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Neapolitan layer cake recipe

Neapolitan layer cake recipe

34 ratings

This impressive layered strawberry, chocolate and vanilla cake is a must for Neapolitan ice cream lovers. A perfect special occasion cake, whether it's for a baby shower, birthday party or Mother’s Day afternoon tea, you can even go the extra mile and make the gorgeous cake bunting in our tip below. See method

  • Serves 20
  • 25 mins to prepare and 20-25 mins to cook, plus cooling
  • 463 calories / serving
  • Freezable


  • 325g strawberries, halved and hulled
  • 300g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 375g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 x 284ml pot buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 375g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 x 10g tube pink gel food colour
  • 700g icing sugar
  • 6-7 tbsp milk
  • 20g dark chocolate, grated
No self-raising flour? Add 2 tsp baking powder for every 150g plain flour

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    16g 22%
  • Saturates

    9g 45%
  • Sugars

    65g 72%
  • Salt

    0.4g 7%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 81.4g Protein 3.9g Fibre 1.2g


  1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and line 3 x 18cm round tins. In a blender, purée 100g of the strawberries, then remove the pips by passing through a fine sieve. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric hand whisk, beat 180g of the butter until smooth. Add the caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy, then beat in half the buttermilk. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well, then fold through the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the remaining buttermilk.
  3. Divide the batter between 3 bowls. Fold the melted chocolate into one bowl, and 1 tsp vanilla extract into the second. Mix the strawberry purée and pink food colour into the third. Pour the batters into the 3 lined tins. Bake for 20-25 mins, until a skewer comes out clean.
  4. To make the buttercream, whisk together the icing sugar, remaining butter, vanilla extract and 6 tbsp milk, until of a smooth spreading consistency. Add an extra 1 tbsp milk if necessary.
  5. Level the sponges using a serrated knife, then sandwich the cakes together by spreading 200g buttercream between each layer, with the chocolate sponge on the base, the vanilla sponge in the middle and the strawberry sponge at the top.
  6. Using a knife, coat the cake with the remaining buttercream. Sweep around the cake with a palette knife held at a 45 degree angle to remove the excess icing and reveal the sponge beneath. Decorate with the grated chocolate and remaining strawberries, and add the bunting (see tip).

Tip: To make cake bunting, cut out small diamonds from pretty wrapping paper. Fold each in half to make a triangle. Glue the points of the triangles together, leaving space at the fold. Thread onto string, insert 2 skewers into the cake and secure the bunting in place by tying the string onto the top of each skewer and securing with sticky tape.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

Freeze cakes only. Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or icing if called for. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.

Loosen tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 mins in a moderate oven.

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