Neapolitan Cake and Grand Designs

Arabella has just a handful of school days left before she graduates, has two weeks of holidays, then heads back to sit her exams.  It seems we’ve entered a time of finishing, finals and farewells and on Tuesday she will have her last drama class.  Last week the class decided that on their last lesson they absolutely must have a class party.  The teacher suggested everyone bring something for the girls to share.  But they all instantly looked at Arabella.

Neapolitan Cake

‘What about those brownies your mum made?  Could you bring those in?’ asked one.

And hot on her heels another said, ‘And I really liked the fruit slice.  Could you bring that in too?’

Then a great suggestion came from the back of the room, ‘I know, what about if your mum makes all the sweet things.’

‘Yeah’, they all said in unison, ‘Your mum’s the best cook’.

Pretty in Pink

So Arabella came home from school on a high with grand visions of her final drama class and presented me with a long list of everyone’s requests.  ‘What’s this?’ I asked.

‘We’ve organised a class party and these are the things we’d like you to make.’  And I looked at the list in disbelief.

‘How much food can a bunch of dieters eat?’  (Because they’re all losing weight to fit into their formal dresses for the Valedictory Dinner).  ‘And what’s everyone else bringing’.

‘No, no one’s bringing anything.  We’ve decided we just want you to make the food’.

‘Really?  Don’t I look tired.  I can’t do that Arabella, I want you to have a nice class party but I’m not the class caterer.  I’ll do one thing and I’ll make it special’.

I started to think about when I was at school and what would have been special to me.  I remembered a friend I had in primary school and I used to be green with envy because everyday she had in her lunch box a large slice of what was called, ‘Rainbow Cake’.  It wasn’t the colours of the rainbow though it was white, brown and pink and just the colours of my favourite neapolitan ice cream.  It was definitely a bought cake that was sandwiched together with mock cream and covered in pink icing and was clearly laced with artificial colourings and flavourings which summed up everything I loved and everything I wasn’t allowed.

With nostalgia egging me on, I decided to make this, a homemade version, for my daughter’s final drama class.

Neapolitan Cake

Serves:  An entire drama class

Degree of Difficulty:  4/5 (because of the time involved and the mess, mess, mess)

Cost:  Actually not a lot because it requires basic, easy to source ingredients.

For the Chocolate Layer:

  • 185g butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tspns baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk

Pre-heat oven to 160C (350F).

Grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time stirring well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients and milk and beat until well combined.  Pour into prepared pans and bake for 35 mins or until cooked.  Rest for 5 mins in pan then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool.

For Vanilla Layer:

  • 185g butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tspns baking powder

Pre-heat oven to 160C (350F).

Grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients and beat until well combined.  Pour into prepared pans and bake for 35 mins or until cooked.  Rest for 5 mins in pan then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool.

For the Strawberry Layer:

  • 185g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 packet strawberry jelly
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tspns vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 2 tspns baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries (I mashed the strawberries with a fork)

Cream butter, sugar and jelly crystals until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients alternating with milk and beat until thoroughly combined.  Stir through pureed strawberries.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 mins or until cooked.  Rest for 5 mins in pan then turn out onto a wire rack to completely cool.

This recipe has been loosely adapted from Sweetapolita’s Neapolitan 5-Layer Birthday Cake with Strawberry Frosting.

(For best results, wrap cakes individually in cling wrap and freeze overnight to make the assembling and icing of the cake easier).

For the Mock Cream:

  •  1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 250g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Gently dissolve the sugar and water until you have a syrup consistency, then boil for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Beat butter and vanilla until it is as white as possible.
Gently pour in the cooled syrup in a thin stream until mixture is light and fluffy.

(For best results, do not refrigerate the mock cream as it will be too hard to spread over cake).

This recipe has been adapted from ABC Central West, Mock Cream.

For the Strawberry Frosting:

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 60mls whipping cream
  • 1 tbspn vanilla extract
  • splash of strawberry essence (I used Queen)
  • pink food colouring

Beat butter until white as possible.  Gradually add icing sugar.  Beat in cream and vanilla and strawberry essence.  Taste to see if more essence needs to be added to give that strawberry flavour.  Tint icing pink.

This recipe has been loosely adapted from Sweetapolita’s Neapolitan 5-Layer Birthday Cake with Strawberry Frosting.

