Neapolitan Birthday Cake


Birthday cake.  It’s the one food that can make this mama weak in the knees.  To put it in Star Wars terms (which is how we discuss most things in our house these days); It’s force is strong with me.  The sugar crumb laden delight has the power to make me sneak a second piece when no one’s looking.  It can even go so far as to inspire me to eat healthier than I might normally partake simply so I can feel worthy of my meal ending slice.

With all that in mind, I’m sure you can understand why I look forward to dread the month of February because there are so many doggone birthdays stacked on top of each other that it’s like Christmas in our house all over again.  The amount of cake that passes through this abode in the small span of a couple weeks is seriously outrageous.

The first birthday to arrive on our doorstep is Alex’s.  As you may remember from last year, Alex is all about pink and rainbows.  I wasn’t about to repeat the epic baking adventure that was the rainbow cake last year, so I took it down a notch and created “the rainbow cake” instead.  A much tamer but no less tasty or beautiful creation that received rave reviews from all manner of small tikes involved.

3140napoleoncupcake1The first cake of the month – Pay no mind to my chicken scratch handwriting

From the outside it looks rather unassuming, but slice it open and you’ll find a totally different story.  Neapolitan marble – Seriously fun to look at and even more fun to eat.

Which brings me to my final deep thought.  Wouldn’t it be great if birthday cake was as healthy as spinach?  That way you could eat an entire rainbow without even thinking twice. I know, I know, a girl can always dream.  *Sigh*

But enough wishful thinking, let’s bake it up.  As you can probably guess from the pictures, I made this recipe twice; once as cupcakes and then again as a cake.  Hey, any excuse to whip up a batch right?  It’s actually easier than you might think.  We just swirl up a simple yellow cake batter and then chocolatize one portion followed promptly by the pinkalicious-atizing of another.

Begin by making a basic batter.  Cream together some sugar and butter.  Follow that step with the addition of vanilla and eggs.  I then add in a little sour cream to the mix simply because I can.


Incorporate the sour cream and then put together a separate bowl of dry goods.  You know, things like flour, baking powder, and salt to name a few.


Add that mixture, a bit at a time, to your wet ingredients and spin until incorporated.

Now here’s where it gets fun.  Split the batter into three equal amounts.  One we’ll leave alone.  White section… check.  Grab up the second bucket o’ batter and stir in a drop or two of red food coloring.  Pink section… check.

Finally we’ll work on the chocolate portion.  For this last part you’ll need some cocoa and hot coffee.  I use decaf because seriously you guys, my kids have plenty of energy already.   Mix the cocoa into the coffee until it’s completely dissolved.


Now add the liquid choco-coffee into your third portion of batter along with an extra 1/4 cup of flour.  Chocolate… check.

Time to assemble.  A spoonful of chocolate here, a spoonful of pink there.  Isn’t she pretty?


Once you have all three colors in the cake pan or cupcake paper, you can swirl it if you desire, but I kind of like the way they look separated (and let’s be honest, it’s a whole lot easier just to leave it as is).  Throw it in the oven until cooked and voila.  Neapolitan cake.


Check out the insides of these beauties.  Now that’s a look even the pickiest sweet eater would love.


Finish it up with your favorite frosting and you’re ready for a full blown celebration.

One birthday down, three more to go.  Can someone recommend a good gym?  I think I’m going to need it before this month is over.


Print Save

Neapolitan Birthday Cake

Yield: 12-15 Regular sized cupcakes or one 9x12 Cake

Total Time: 40 min


1 Stick Unsalted Butter (8 Tbsp or 1/2 Cup)
1 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 Cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Tbsp Corn Starch
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Coffee
1/4 Cup Flour (For Chocolate Cake Batter)


Cream together the butter and the sugar.

Add in the eggs and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.

Combine the sour cream into the batter.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients; the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches, mixing until incorporated after each addition.

Separate the cake batter into three equal amounts. Set one aside for the white portion of the cake.

For the pink portion, add a drop or two of red food coloring and fold it in completely.

To make the chocolate portion, mix together the coffee and the cocoa powder.

Add the liquid chocolate to the final portion of cake batter along with the extra 1/4 cup of flour.

For cupcakes, place a spoonful of each color, one on top of the other. If desired, swirl gently with a knife.

For cake, place the entire bucket of the first color into a greased 9x13 cake pan followed by the second color and then the third. Swirl if desired.

Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven and cake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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10 Responses to “Neapolitan Birthday Cake”

  1. 1

    anniebakes — February 12, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

    Great to see you back to blogging, this looks super fun! anne

  2. 2

    Katarina — February 12, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

    Lovely colors! Have a nice day!

  3. 3

    Susan Loren-Taylor | Swoon My Spoon — February 12, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

    What a lucky little boy Alex is to have you for his mama! Happy birthday, Alex!

  4. 4

    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — February 12, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

    We have the Feb crazy birthday rush too! Along with V-day it’s like a sugar rush! I love these cupcakes, and that rainbow is perfect!

  5. 5

    Faith — February 13, 2013 @ 8:27 am

    Happy, happy birthday to Alex!!! What a beautiful cake, Julie…so much fun to see that beautiful cross-section!

  6. 6

    Mari — February 13, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

    A very Happy Birthday to Alex! The cake looks delicious, I wish I could eat a piece.

    Have a wonderful Valentine day :)

  7. 7

    jane warren — February 13, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

    That looks like so much fun! Congrats on another successful Birthday treat.

  8. 8

    grace — February 15, 2013 @ 8:20 am

    i love neapolitan desserts! really cool idea, julie. :)

  9. 9

    Lala — March 21, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

    Well if I didn’t pick the best day to click over to your site! I’ve missed coming by and this is totally worth getting lost over here. Absolutely beautiful and scrumptious looking!

  10. 10

    Jen-Eighty MPH Mom — April 2, 2013 @ 1:18 am

    Aren’t these beautiful! I wish I had a few of them right now – I’ve got a major sweet tooth!

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