Neapolitan. The culmination of three of the very best ice-cream flavors ever created. A kid's dream in one bowl. The concept is simply divine - and something that probably makes most of us remember our childhoods. I've always loved the color combination of Neapolitan, so much so that chocolate, vanilla and strawberry were the colors included for our Rehearsal Dinner!
Not too long ago I started seeing this idea of a Neapolitan cake pop up all over the blogosphere. After seeing it appear on Sweetopia and then again over at Annies Eats, I knew it was a sign that I must make one of these cakes - and I immediately wished I had thought of this back in 2009! I would have loved to include this cake in our Rehearsal Dinner celebration.
A cake like this should be for a special occasion if you ask me. However, this can be particularly challenging for me since I do not yet have children. It's not that often I can find a 'good excuse' to bake a cake like this! I jumped at the chance to make a beautiful and girlie cake for my sister's birthday a couple months ago. And just for good measure, I thought it'd be a good idea to give cakeballs a shot as well since they are so darn cute!
Since I knew I was planning to include 3 layers of cake, it was important to me to use a 6" cake pan. I wanted height but didn't want to create an absolutely ginormous cake for our small family. Since I knew I'd be baking the cakeballs as well, I split the batter for each cake flavor between the 6" round and an 8" square pan. However, you could use any size combination you desire. I had plenty of batter to create the 6" cake and at least two dozen cakeballs in each flavor.
To get started, prep your cake batter according to your recipe or package instructions, one flavor at a time. (I have yet to find a from-scratch recipe for all three flavors that are truly awesome - so I used boxed cake mixes for the convenience. My preference is Duncan Hines for moistness!) Split the batter between your round pan (the one you'll use for the cake) and another pan for the cakeballs (doesn't matter the size or shape). It's always a good idea to place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of your cake pan to ensure the layer comes out of the pan nicely.
Remove the cake-cake from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, working with the pan designated for your cakeballs, empty the cake into a bowl (literally, crumble the cake with a fork to transfer to a bowl). Using your hand mixer, beat the baked cake until you have even bits of baked cake. Next, add a good amount of frosting (about half a can or 1 C of homemade) in the same flavor as your cake. Mix well; place bowl in the freezer for about 2 hours.
Continue baking and prepping the next two flavors of cake in the same way.
Once your cakeballs have firmed up in the freezer, you will be ready to start rolling them. Using a small spoon or melonballer, scoop out some of the cakeball mixture and roll between your hands to create approximately 1" balls. Place them on a prepared baking sheet lined with wax paper and pop them into the freezer. Flash-freeze balls for at least 8 hours.
Once your cakeballs have been flash-frozen, you will be ready to dip them in chocolate or meltable candies. For these cakeballs, I used meltable candies in the cake's corresponding color. Follow the instructions for melting your candies, remembering to heat/melt slowly. The frozen cakeballs will help to temper the melted candy - but it is important for the candy to never exceed 110 degrees F. (Otherwise, you will sacrifice that 'snap' when you bite into the cakeball and will be left with mushy candy coating or forced to keep them refrigerated.)
Use a small, deep dish for melting the candy. Once you've melted the candy, dip the cakeball with a small fork and shake off the excess. Then, place the finished cakeballs on wax paper to set.
Finish cakeballs with sprinkles or melted candy in the other colors!
(If you have more cakeballs than you can use at one time, freeze them prior to coating them with candy. Flash-freezing the cakeballs allows you to store them in one freezer Zip Loc bag without
becoming permanently attached to one another. Cakecalls store nicely in the freezer for up to two months. Keeping the extra in the freezer lends itself to pretty food to share with friends on a moments notice!)
To assemble your cake, prepare a piece of cake cardboard (I chose to cover mine with brown paper to fit the theme - but you can use colored foil as well), preferably on top of a cake stand or cake turntable. Place your first layer on the cardboard; add a layer of frosting. Add the next layer, top down. Continue with the third layer - frost, then add third flavor, top down. Frost a thin layer of buttercream (I made my traditional recipe and colored it light pink) around the entire cake and on top (known as the "crumb layer"). Allow the crumb layer to set (dry) completely. This ensures you get as few flecks of cake (crumbs) in the finished cake. Add another layer or two of frosting to the entire cake. Decorate to finish as you wish!
Slicing into a cake like this is always so exciting. So much anticipation is built up and it's so fun to see how all the colors work together as one cake. I'm looking forward to creating more cakes with multi-colored layers!
Click here for an excellent buttercream tutorial!
1 box or recipe chocolate cake
1 box or recipe strawberry cake
1 box or recipe vanilla cake
1 can or 1 C chocolate frosting
1 can or 1 C strawberry frosting
1 can or 1 C vanilla frosting
'Chocolate' Wilton meltable candy
Pink Wilton meltable candy
'Vanilla' Wilton meltable candy