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Friday, June 10, 2011

neapolitan cake.

I have to admit, when I saw this idea on sweetapolita, I think the prospect of this much cake went to my head and I foolishly thought that I could pull it off without basic and reliable chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake recipes. Wait. Scratch that. I already had a go-to chocolate cake recipe, but I just wanted to try a new one that uses brown sugar.

Bad idea. 

The previous one I made was sooo good that this one from the Flour bakery cookbook couldn't hold a candle to it. This one had a different crumb from the mixing method. It's fine-textured and slowly melts in your mouth. I have no qualms about that but it's the degree of chocolaty-ness that really sets it back. This cake uses only cocoa powder too, but it has less depth of flavour. And it borders on being nah. not quite sweet enough and deep, dark bittersweet if it had more cocoa powder. It's a chocolate cake in a dilemma.

I was not exactly pleased with the strawberry cake either. I didn't want to resort to a store-bought cake mix and ghastly neon pink artificial flavoring so I took Dorie's white cake recipe and modified it by replacing some of the milk with strawberry puree instead. I also omitted the lemon extract and essence and added some vanilla. The strawberry flavour that I ended up with was subtle, but noticeable. If I had it on its own I would probably have liked it better but when sandwiched between chocolate cake and sugary strawberry frosting, the strawberry was muted. Such a pity when those two elements could have boosted the flavour even more. I wonder if I could substitute all the milk with strawberry puree? If anyone tries that, please let me know! Or your go-to recipe for strawberry cake would be wonderful too!

Finally, the vanilla cake which I also took from sweetapolita. I found it more almond-y than vanilla which was such a huge disappointment, even after I reduced the almond extract. It had a really interesting texture though. Fluffy yet dense, but not my kind of cake unfortunately. I searched for recipes for the best vanilla cake but many results showed me plain cake recipes, meaning that no form of vanilla was listed in the ingredients at all. Vanilla cake DOES NOT mean plain! Vanilla is a flavour which has a simple elegance that should be respected and loved as a unique individual! Sorry. I'm just defending my favourite flavour. So if you have a really good vanilla cake recipe you would like to share, please do!

*Update: When I had my second slice of cake I found that the strawberry and chocolate layers' flavours improved but the vanilla one is still very shaky.

I think I should have gone with oil-based recipes that wouldn't turn so hard when chilled since that is my preference.

I chose a sweet powdered-sugar-based frosting because I was feeling a little lazy. The problem with this kind of frosting is that not much liquid can be added without it turning into a soupy disaster. To tackle this while adding as much strawberry flavour as I could, I reduced my strawberry puree on the stovetop until half is left, letting it cool, and then adding proceeding with the recipe. I'm happy to say that this method totally works! Even among the sweetness the strawberry flavour was still very much pronounced. You must definitely give this a go! Especially when paired with dark chocolate chunks!

My piping skills is an embarrassment. I wanted to achieve that look of the inside-out neapolitan cake sweetapolita made but I didn't pipe it close to the edge enough. I need to practice more. More cake for me!

Even if I was not satisfied with the cake layers themselves, I'm so glad that I gave the neapolitan a go. It's tons of fun and extremely rewarding.

Since I'm not entirely happy with the cake recipes, I shall not post them but here's the strawberry frosting recipe. Oh and as excited as you are about blogging about any kind of cake with frosting while you're eating it, here's my tip: don't. I just got frosting on my mouse!

Oh yes! Don't forget to visit this page if you have any bake sale recipe ideas!

Fresh Strawberry Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup strawberry puree, reduced to 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 cups powdered sugar (adjust to achieve your desired consistency)

Cream butter in an electric mixer on medium-speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Then add in the strawberry puree and vanilla and mix on low-speed until combined.  Gradually add in the  powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, another 3-5 
minutes.  (Add in more powdered sugar if consistency is too thin.)

Linked to These Chicks CookSweet Treats Thursday, Thrilling Thursday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday and Sweet Indulgences Sunday.


  1. Too bad that the chocolate didn't turn out as you hoped, but it does look wonderful. That is the cutest cake I've seen in a while! Thanks for coming by to share your recipe :) Have a great weekend!

  2. It's a gorgeous cake! I love it! The pink, white, and brown are so pretty together. I'd like to invite you to share on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.