Neapolitan cake - layers of vanilla and chocolate sponge covered in real strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache

Neapolitan Cake

Strawberries, vanilla and chocolate are one of the best flavour combinations so why not join them together in a cake?! Get the recipe below.

Strawberry, vanilla and chocolate

I’m not going to pretend I know how Neapolitan ice cream got its name or where it even came from (though my guess would be Italy…) All I know is that a big tube of Neapolitan ice cream is a thing of beauty. When we were growing up there was always a tub in the freezer and so this flavour combination makes me think of my childhood.

My sister would always try and get away with just having scoops of chocolate and sure, strawberry was really my favourite, but I liked to combine all three with extra chocolate sauce on top.It just wouldn’t be the same if one of the flavours was missing.

Neapolitan cake - layers of vanilla and chocolate sponge covered in real strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache and topped with macarons

3 layers of cake

Combining all three Neapolitan flavours in a cake was quite a fun challenge.

I toyed with the idea of doing each layer of sponge as a different flavour but was worried that you might not be able to distinguish each layer all that well. I also wanted to make this quite a tall cake and so I wanted to do 4 layers instead of 3.

In the end I opted for 2 layers of vanilla sponge and 2 layers of a moist chocolate fudge cake.

Real strawberry buttercream

Strawberry buttercream sandwiched each of the layers together and covered the cake in its entirety. What makes the buttercream really special is that its not made with food colouring or artificial flavourings.

The colour and flavour comes exclusively from real strawberries making it the perfect cake for summer when strawberries are in abundance.

I particularly love that you get flecks of strawberry throughout the buttercream so you know it’s got real fruit inside!

Neapolitan cake - layers of vanilla and chocolate sponge covered in real strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache and topped with macarons

Drip cakes

To finish it all off, I had to add a chocolate ganache drip. I’m still a big fan of a drip cake! Are you? I just think they look so fun!

My ganache is absolutely fool proof so you’ll have no problems getting it to drip down the side. You can see more drip cakes here.

The recipe

5 from 2 votes

Neapolitan Cake

This Neapolitan cake is made with two layers of chocolate sponge and two layers of vanilla sponge, sandwiched with strawberry buttercream and topped with dark chocolate ganache.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Decorating Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 minute
Servings 16 people
Author Emma Walton


For the vanilla sponge cake

  • 200 grams butter
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 vanilla pod seeds only
  • 200 grams self raising flour
  • 1 pinch salt

For the chocolate sponge cake

  • 200 grams butter
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 grams self raising flour
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 50 millilitres milk

For the strawberry buttercream

  • 500 grams icing sugar
  • 225 grams butter softened
  • 100 grams strawberries

For the ganache

  • 100 grams dark chocolate
  • 75 millilitres double cream


To make the vanilla sponge cake

  1. Begin by lining two 6 inch cake tins with grease proof paper and place to one side whilst pre-heating the oven to 180C or gas mark 4.

  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar for the sponge until pale and creamy.

  3. Add an egg and continue to beat well.

  4. Keep adding the eggs one at a time (beat well each time) until the mix has become pale and fluffy.

  5. Scoop the seeds out of the vanilla pod and beat into the sponge mix.

  6. Next, sift the flour and salt into the bowl and fold through the wet sponge mix.

  7. Divide the sponge mix between the two tins.

  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30mins.

  9. Take the cakes out of the oven once golden and springy to the touch or a skewer placed in the centre comes out clean.

  10. Allow the cakes to cool completely before attempting to decorate.

To make the chocolate sponge cake

  1. Follow steps 1-10 (omitting the vanilla pod) and adding the cocoa powder and milk at step 6. 

To make the buttercream

  1. Mix the powdered sugar and butter cream in a mixer on a low speed until just combined.

  2. Blitz the strawberries in a food processor to make a puree, as smooth as you like.

  3. Add the strawberry puree to the buttercream and mix on low until combined and a smooth buttercream has formed.

  4. Spread two-three tablespoons of the buttercream between each layer of sponge, alternating vanilla sponge and chocolate sponge each time.

  5. Cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream, starting with a crumb coat first before smoothing the edges. (Make sure you place the cake in the fridge between layers).

To make the ganache

  1. Finely chop the dark chocolate and place to one side.

  2. Gently heat the cream until not quite boiling.

  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir.

  4. Keep stirring until all of the chocolate has melted.

  5. Remove the cake from the fridge and, using a spoon, drizzle the ganache around the top edge of the cake creating the drip effect.

  6. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining ganache.



The macarons on top are a fun way to decorate this cake but fresh strawberries would also work really well!

I’m planning a post explaining how to make the perfect macarons everytime. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in reading it!


  1. This looks splendid indeed and I love the strawberry buttercream addition. I have to confess the only time I ever tried making it, it curdled horribly and I’ve never dared try again. Looking at your recipe, I think lots more sugar must be needed.

    1. It is quite shocking just how much sugar goes into buttercream isn’t it? You’re right though too little and it will curdle and you won’t get the right texture – it’s a fickle beast 🙂

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