Neapolitan Cake

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prep time 1 hour and 30 minutes
cook time 1 hour and 15 minutes


They say good things come in threes, so we say bring on the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry! At birthdays, baby showers, and celebrations of any kind, a Neapolitan cake is sure to appeal to everyone’s taste buds. This indulgent triple threat comes to us from Cookies & Cups.

BY:Cookies and Cups


For the vanilla and strawberry layers:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large Nellie’s Free Range Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup strawberry preserves
  • Pink food coloring

For the chocolate layer:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large Nellie’s Free Range Egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup very hot water

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:

  • 9 Nellie’s Free Range Eggs, whites only
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups (6 sticks) salted butter, softened slightly but still cool
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
  • Pink food coloring
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the decorations:

  • 3 sugar cones
  • Cherries or strawberries (optional)


To make the vanilla and strawberry layers:

  • Preheat oven to 350F Coat 2 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Cut two pieces of parchment paper into 8-inch circles. Place the rounds in the bottoms of the pans. Coat again with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the oil, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt, and continue mixing for an additional 1 minute, until smooth and combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
  • Turn the mixer to low speed and in alternating portions, add in the buttermilk and flour, beginning and ending with flour. Mix for 30 seconds, until combined and smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Pour half of the cake batter into one of the prepared pans; this will be your vanilla cake.
  • Add 1/3 cup strawberry preserves to the remaining batter with a few drops of pink food coloring. Mix at low until combined and color is evenly distributed. Pour the strawberry batter into the other prepared pan.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the center of the cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the middles comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the chocolate cake layer:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut one piece of parchment paper into an 8-inch circle and place in the bottom of the pan. Coat again with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • Add the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed until combined, and then add in the flour and milk, mixing until incorporated. Finally, add in the hot water and mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the Swiss meringue buttercream:

  • Prepare a double boiler by bringing 1 inch of water to a simmer. In a heatproof glass bowl that will sit on top of the saucepan without touching the water, combine the egg whites and granulated sugar. Whisk the ingredients together, and place the bowl on top of the saucepan. Whisk the eggs and the sugar together constantly until the sugar has dissolved. It will take 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix at medium-high speed for 10 to 15 minutes, until stiff peaks form and the mixture is cooled.
  • Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, to the egg white mixture, mixing at medium speed until each addition is incorporated.
  • Remove the whisk attachment from your mixer, and replace it with the paddle attachment. Add in the vanilla extract, and mix at medium speed until smooth and silky, about 2 minutes.
  • Divide frosting. Scoop out a heaping 1 cup of frosting, and place in a medium bowl. This will be for your strawberry frosting. Repeat with another heaping 1 cup of frosting for your chocolate frosting.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of strawberry preserves and a drop of pink food coloring into one of the bowls of frosting, and mix until evenly combined and pink. Set aside.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the semisweet chocolate in 20-second increments until smooth, stirring after each increment.
  • Mix the melted chocolate into the remaining reserved cup of frosting until evenly combined. Set aside.

To assemble the cake layers:

  • Level the cakes with a serrated knife if necessary, so the tops are flat to stack.
  • Place the cooled chocolate cake onto a cake plate. Spread about 1/2 cup of vanilla frosting on top of the chocolate cake. Smooth it out using an offset spatula. Top with the strawberry cake layer and 1/2 cup vanilla frosting. Top with the vanilla cake layer. Lightly coat the entire cake with a thin layer of vanilla frosting as a “crumb coat.” Place the cake in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to set the frosting.
  • Prepare your ice cream decoration for the top of the cake by cutting a small piece of parchment paper and placing it onto a small plate. Using a 2- tablespoon-size cookie scoop, scoop 1 portion of each frosting onto the parchment-lined plate. Place the plate in the refrigerator.
  • Remove the cake from the refrigerator, and starting at the bottom of the cake, spread chocolate frosting all around the chocolate cake layer using an offset spatula or piping bag with a large round tip. Repeat with the strawberry frosting, and then vanilla at the top. Once the frosting is on, use a cake smoother or an offset spatula to smooth the sides of the cake, wiping excess off as you go. The frostings will blend together, creating a rustic, ombré look.
  • Place the cake back in the refrigerator to chill slightly while you make your ganache.

To make the ganache:

  • In a medium-size microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate, corn syrup, and heavy cream together in 20-second increments until smooth, stirring after each increment. Place the chocolate ganache in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before using.

To finish the cake:

  • Remove the cake, frosting scoops, and chocolate ganache from the refrigerator. Stir the ganache, and spread on top of the cake, allowing the chocolate to drip down the sides.
  • Place the frosting scoops on top of the cake, and then place a sugar cone in each scoop to look like an ice-cream cone. Decorate with cherries or strawberries if desired.
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