Neapolitan cake with layers of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry buttercream frosting. A classic ice cream flavor turned into a delicious and beautiful cake!
This is such a pretty cake to make for a celebration or special occasion. It looks so elegant but is really simple to prepare. Some of my other favorites are cheesecake, chocolate souffles, brownie strawberry trifle, fresh fruit tart and chocolate peanut butter cheesecake.
Simple Neapolitan cake recipe
We made this cake for my husband’s birthday last month and decided to go with 3 flavors because we couldn’t decide on just one. Then the idea came to do the fun twist on our favorite Neapolitan flavors. Queue a delicious Neapolitan cake!
There’s just something about strawberry buttercream that makes me want to sing and dance all at the same time. The 3 frosting flavors compliment each other perfectly and add the perfect addition to any chocolate cake.
You could also do this with a white or yellow cake too. Hey, even a strawberry cake would be yummy! Now I’m thinking I need to try that next…because let’s be honest, strawberry anything is my jam.
My favorite part about this cake is the Neapolitan colored sprinkles and chocolate kisses on top! It turns an ordinary chocolate cake into something extraordinary! This cake would be perfect for your next celebration whether that’s for back to school, a birthday party or graduation. As Julia Child said “A party without cake is just a meeting.” :)
Neapolitan cake filling
What I love about this Neapolitan cake recipe is that it uses box cake mix which makes it super easy! Just use one box of cake mix and divide into three cake rounds before baking. Then while the cakes are baking, you’ll start making the different Neapolitan frosting layers.
Start making the big “base” batch of the classic buttercream, then divide that frosting into 3 bowls. To make the chocolate buttercream variation, you’ll add in some unsweetened cocoa powder and melted chocolate kisses. For the strawberry buttercream variation, you’ll fold in some finely diced strawberries.
Classic vanilla buttercream
- Powdered sugar
- Cream or milk
Instructions: In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter using an electric mixer. Slowly add in 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and 2 more cups of powdered sugar and continue mixing. At this point, you may need to add a teaspoon or two of milk to thin the frosting down.
Slowly add in your last 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add more or less milk depending on the consistency. You want the frosting to be thick, creamy and to be able to hold a point. Then divide the frosting into 3 bowls (one for classic, one for chocolate and one for strawberry).
- Classic buttercream base
- Add in unsweetened cocoa powder
- Add in melted chocolate kisses
Instructions: Add the cocoa powder to one of the bowls of classic buttercream and stir. Then melt 12 chocolate kisses in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir until smooth and cook an additional 20 seconds if needed. Then stir melted chocolate into the frosting and mix.
- Classic buttercream base
- Add in chopped strawberries
Instructions: Pick up one of the bowls of classic buttercream frosting and place frosting back in the mixing bowl. Add in the finely diced strawberries and mix. Add in an additional 1 cup of powdered sugar (more or less if needed) to thicken and mix until smooth.
To frost the Neapolitan cake:
Now for the fun part: frosting the Neapolitan cake! My oldest daughter is my little baker and loves being in the kitchen with me. She had such a fun time helping me frost the cake! We always have so much fun together being silly in the kitchen and making memories.
- First layer: Place one layer of chocolate cake onto a cake stand or plate. Add a thick layer of strawberry frosting to the center of the cake, reserving some of the edges.
- Second layer: Add the second layer of cake on top of the strawberry frosting. Frost the top with the classic buttercream, reserving some for the edges.
- Third layer: Add the third layer of cake on top of classic buttercream and frost with chocolate buttercream. I like to use a 1M frosting tip to fill in the gaps between each layer with frosting and to add some decorative flowers along the top edge.
Next up, decorations! We picked out 3 different sprinkles for the Neapolitan cake and I love that they came in different shapes, sizes and colors. It gave a nice touch to the top of the cake. Sprinkles just make everything better in my opinion!
We also lined the top border of the cake with chocolate kisses. Don’t they look so pretty?! They of course make it extra yummy too!
Time for a giant slice with a cold glass of milk! YUM!
More chocolate cake recipes:
- German Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Bundt Cake
- Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake
- Texas Sheet Cake
- Better Than Anything Cake
Neapolitan Cake Recipe
- 3 chocolate cake rounds (using a box mix or your favorite recipe)
- 4 sticks salted butter , softened
- 8-10 cups powdered sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons cream , or milk
- 1/2 cup strawberries , chopped very fine
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 30 chocolate kisses
- Mix together cake batter and pour into 3 separate cake rounds. Bake according to package directions and allow to cool.
- To make the classic buttercream, whip the butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Slowly add in 2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until combined. Add the vanilla and 2 more cups of powdered sugar and continue mixing. At this point you may need to add a teaspoon or two of milk to thin the frosting down. Slowly add in your last 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add more or less milk depending on the consistency. You want the frosting to be thick, creamy and to be able to hold a point.
- Divide the frosting into 3 bowls.
- For the strawberry buttercream, place 1/3 of the frosting back in the mixing bowl and mix in the strawberries. Add in an additional 1 cup of powdered sugar (more or less if needed) to thicken and mix until smooth.
- For the chocolate buttercream, add the cocoa powder to the bowl of classic buttercream and stir. Add 12 chocolate kisses to a microwavable bowl. Melt in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir until melted. Cook an additional 20 seconds if needed. Then stir into the frosting and mix until smooth.
- To frost the cakes, place one layer of chocolate cake onto a cake stand or plate. Then add a thick layer of the strawberry frosting to the center of the cake, reserving some of the edges. Then add the second layer of cake and frost with the plain buttercream frosting, reserving some for the edges. Then add the third layer of cake and frost the top with the chocolate frosting. I like to use a 1M frosting tip to fill in the gaps between each layer with frosting and to add some decorative flowers along the top edge. Next, place chocolate kisses along the top edge of the cake and add sprinkles to the center of the cake.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Can use other types of cake, like vanilla, yellow or strawberry.
- I like to place my cake rounds in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before frosting.