(For best results, do not refrigerate and use immediately).

To Assemble Cake:

If necessary (and it was for me) trim cakes so they are of a consistent height, about 4cm.

In the middle of a large cake board or similar (I used a 12 inch (30cm) cake board) place a spoonful of mock cream, then place the chocolate layer of cake on top.  This will stop the cake from slipping and sliding on the board.  Spread top of cake with mock cream then place strawberry layer on top.  Spread with mock cream then place vanilla layer on top.  Cover cake completely with strawberry frosting.  Decorate by piping around top of cake and base of cake with tiny buds of icing.  Using tweezers, place tiny candy balls in centre of each bud.  Decorate top of cake with anything you fancy.  (I used tiny white and pink flowers I bought from a kitchenware shop). 

This cake is rich and sweet.  Great for teenage girls all excited about finishing school and stepping out into the world.

Want to keep in touch?  Join me on Facebook! 



  1. Juliet Batten says:

    How fabulous. I remember Neapolitan cake, and the surprise and wonder of discovering those coloured layers inside. This looks so decadent, and so girly! It will be a big hit, I’m sure.

  2. Wowzers – that cake looks great. I hope you made some homemade ice cream to go with it – made from fresh milk you milked yourself! Kids hey, they have no idea how long stuff takes to make!

  3. Dramatically beautiful cake and perfect for the occasion. Well done.

  4. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    That looks fabulous Charlie! Love the cut open pic. now how did you manage to get that shot and then give it to them? 😉 I always find that the tricky part! 🙂

  5. thelifeofclare says:

    It’s stunning. I was shocked that the teacher let that slide, asking one mum to bake everything! Crazy. You did a fantastic job, the cake looks amazing!

  6. What a beauty! I would have been dramatically happy with that 🙂 Used to love rainbow cake as a kid! xxx

  7. Green Dragonette says:

    That is one dramatic cake Charlie!! Absolutely fabulous-hope
    the whole drama class was suitably impressed…

  8. WOW! This is art… so beautiful. Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  9. Wow! Gorgeous cake and I bet it tasted amazing too. Sigh, to be 18 again with your whole life ahead of you.

  10. Amazing cake! But I’m really wondering what “the girls” all thought of it 😉 I’m sure it was a hit! Can’t go wrong with pink and delicious 🙂

  11. Gorgeous cake. How lovely that the entire class ‘volunteered’ you to make all the sweets. Flattering, I’m sure. 🙂

  12. Glamorous Glutton says:

    What a fabulous cake Charlie, so pretty and perfect for a final celebration. I love the fact that the compliment of being the best cook gives yo the most, no, all the work. A beautiful comprimise. GG

  13. This cake looks absolutely amazing!!!!!!!! and i’m not surprised the girls wanted you to cook everything!!!!!!

  14. kitchenriffs says:

    Beautiful. Great looking cake, nice recipe, and a terrific – and instructive – story. Well done.

  15. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    How lovely! Arabella must have been thrilled. My Mom always said she had three hand-raisers, as in “My Mom will make the cookies. My Mom will drive.” And with good reason. It sounds like your three have good reason for volunteering you as well. Isn’t it nice to be appreciated? Beautiful cake and great, instructive recipe. Thanks!

  16. You. Are. Amazing. So pink! So fluffy! So pretty!

  17. This cake is the epitome of perfect – I don’t think this drama class could have asked for more 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. Charlie, in my next life, I’d like to be your daughter, please. 🙂

  19. Well, the girls may have not been right in expecting you to cater the party but they sure were right recognizing your talent. Charlie, this cake is fantastic! You are quite the cake decorator. One day I should post a pic of some of my cake decorating. You know, for comic relief. 🙂

  20. Perfect cake for all the little princesses- or in this case Drama Queens! No wonder you were ‘volunteered’! If you wish to avoid this in future Charlie you really need to lower their expectations- burn the edges of the cake perhaps, leave lumps in the buttercream, cough syrup instead of strawberries for flavoring 🙂 I’m sure you will find you have much more time on your hands! Xox

  21. You are the best mum in the world. No one could complain about lack of variety when this arrived at school – it is many things in one.

  22. Good thing you left this cake for their final party…. Otherwise it would just have been added to the list for the next one! 😉

  23. yummychunklet says:

    What a beautifully decorated cake!

