Sometimes you make just have to make a huge scrumptious 3- layer cake, for no reason at all…

This neapolitan layer cake is the perfect grown up birthday cake, layers are strawberry, nutella, and vanilla, and it is sooo tasty! callmebetty.com

Then you feel guilty for having that huge hunk of deliciousness staring you in the face so you say it’s for your daughter’s half-birthday.  But you don’t let her eat any…because she’s six months old, and that would be a waste of good cake! Besides,you are the one who has kept her alive for 6 months…and that’s a pretty big deal.

You deserve it, really, the cake that is.  All of it, in fact.

This neapolitan layer cake is the perfect grown up birthday cake, layers are strawberry, nutella, and vanilla, and it is sooo tasty! callmebetty.com

In all seriousness, this is my new go-to birthday cake recipe.  The three different flavors taste wonderful together, and on their own. Each of the layers could make a stand-alone cake that is delicious.  What REALLY makes this cake is the buttercream frosting.  My. Goodness.

I’m a little behind the times on the cooked buttercream craze, but I’m so glad I decided to join the party.  There are a lot of recipes out there for this frosting which basically involves making a bechamel-type sauce with flour, sugar, and milk, then after that mixture has cooled whipping it up with hoards of butter.  It is light, fluffy, perfection. I used this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and it rocks.  I would highly recommend it, however any buttercream frosting will do for this cake!

This neapolitan layer cake is the perfect grown up birthday cake, layers are strawberry, nutella, and vanilla, and it is sooo tasty! callmebetty.com

Now when you’re making this cake, don’t get all hand-mixer happy on me, okay?  Cakes don’t like to be over-mixed, in fact overmixing can lead to dense, tough cakes because too much gluten has been developed, or your cake may fall in the center because you whipped too much air into the batter.  Nobody wants that right?!

My cakes turned out flat enough that I was able to frost and layer them without leveling off the cakes.  It wasn’t perfect, but good enough for the boys I date. If you wanted to go all perfectionist on me, you certainly could cut off the top of the cake to be perfectly flat before frosting and layering, mmkay?

This neapolitan layer cake is the perfect grown up birthday cake, layers are strawberry, nutella, and vanilla, and it is sooo tasty! callmebetty.com

Alright, alright. To the recipe. Whew, I may need to go get some cake to get me through this post!

Neapolitan Layer Cake

Neapolitan Layer Cake

Yield: 14

This neapolitan layer cake is as beautiful as it is tasty.  The three different flavors of cake are a delight, and the buttercream frosting is to die for! This is the pefect birthday cake. 

Ingredients

Vanilla Layer

  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C cake flour, (can use all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C buttermilk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Layer

  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 C cake flour, (can use all purpose)
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 C buttermilk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Strawberry Layer

  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C cake flour, (can use all purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C whole strawberries, (should yield about 1/3 C pureed)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Frosting

  • 2 C butter
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar, (1 bag, 8-9 C)
  • 2-4 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt, (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Trace a 9-inch cake pan onto parchment paper 3 times and cut out 3 circles to line your cake pans.

Vanilla Layer

  1. Using a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter until light in color and very fluffy.  Add sugar and beat until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in egg. 
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl until combined.  
  3. Add flour mixture, buttermilk, and vanilla to sugar/butter mixture.  Fold the ingredients together softly by hand until just combined.  Do not overmix or you will have a tough final product. 
  4. Pour mixture into one of the three prepared cake pans. 

Chocolate Layer

  1. Repeat directions for the Vanilla layer adding cocoa powder with the dry ingredients

Strawberry Layer

  1. Puree strawberries in a food processor until smooth. Repeat directions for other layers  Add in place of buttermilk. 

Baking the Cake

  1. Bake the cakes on the top shelf at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes until a tootpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10-20 minutes, remove from pans and cool on a cooling rack until completely cool.  Let cool completely before frosting. 

Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually Add powdered sugar until it's all incorporated.  Add vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of milk.  Continue adding milk until frosting has reached the consistency you desire.  Add salt if desired to cut the sweetness of the frosting a little. 
  2. Assembling your cake
  3. Use a bread knife to level off your cakes.  Pipe frosting onto the first layer and place the second layer on top.  Repeat with the remaining layers.  Frost the cake lightly to cover the crumbs.  Add the rest of the frosting creating swirls with your spatula as you desire.  You may choose to pipe flowers or stars around the bottom of your cake. 
  4. Enjoy!

Amanda

Amanda is a dietitian turned mom and food blogger. Her goal is to change lives one family at a time by providing easy, from scratch, family friendly recipes that the whole family will enjoy!

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Neapolitan Layer Cake