there Whit,
      You did not tell me the pan size, so I am going to do this two ways for you:
      1. This mix is proportional, and it is easy to divide. It is useful for me if you tell me the measurements you use, so I am going to divide it in ounces and you can do the rest:

      8 ozs butter, at room temperature
      8 ozs sugar
      4 large eggs , at room temperature
      8 ozs Self Raising flour
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1 1/2 tablespoons milk
      2ozs strawberries, pureed and strained
      1 level tablespoon of cocoa
      Frosting:
      1 batch crazy vanilla frosting
      1/2 cup (5oz/150g) strawberry puree
      1/4 cup (1oz/30g) cocoa powder
      For the frosting I would just make a batch of buttercream using 8ozs butter, 16oz powdered sugar and a little milk.
      Add 1 tablespoon cocoa to the chocolate one and 3ozs of puree to the strawberry one. You can add a few drops of color to this too.
      I hope this is of help, follow the instructions in the recipe for the mixing and baking.
      Let uus see the results!
      Gemma 🙂

  7. David Abboud on August 10, 2018 at 4:59 am

    Hello Gemma !
    Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes. I wanna try this recipe, however it needs A LOT of butter 3 CUPS IN TOTAL that is not only expensive but more importantly unhealthy. What can I do?
    thanks for you help !

    • Gemma Stafford on August 11, 2018 at 4:18 am

      Hi David,
      This is a BIG cake!
      It needs 12ozs of butter, 1 1/2 cups, for the cake batter. The remainder is for the buttercream.
      I do not regard butter as being an unhealthy ingredient, it is really the best for baking, gives the best flavor and texture too and is traditional in this type of recipe.
      Reducing the amount of frosting will change this for you, but keep the butter, just a thin layer of buttercream will do it for you. You can also use jam as a filling for this cake, and dust with powdered sugar on top, this will make it lighter too.
      This cake will serve about 12 people, so looking at it like that changes it too, it goes a long way.
      I know butter can be expensive in many places, but it is a great ingredient, and I am reluctant to say use a margarine, it is just not the same thing!
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Shield0808 on July 13, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Hi Gemma, made this cake and also made it a piñata cake , so effective and your right it is easier than you would expect .

    • Gemma Stafford on July 14, 2018 at 3:40 am

      Did I see a photo Andrea?
      I saw your wonderful one today, with a scissors, AMAZING.
      well done you, thank you for submitting your pic, it is very encouraging for others.
      Gemma 🙂

  9. CarmineCat on July 3, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Gemma, Thank you for this recipe. I found it easy to follow and it is a really pretty looking cake! I made it for my neighbor’s birthday tomorrow. I can’t wait to try it. I posted some pictures of my cake. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Gemma Stafford on July 4, 2018 at 2:02 am

      Hi there,
      Wow! you really made a great job of this cake, better than mine I think!
      Well done, your neighbor will be really thrilled, you are a good friend!
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Kristelle on May 4, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Hi gemma, I was trying to measure the ingredients by weight. However I noticed that for the strawberries you used in the cake batter and the frosting, both are 1/2 cup in volume but their weights are different in. 75g for cake and then 150g for frosting. Hope you can help me solve this. Thanks in advance!😂

    • Gemma Stafford on May 5, 2018 at 10:46 am

      Hi Kristelle,
      cup measurements are a measure of volume, not weight.The measurements are based on an informal system of measurement, prior to home weighing scales. People would share recipes based on their kitchen cups, it did not matter the weight of the ingredients, or the size of the cup, as long as the same cup was used to measure all of the ingredients, in any one kitchen. It a measure of volume. Once the balance is right, then all will be well. Different ingredients have different equivalent weights too, so rice will be different to sugar, cocoa to flour, and different flours will have a different weight too. Think Rocks and feathers! So, the rule is simple, fill your cups in the same way, scoop/level/compress, however you choose, and the balance in the recipe will be good. It is not a good idea to mix cup measurements with another method, it is unnecessary, and will not be good for your recipes. You have to trust this system, if not, get a digital scales, it will be the most accurate of all!
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Sandhya Ashok on April 24, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    The recipe looks great! I am planning to make only 2 layers- vanilla and chocolate, for a potluck party. However I have a very small microwave cum oven that can fit only one cake at a time. Can the second layer’s batter stand at room temperature or in the fridge while I bake the first one? And also, would you recommend me using your best ever chocolate cake recipe here instead or will it be too dense?
    Sorry one more q- can we sub eggs for applesauce here?
    Thank you!
    – Sandhya

