Neapolitan Cupcakes

September 27, 2014

These Neapolitan Cupcakes have three irresistible flavors: a milk chocolate cupcake, a fluffy vanilla bean cupcake and strawberry buttercream frosting. This is easily the most unique cupcake recipe I’ve made to date! 

Neapolitan Cupcake

Neapolitan Cupcakes From Scratch

Here’s a classic ice cream flavor turned into cupcakes and you’re going to love them! They are soft as clouds and layered with three irresistible flavors: a milk chocolate-like cupcake, a vanilla bean cupcake and a fresh strawberry frosting. I just couldn’t get enough of them!

Because of these, I know I’ve found a new obsession — layered cupcakes. As if I needed another food to be crazy about, but honestly there’s just no way I could resist these.

I have the feeling you’ll be seeing more layered cupcakes on here in the future. I know they can be a little tricky, as finding two batters that have a similar consistency so the top layer doesn’t just sink into the bottom will always be the challenge.

With this unique cupcake recipe, I just used my favorite chocolate cupcake batter and a light and fluffy white vanilla bean batter. I chose not to go with a traditional vanilla cupcake because it would have been too heavy, but also because I wanted a whiter cupcake with less of a yellow tint to it (which egg yolks will do).

I loved cutting the cupcakes in half to see the contrast between the layers, because the cupcakes are more white inside. Yes, these homemade cupcakes take a bit more effort than a traditional cupcake since you have to make two batters, but it is well worth it.

Plus, the recipe does make 24 so it’s not like you are putting in the extra effort for only a dozen cupcakes. Ice cream flavor turned cupcake — you need these in your life, don’t you think?

four Neapolitan Cupcakes on wire rack

Neapolitan Cupcake Ingredients

Don’t let the lengthy ingredient list list scare you off! There are lots of repeat ingredients needed for the cupcake layers.

For the chocolate cupcake layer, you’ll need:

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Baking soda
  • Boiling water
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Heavy cream
  • All-purpose flour

For the vanilla cupcake layer, you’ll need:

  • Cake flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla bean seeds
  • Egg whites
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract

And for the strawberry buttercream frosting, you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Freeze dried strawberries
  • Heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar

Neapolitan Cupcakes cut in half on counter

How to Make Cupcakes From Scratch

  • Make chocolate cupcake batter, then distribute it among 22 paper-lined muffin cups.
  • Make vanilla cupcake batter, then gently add 2 tablespoons of batter on top of the chocolate batter.
  • Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, then leave on counter to cool completely.
  • While the cupcakes cool, make the strawberry buttercream frosting.
  • Pipe strawberry frosting onto cupcakes and enjoy!

Can I Use Fresh Strawberries in the Frosting?

Yes, if you’d rather make fresh strawberry buttercream, you can make a double batch of this strawberry buttercream frosting recipe. It has a few more steps than the strawberry frosting I used in this homemade cupcakes recipe, but it’s equally delicious!

Can I Freeze the Cupcakes for Later?

If you have a special event in mind you’d like to prep these cupcakes for, I recommend making and freezing the cupcake base and waiting until the day of to make the strawberry frosting! Freeze the Neapolitan cupcakes in a freezer bag and thaw on your counter when you’re ready to eat them.

unique cupcake recipe with two layers

Tips for the Best Cupcakes

  • When making the chocolate cupcake batter, the water must be boiling. Warm tap water won’t work!
  • Be careful when spreading the vanilla bean cupcake batter over the chocolate batter — you don’t want the two flavors to mix too much.
  • When making the strawberry buttercream, the butter must be softened to room temperature before you whip it up. If the butter is too cold, it won’t fluff up properly.

Neapolitan Cupcake with strawberry frosting

More Homemade Cupcake Recipes You’ll Love:

Neapolitan Cupcakes

4.75 from 4 votes

A luscious and impressive cupcake with three tempting flavors in one - chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Everyone is sure to fall in love with these!

Servings: 22
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcake

  • 1/3 cup unsweetend cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter , melted
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk (reserve white for white portion of cupcake)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

White Vanilla Cupcake

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7 Tbsp unsalted butter , softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Seeds of 1/2 large vanilla bean I sell them!
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup milk (anything but skim)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Strawberry Frosting

Instructions

For the chocolate cupcake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large heat proof mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and baking soda. Carefully pour in boiling water and whisk until bubbling subsides and mixture is well blended, allow to cool for 5 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on low speed, blend together melted butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, vanilla and salt until well combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in egg and egg yolk. Blend in cocoa mixture then blend in heavy cream. Slowly mix in flour and blend until combined, while scraping down sides and bottom of bowl.
  3. Spoon an even 1/8 cup (2 Tbsp) into bottom of 22 paper lined muffin cups and spread into an even layer, set aside.

For the white vanilla cupcake:

  1. Sift cake flour into a medium mixing bowl. Add baking powder and salt and whisk mixture 20 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter and sugar with vanilla bean seeds on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. In separate mixing bowl whisk together milk, egg whites and vanilla extract until well blended.
  2. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture, then mix until combined, then add 1/2 of the milk/egg mixture and mix on low speed until combined then increase to medium speed and mix 1 minute (if you are using a paddle attachment that doesn't constantly scrape bowl, then mix 1 1/2 minutes and occasionally scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout mixing. Batter should become fluffy). Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until combined, then add remaining 1/2 of the milk/egg mixture and mix on low until combined then increase to medium and mix 1 minute (1 1/2 minutes with regular paddle attachment, it should have the consistency similar to fluffy mousse). Add last 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until well combined.
  3. Gently dollop a heaping 1/8 cup over chocolate layer in cupcake wells and carefully spread batter evenly to edges. 

  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean, about 16 - 19 minutes. Cool in baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (once cool immediately store in an airtight container). Pipe or spread strawberry frosting over cupcake once cooled. 

For the strawberry buttercream frosting:

  1. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, make the strawberry buttercream frosting (you'll need to make a double batch of the recipe I've linked). 

Recipe Notes

  • *The frosting recipe I've linked uses freeze dried strawberries. If you'd rather make strawberry frosting with fresh strawberries, make a double batch of my fresh strawberry frosting recipe
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Neapolitan Cupcakes
Author: Jaclyn