  24. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Charlie you are such a wonderful mother! The cake looks just gorgeous.

    I love that they all turned to you for the sweets. Seems like a big request but you should be honored that they all think so highly of your baking!

  25. Charlie!! You are one superstar of a Mum. I can’t imagine any child (no matter young or old) who wouldn’t be the envy of the class if they brought this in. And LOL at the flattery you’ve been receiving, both pros and cons huh? But man this really is fantastic and PERFECT! Always in awe by how people like you can make your layers so even and impeccable. Am sure it tasted great. Gotta try that mock cream soon too.

  26. That is a gorgeous cake Charlie! I mean absolutely stunning. I’m sure the whole drama class was overjoyed. And what a great compliment that they all wanted you to be the baker (even if a bit unrealistic to have you make lots of things). This is just so impressive. 🙂

  27. Okay, how did you get that first piece out so perfectly and have it stand up that way? I couldn’t do that if I made 10,000 cakes I don’t think! It’s beautiful!

  28. And not one from the Drama Class would have measured their waistline nor stepped on a scale, dear Mother 🙂 ! Far too much fun!!

  29. The Squishy Monster says:

    This is STUNNING! I’d die of happiness if someone made this for me! …and nostalgic of all those kiddie years of scooping up Neapolitan ice cream–YUM!!

  30. Wow, what an epic cake!

  31. OMG you can sell this cake Charlie 🙂 I wish I was that talented at decorating cakes ~ You definitely made it special for Arabella and I agree with everyone that you are an amazing cooK!

  32. What a beautiful cake Charlie! And how good would it feel hearing that your cooking has such an awesome reputation?

  33. Wow! What a stunning cake! Your daughter is a very lucky daughter (as are all her class mates!) I’m sure they all loved it!!

  34. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    You are just the best Mom ever! Magnificently done Charlie – a beautiful cake -well worth all of the effort.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  35. Feeds an entire drama class? wow. I can imagine that I d finish half the cake before my stomach would start to protest. Very pretty, perfect cake. You went all out this time Charlie. 😉

  36. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    This cake is stunningly beautiful. Wow. But I would never attempt it given the level of difficultly. Does this ship well? Perhaps you should sponsor a cake give-away. Yeah, I thought not, but a girl can only try.

    That Arabella’s class wanted you to prepare all of the food is such a compliment. But I am not surprised based on what I read on these pages every day. If I possessed even an ounce of your talent in the kitchen, I would be pleased.

  37. It’s gorgeous!! Maybe you should open a little bakery on school grounds? Sounds as though all of the students would support you well! 🙂

  38. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Wow, I’m so impressed! Really gorgeous. Of course they wanted you to make the treats. I’m sure you really are the best cook! And I bet it tasted as good as it looked.

  39. Wow … This is gorgeous … It looks so professional and delicious 🙂

  40. Oh, this may be beyond my ability, Charlie, but I would LOVE to be able to bake this gorgeous cake. Every week you give me my new “bar” to hurdle, and this one is my new goal. It’s spectacular! Congratulations to Arabella…what a girl! She has a bright future ahead of her, I am certain. And congratulations to her mother, too….that is for sure. You should get major credit for her success! 🙂

  41. Wow!!! This cake looks amazing! Almost too pretty to eat! 🙂

  42. Barb Bamber says:

    Your daughter must have been just thrilled to bring this cake to their celebration! I know what they will be requesting for their next party! I was thinking the other day how much I love the chocolate, pink and white combination.. just makes me feel happy! I wondered if you’d get a photo of the cake slice.. I had trouble working that one out, I wanted the photo, but didn’t want to slice it before I presented the cake to my friends intact! So glad to see the “insides” of your pretty cake!

  43. Are you kidding me Charlie???? Ehat a beautiful amazing cake is this, I;m so excited, you are so talented (of course i knew that but i guess the range is huge)!! i;m sure that if I try to make it i will so spoil this amazing image that you gave me and I have in my mind..

  44. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    Now that is a real stunner…everyone will be wanting you to bake a cake for the next event. Beautiful job.

  45. Totally agree with you, obviously everybody likes Neapolitan Cake. And your tips really helpful for muffins . Nice Post very informative!


  1. […] be pleased to know Arabella has had lovely class parties where the neapolitan cake and mini quiches were a huge success.  Such a success in fact that it has been requested I make a […]

Speak Your Mind