    • Gemma Stafford on April 27, 2018 at 6:19 am

      Hi there,
      use the convection mode only on your oven, this is a great appliance, so useful. You can make your layers, they will stand happily for the time it takes to bake the first layer. Do not refrigerate it, it will take longer to bake.
      The best ever chocolate cake is a lovely moist cake, it would work well for you too, the frosting is easy, and it will be lovely made a day ahead.
      I hope you have a lovely potluck, great fun.
      Gemma 🙂

      • Sandhya Ashok on April 27, 2018 at 10:16 pm

        Thank you Gemma!

  12. MaryDocherty on April 8, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Gemma just discovered your website l think it’s amazing can’t wait to try your recipes l would just like to ask when you say sugar is it just granulated or caster sugar and do you use self rating flour

    • Gemma Stafford on April 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Mary,
      good to have you with us.
      Here in the US granulated sugar is really fine, so there is no distinction between granulated, and caster. In Ireland and the UK the granulated sugar is really coarse, not so here, there is just one grade.
      Self raising flour is great as long as it is fresh. Chefs tend to us all purpose flour, which is plain flour in the UK and Ireland, and add the baking powder for best results. Rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of baking powder, to 3 – 40zs of plain flour.
      i have an idea you are Irish Mary, and if you are you will get cream flour too, which is like a cake flour, reduced gluten flour, for great cakes and cookies.
      I hope this helps, I am happy to have you with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Anas on March 28, 2018 at 10:43 am

    But doesn’t cornstarch only activate when boiled only

    • Gemma Stafford on March 28, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Hi Anas,
      cornstarch does not activate as such. It really is a flour, which has particular properties which make it great to use as a thickening agent. In that way it is a bit more like arrowroot and potato starch, rather than wheat flour. It begins to thicken as it is heated, and generally you ‘slake’ it in cold liquid, before adding it to a hot dish.
      for baking it is used to tenderize a bake, so you will find it in shortbread cookies for instance,e or when reducing gluten in wheat flour. I hope I have hit what you mean here!
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Stina Norrby on March 21, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Hi Gemma! I love your baking but I have a question. Wen I made your crazy cupcake recipe it stod that I supposed to have four eggs but i think it was to much. I want to make this cake fore my own birthday so I want to make sure everything is perfect. So I was wondering should i use 6 eggs or more or maby less?
    ( Im from Sweden so my spelling might not be correct)
    Can you please answer this and can you please make more cookies??!!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 22, 2018 at 5:06 am

      Hi there,
      This is a traditional recipe really, proportional, based on a Victoria Sandwich.
      If you use 6 eggs, you would use 12ozs butter, 12ozs sugar, 12ozs flour, a little milk, flavoring etc.
      You could drop one or two eggs, and make up the difference with a little extra milk/buttermilk/yogurt.
      This will be an experiment for you, it may be worth making a small recipe to test it.
      Gemma 🙂

  15. SmithaVinod on March 16, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Hi Gemma,
    Your videos have inspired me to start baking
    So I made a Neapolitan cake for my daughter’s birthday but changed the frosting according to her taste
    Your video are awesome and keep going
    All the love

    • Gemma Stafford on March 16, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      Hi there,
      Thank you, that is so good to hear. It sounds like you had a good celebration!
      Gemma 🙂

  16. Youssef elzayyat on March 14, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Hi Gemma, I’m a big fan of your recipies, (especially the mug ones😋) but I’m trying a lot of your old recipies now and I would LOVE it if there was nutritional information for those too. I dont need them but I really want to know what I’m eating y’know? (I hope this doesnt sound agressive)

