I baked this cake couple of weeks ago and am late posting it. For the month of Feb Home Bakers Challenge, Siri gave us 5 bakes and I was very tempted to try the macaroons. I never baked them before but this Neapolitan cake won over the macaroons. I saved the recipe and will try the macaroons some other time.
Neapolitan cake has 4 components to it; strawberry cake, chocolate cake, vanilla cake and the frosting. I made half the recipes. It was easy to scale down the recipes for strawberry and vanilla cakes as the recipes used 2 eggs each. But for the chocolate cake, it was quite challenging as the recipe called for 1 egg. I took the easy way out and followed the full recipe, baked half the batter in a cake pan and the rest, I made mini cupcakes.
I started off with the strawberry cake and used a 4 ½” pan. I had a hunch my pan might be too small and I was right. In the second attempt used a 6 – 6 ½” pan. The only problem with this was that I have only one 6 ½” pan and had to use the same pan to bake the other two cakes. It was a bit time consuming process as I had to wait for the cake to cool before I could bake the next one. I started baking the cakes in the night, after dinner. We have an early dinner on weekdays and started baking around 7 pm and it was almost 9:30 by the time I was done baking all three cakes. As I said, the problem was that I had only one 6 ½” cake pan had to use the same pan for all 3 cakes. The actual preparation of the cake batters was a breeze though.
I made ½ the original recipe and that was too much for me to finish. In fact I shared half the cake with my nephew & niece, yet it was too much for me to finish it off. Since I knew I would end up eating most of the cake, I was a bit stingy with the frosting. although i made half of the original recipe, I used only half of what I made. For a rich creamy frosting, please use all of the frosting.
Yields: 6 ½” cake pan and will need a 9” pan if doubling the recipe.
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ Packet or 1 ½ tbsp. Strawberry Gelatin (I used Jell-O and each packet is 3 oz.)
- ¼ cup Unsalted Butter softened
- 1 Egg at room temperature
- ½ cup + 6 tbsp. or 86 – 87 grams All Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp. + ⅛ tsp. Baking Powder
- ¼ cup Whole Milk at room temperature (I used skim milk and microwaved it for 10 seconds to bring it to room temperature)
- ¼ tbsp. Vanilla Extract
- ⅛ cup Strawberry Pure made from frozen sweetened strawberries (I used unsweetened and added ½ tbsp. Sugar. Depending on the size 1 large frozen strawberry will do)
- Line the cake pan with parchment paper and spray it with butter or cooking oil. I lined the pan with butter and dusted it with flour.
- Preheat the oven 350 F.
- Mix vanilla and milk, and keep aside. Combine flour and baking soda, and keep aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. I used my hand held mixer on beat setting.
- Beat in the egg and mix well.
- Add flour mixture little at a time to the creamed mixture and alternate it with milk vanilla mixture. Mix until just combined. I used fold setting on the mixer.
- Blend in the strawberry puree.
- Pour it into the cake pan and bake on a middle rack in pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Temperatures vary from oven to oven and I had to bake mine for 30 minutes.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes and then invert it onto a rack wire and let cool completely.
Classic Chocolate Cake
I could not scale this recipe to ½ so I used the full recipe. I baked half the batter in a 6 ½” pan and rest used to bake mini cupcakes. But if one were to bake a all this batter in a cake pan, then one would need a 9″ round cake pan.
Yields: One 6 ½” round cake and about dozen mini cup cakes
- 1 cup Sugar
- ¾ cup + 2 tbsp. All Purpose Flour
- ¼ cups + 2 tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
- ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
- ½ tsp. Salt
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup Milk (I used skim milk)
- ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup Boiling Water
- Prepare a 6 ½” cake pan with cooking spray and parchment paper. I greased it with butter and flour dusted it. Since I used half the batter for the cake and other half to bake mini cupcakes, I also lined the cupcake pans with cupcake liners. For a one large cake, you will need a 9” cake pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Mix together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the boiling water. The batter will be thin and of flowing consistency.
- Pour into the pan and the cupcakes pans and bake in the middle rack in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or a toothpick inserted comes out clean. I baked mine for 26 minutes and the mini cupcakes for 20 minutes.
- Cool it on a wire rack.
Fluffy Vanilla Cake
Yields: 6 ½” round cake and for double the recipe use a 9“ cake pan.
- 1 large Egg White at room temperature
- ¼ cup whole milk at room temperature (I used skim milk)
- ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
- ¾ cup Cake Flour (check notes for substitutions)
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp. OR 75 grams + 1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- ⅛ tsp. Salt
- 3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter at room temperature and cut into cubes
- Line a 6 ½” cake pan with parchment paper and cooking spray. I greased it with butter and lightly dusted it with flour. For double the recipe use a 9” cake pan.
- In a small bowl combine egg white, 1 tbsp. milk and vanilla. Keep it aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds until all the ingredients mix well.
- Slowly add butter and remaining milk and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 2 minutes.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and slowly add in the egg mixture beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
- Transfer to cake pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean. I baked mine for 28 minutes but left I should have a removed it a bit early. The cake was not very moist like the other two cakes. Please do a cake test 25 minutes into baking for a moist and perfectly baked cake.
- Let it cool on a cooling rack.
Yields: about 5 cups.
- 1 ¼ sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
- 4 cups Powdered Sugar or Confectioners’ Sugar
- ¼ cup Heavy Cream (I used half and half)
- 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
- ½ tbsp. Water
- Less than a Pinch of Salt
- ½ tsp. Strawberry Flavored Extract (this is for taste)
- Pink Food Color (I skipped this)
- Beat butter and confectioners’ sugar with an electric beater for about 2 minutes.
Add vanilla, water, half and half, salt, strawberry extract and whip on high speed until smooth and fluffy. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
- Add food color if using and mix until well blended.
- If the consistency is too thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time and whip for 30 seconds. If it is too thin, add little confectioners’ sugar.
Assembling the Layered Cake:
- Cut strawberry and chocolate cake horizontally into two thin layers. I left the vanilla cake as it is but if one wishes, they could cut it into two for 6 layer cake.
- On a 6 ½” cake board or serving platter or on a cake stand, stack the cakes. I used the cake stand and place 4 wax sheets on four corners of the cake stand, and then place the cake on it. After frosting the cake, wax sheets can be pulled off. This keeps the serving platter or the cake stand clean.
- Place a chocolate layer on the cake stand. Spread a little strawberry jam on the chocolate layer and place a strawberry cake on it. Spread a little strawberry jam on the strawberry cake and layer the vanilla cake on top of it. Spread some jam; layer a chocolate cake, followed by a layer of jam and then the strawberry cake. There should be a layer strawberry jam between each layer of cake. Refrigerate the cake for ½ hour before frosting it. Butter cream frosting can be used instead of strawberry jam.
- To frost, evenly spread butter cream frosting on the sides and top of the cake using a spatula or a butter knife.
Fill a pastry bag with frosting. Using a star tip, pipe a boarder an outline of stars on top and bottom of the cake.
I used only ½ of the frosting but felt I could have layered a thick layer for a rich cake. The choice is yours.