Decadent three layer, three flavor Neapolitan Cake recipe! This incredible, iconic cake is made with vanilla cake, strawberry cake and chocolate cake, all frosted with a strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache. I also add strawberry jam on the inside and fresh strawberries on top! If you love Neapolitan ice cream, you’re going to love the delicious combination of flavors in this cake! It’s the perfect cake recipe for any special occasion!
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Three Flavor Neapolitan Cake
Making this three layer, three flavor cake is actually easier than it looks! I start this cake with a simple vanilla cake batter, then split the batter into equal thirds. One third I leave plain for the vanilla cake layer. For the strawberry layer, I add this strawberry emulsion, strawberry jam and a bit of red and pink food coloring (affiliate links). Next for the chocolate, I add a bit of cocoa powder and melted chocolate chips. I always use a combination of both of my chocolate cakes for maximum flavor!
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
To bring all three cake layers together, I went with one of my all-time favorite frosting flavors – strawberry! This strawberry buttercream is super easy to make and the flavor is perfect! When making the buttercream, make sure to whip the butter by itself before adding anything else. I usually whip my butter for 7 to 9 minutes, until it’s almost white in color and really creamy. Next, add in the confectioner’s sugar. I recommend adding at least 3 cups for this recipe. Adding more sugar will make the frosting thicker and fluffier but sweeter. Once you add in the flavors, do not mix for too long!! Overmixing with the strawberry jam already added can cause the buttercream to separate.
Adding Chocolate Ganache
I garnish this stunning Neapolitan cake with my simple chocolate ganache recipe. I made approximately 1/2 cup of chocolate ganache and let it cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. When the ganache is too hot, it will be too runny and it will also melt the buttercream a little bit. Allow it to cool then transfer into a disposable plastic bag or pastry bag, cut off a small tip, then pour over the edges. Check out my video recipe for the ganache for an in-depth tutorial.
Need a few supplies to make this cake? Here are the links to the products I used for this recipe (affiliate links):
- Strawberry Emulsion – I love the flavor of this extract!
- Ateco Turntable – a must for every cake decorator!
- Cake Spatulas and Cake Scraper – use these tools for a perfectly level and pretty cake.
- Cake Decorating Tips – this set has all my favorite piping tips!
Enjoyed this Neapolitan cake recipe? Check out some of my other decadent cake recipes!
- Summer Sangria Cake – light and fluffy fruit-filled cake with sangria! One of the top recipes on my site!
- Strawberry Zefir Torte – strawberry cake made with Russian marshmallow layers!
- Blackberry Lime Cake – fruity berry cake filled with homemade lime curd!
- Strawberry Tuxedo Cake – vanilla and chocolate cake with no-bake cheesecake filling!
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Neapolitan Cake (video)
For Neapolitan Cake:
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1/2 tsp strawberry extract
- 1/3 cup strawberry preserves
- red or pink food coloring
For Strawberry Buttercream:
- 3 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 3 to 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp strawberry extract
- 1/4 cup strawberry preserves
- red or pink food coloring
For Chocolate Ganache:
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate melts or chips
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam, for filling
- fresh strawberries, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350F/177C. Line three, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Using stand mixer, hand mixer or whisk, combine the liquid ingredients in a large mixing bowl: eggs, oil, milk, vanilla and sugar. Whisk on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are well beaten. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter, then mix on low speed for 1 minute, just until the flour is incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly into three three portions – two portions into separate bowls and the third portion can be added directly into one of the prepared cake pans (vanilla flavor). For the strawberry flavor, add in the 1/3 cup (70 ml) strawberry preserves, strawberry extract and a few drops of red or pink food coloring. Whisk for about 30 seconds, just until well incorporated. For the chocolate flavor, add in the cocoa powder and melted chocolate chips and stir for about 30 seconds, just until well incorporated. Watch my video recipe to see how I do it.
- Transfer the prepared chocolate and strawberry cake batters into the remaining prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; the chocolate cake may take a few minutes extra. Remove the cake layers from the oven when done and cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then on a wire rack until completely cooled. Once cooled, use a long serrated knife to level the tops of the cake layers, if needed.
- Once the cake layers have cooled completely, prepare the strawberry buttercream. Place the softened butter into a large mixing bowl and whisk on high speed for 7 to 9 minutes until the butter is light and fluffy. Stop and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often to ensure all the butter is mixed well. Next, add the confectioner’s sugar – adding more sugar will make the frosting thicker and fluffier but sweeter. Mix in the confectioner’s sugar on low speed first, then on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the frosting is fluffy.
- Add in the strawberry extract, preserves and food coloring. Mix in the preserves for about 30 seconds, just until incorporated. Do not overmix at this step or the buttercream can separate.
- Next, prepare the optional chocolate ganache: place the cream and chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Heat for about 1 minute, or until the cream and chocolate are hot. Stir the cream and chocolate together until a smooth ganache forms. If the ganache still has clumps, heat again in 20 second intervals. If the ganache is too thin, add a few more chocolate chips. If it’s too thick, add more cream. Allow the ganache to cool before using.
- To assemble the cake, spread a generous amount of frosting between each cake layer, topped with a few tablespoons of strawberry preserves. Spread the preserves within 1-inch of the cake layer. Layer the cake starting with the chocolate layer, then strawberry and finish with vanilla. Apply a crumb coat of buttercream and smooth it down with offset spatulas and a cake scraper. I recommend freezing or refrigerating the cake for about 10 to 15 minutes, then applying the final coat of buttercream. Watch my video to see how it’s done.
- Garnish the cake with chocolate ganache, dollops of cream and fresh strawberries. To apply the ganache, transfer it into a plastic bag, cut off a small tip and pour first down the sides of the cake and then on top. Transfer any remaining buttercream into a pastry bag tipped with a star tip; I used Ateco #847. Add dollops spaced evenly apart and fresh strawberries. Cake can be enjoyed right away or refrigerated for up to 1 week. When ready to enjoy, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to thaw to room temperature for at least 1 hour. Keep any cake slices well covered to prevent drying.