Monday, February 6, 2012

Neapolitan Cake

It's the best of all worlds, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. And even better, I made it using one cake mix, and just one batch of icing.

What You Need: (For the Cake)
White cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cup Buttermilk or soured milk*
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/4 cup frozen strawberries, defrosted
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 oz.unsweetened or semisweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
*Soured milk is 1 Tbsp. white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup

What You Need: (For the Icing)
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/4 cup frozen strawberries, defrosted
2 oz. chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Prepare three 6" or 8" round cake pans with a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan, and grease the pan with shortening or cooking spray.
Do Not grease and flour the pans or you will get a "crust" on the outside of the cake that makes for a lot of crumbs, and an unattractive exterior of the cake.

To Make the Cake:
Combine the cake mix, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and buttermilk in a mixer bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.

Divide the batter into three bowls. You will have about 1 1/2 to 2 cups in each bowl.

To make the strawberry cake layer:
Cut the thawed strawberries into small pieces. I use kitchen shears to make it easy on myself. Add 3 Tbsp. flour to the chopped strawberries and their juice.

Mix the strawberry mixture into one of the bowls of cake batter until no white streaks remain.

To make the chocolate layer:
Melt 1 ounce of chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate.
Add 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder and melted chocolate to another of the batter bowls.
Mix until no white streaks remain.

Spoon one bowl of batter into each of your prepared 6" pans.
Bake at 350-degrees for 25-30 minutes (closer to 35 minutes if you use Bake Even Strips). Baking time will be less if you use 8" pans.
Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then invert the cake out of the pan to let it continue to cool out of the pan. (If you let it completely cool in the pan, it will likely stick.)

To Make the Icing:

While the cakes cool, work on your icing. (Full disclosure, I used my leftover icing from my Banana Split Cake, so some of the photos will look familiar if you've seen that recipe.)

Over a pot of simmering water, combine 4 egg whites and 1 cup sugar. Whisk continuously until mixture gets to 160-degrees.
(Click on the link to see a complete tutorial with tricks and tips for making this kind of icing, known as Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing.)

Whip the egg white mixture until stiff peaks form (about 4 minutes on high in a stand mixer). Add vanilla and 3 sticks of room-temperature butter (cut into pieces). Whip again (with the paddle attachment) until it reaches a good icing consistency - about 4 more minutes.

Divide the icing into thirds, about 1 - 1 1/4 cup each. Leave one-third in the mixer bowl.

To Make the Strawberry Icing:
Puree 1/4-1/2 cup thawed strawberries (using a blender or immerison blender).
Add pureed strawberries to one-third of the icing, using your mixer to combine the icing well.
Remove the strawberry icing to another bowl.

To Make the Chocolate Icing:
Melt 1-2 oz. semisweet or unsweetened chocolate. Add melted chocolate to one-third of the vanilla icing. Mix to combine.

To Assemble and Decorate the Cake:
Load each flavor of icing into an icing bag bullet and/or into a piping bag fit with tip #12.
Level each cake so that the top of the cake is not domed.
*Note: I probably would have also "torted" each cake, or cut it into two layers, if I'd have had more icing made. Since I used leftovers, I didn't have enough. If you make a full batch, you should have enough.

Place either the chocolate or the strawberry layer on the bottom. Because I chose not to decorate the sides of the cake, I used my piping bag and tip #12 to pipe a fat circle around the edge. This would give me a little icing that would hang over the edge, and look like it was seeping out from the cake.

Place the vanilla layer(s) in the middle, covering with vanilla icing.

Place the chocolate layer on top.
Now, I skipped a layer of chocolate icing on top here. For two reasons: One- I was low on chocolate icing. Two- I was surprised by how chocolate-y the cake and icing got. It was really chocolatey. But I feel like neapolitan ice cream isn't known for it's super-dark chocolate flavor. Here's where you could make it however you want. If you add the extra layers by splitting the cakes in half, you'd add chocolate there. If you'd prefer more chocolate to strawberry, you can put the chocolate on the bottom and the strawberry on top. I, personally, could eat bowls of the strawberry icing and never want to stop, so I chose that for the heavier flavor.

For the top, use tip #12 and pipe lines of icing. I started with the vanilla in the middle to help keep my spacing even. Then added strawberry and chocolate on either side. You could also do this just with your spatula, but I figured that I would have a steadier hand and straighter lines if I used the piping bags.

Use your spatula to smooth out the icing, being careful to use a straight stroke. I also wiped the back of the spatula off on a paper towel between each smoothing stroke to be sure that I didn't mix my colors (too much).

Smooth out the edges by going around the cake... stopping where each flavor meets so that you don't smear it.

Here's another "if I'd had more icing" note... I would have perhaps added icing around the sides, matching the icing flavor to the cake flavor, and creating rings of icing along the sides. That would have been good. But I didn't.

So, here it is. It's not maybe the most beautiful cake I've ever made, but it is quite tasty, and it wasn't too hard to make, either. I kind of love it for its simplicity.

Click the Links Below to See:
My Recipe Index
Banana Split Cake Recipe

Banana Split Cupcakes Recipe  
Rich Buttercream Icing Recipe 

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1 comment:

  1. The blog shared amazing images of awesome cakes. It is too nice which contains some amazing creams and flavors. I become hungry for this cake. Really delicious.


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