    • Gemma Stafford on March 15, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Hi there,
      you make a good point! As we revisit these recipes we will get to address this. As you can imagine we are so busy going forward that we do not always go back, but we will do it when we can.
      You know you can do this too, check out My fitness Pal, this will help,
      Gemma 🙂

  17. Kate on March 13, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Gemma!
    This comment isn’t about the cake, but I’ve been looking for a good peach cobbler recipe. Do you have a recipe that you would be willing to share with us? Thank you so much xoxo!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      I do Kate but I’m saving it to be published at a later date. HOWEVER, I’ll have a look for another. Cobbler is one of my favorite recipes.

      Gemma.

  18. Anas on March 13, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Hi gemma because my family and I don’t like very sweet , buttery things we don’t like buttercream so can i subistitute it with a whipped cream frosting that is stiffed up by cream cheese

    • Gemma Stafford on March 13, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Hi Anas,
      Yes, and no!
      I suppose you can do this, it will be a little like a no bake cheesecake frosting. You will need to keep it chilled, and use double dairy cream to make it work.
      Cream can be stabilized with cornstarch/cornflour too, look it up!
      I would not be too sure how this will work.
      Gemma 🙂

      • Anas on March 28, 2018 at 10:41 am

        Thanks gemma

  19. Terri on March 11, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Can this be made gluten free?

    Happy Birhday

    • Gemma Stafford on March 12, 2018 at 5:04 am

      Hi Terri,
      Really this type of cake does not rely on gluten, but it depends then on the flour you use.
      A good all purpose gf flour should tell you what it is suitable for.
      The manufacturers of these flours also give good advice on their websites, do check this out.
      My crazy cupcake recipe can be a trial for this larger recipe, make a small portion to test the flour.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Terri on March 12, 2018 at 5:42 am

        Thank you for getting back to me.

        I will give your suggestion a try and let you know how it works out.

        Terri

  20. tyaba on March 10, 2018 at 12:46 am

    can I use one and half cups soybean oil instead of butter?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 10, 2018 at 1:59 am

      Hi there,
      soy bean oil is widely used in margarine, and margarine can be used easily in this cake.
      Best to use a block of margarine. If you use oil I think It would be best to reduce the quantity a little, perhaps by 1/3 a cup.
      I have not done this. This is a creamed batter and it is a different technique.
      i hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Sushma V on March 9, 2018 at 6:15 am

    Can this cake be baked in a microwave ?

  22. Sanchita somani on March 8, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Heyy!
    Can i substitute eggs with buttermilk ? If not please tell me another substitute for eggs.
    Thankyou 😃

    • Gemma Stafford on March 9, 2018 at 4:20 am

      Hi there,
      Here is the chart (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/egg-substitutes-for-baking/).
      When choosing a substitute think about the reason for it. In some recipes it is to bind, in others to enrich, in others it is the recipe, as in custards for instance.
      Fruit puree, particularly applesauce works best for this type of sponge cake.
      Where there is a lot of sugar in a recipe you would not use condensed milk, but you could use natural yogurt/flax egg/curd.
      This is about what you have to hand where you live too, so think it through,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. Sushma V on March 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Hey Gemma ,

    What kind of egg substitute can you use in this cake ? and also will the same results come if we use it ? if we use condensed milk how much of the sugar should we remove from the recipe ?

    The cake does look amazing !!!! Congratulations and happy birthday !!!

  24. Asmita on March 8, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Hey! Can salted butter be used in your recipes??
    P.S love your YouTube channel so much!! Your videos make my day better and I eagerly wait for Thursdays.
    Thanks a ton 🌸🌸🌸

    • Gemma Stafford on March 9, 2018 at 5:53 am

      Hi Asmita,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      Yes, I use salted butter in most of mt recipes, even in frosting, though that may be a bridge too far for some.
      Good to have you with us,
      Gemma 😉

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