My birthday was this week.  If you have been reading my blog a long time (or at least, since my last birthday) then you may remember that I like to make my own birthday cake.  For me, it’s an opportunity to make something new and fun, and spend some time playing in the kitchen.  You also may remember that for me, choosing what cake to make is an agonizing decision.  It doesn’t need to be, but I always make it into a big deal and I simply cannot make the choice myself.  This year I wrote down a list of all my potential cakes, numbered them, and asked Ben to choose a number.  And so I present to you this year’s winner, neapolitan layer cake.

As it turns out, this was a wonderful cake choice.  Every year growing up our nanny would bake each of us the birthday cake of our choice.  It was always simple, from a box with canned frosting, but it was what I was used to and I loved it.  My choice for as long as I can remember was strawberry cake with vanilla frosting, and it was delicious.  When it turned out that this cake was the winner of Ben’s random decision, I was happy because it is basically a much more involved version of that basic strawberry cake.

Baked goods such as this with several components are my favorite kind to make.  I love the complexity, and the ability to work on one part at a time, as I have time, and then see the whole thing come together into one awesome cake.  This includes layers of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake, as well as strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.  Three separate cake layers are baked and then torted to create six thin halves.  I only used one of the vanilla halves here.  If you decide to go that route, you might consider halving the amount of vanilla batter and then avoid ending up with an extra layer of cake – that’s probably what I will do next time.  This time I used a thin smear of vanilla buttercream between the cake layers to help them stick together, but next time I think I will use strawberry jam as was done in the original recipe.  That is mainly for appearances, as I felt the layer of frosting between the cake layers made the inside a little less visually impressive.  I really wanted to accent the top of the cake with chocolate and strawberry Whoppers, but my store didn’t have the strawberry kind in stock and I didn’t feel like making an extra trip just for that.  But I think it would look super cute!

This was very well received by the friends that came over for my birthday dinner.  It’s a fun, whimsical cake that made me feel more like a kid and less like I’m getting closer and closer to 30 :)  And as you can see, my little buddy enjoyed a little extra frosting during the decorating process.  He loves to help me in the kitchen, particularly when there is frosting involved.


For the chocolate cake:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the white cake:
2 large egg whites
1¾ cup all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup very cold water
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract

For the strawberry cake:
1¼ cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1½ oz. strawberry gelatin
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup sweetened strawberry puree*

For the filling:
Easy vanilla buttercream or good quality strawberry jam

For the strawberry buttercream frosting:
1½ cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped*
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

*To make the strawberry puree, process partially thawed frozen strawberries with a bit of sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth.  If using sweetened frozen strawberries, no additional sugar is necessary.


  • 01

    To make the chocolate cake, butter and flour the edges of a 9-inch round pan, shaking out the excess flour.  Line the bottom with a round of parchment.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg.  Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.  Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth.  Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges, then turn the cake out onto the rack and let cool completely.

  • 03

    To make the white cake, butter and flour the edges of a 9-inch round pan, shaking out the excess flour.  Line the bottom with a round of parchment.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Increase speed to medium high and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  Transfer the egg whites to another bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of the electric mixer now fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Blend in the water, vanilla and almond extracts.  Beat in the remaining dry ingredients just until incorporated.  With a silicone spatula, stir in about a quarter of the egg whites to lighten the batter.  Gently fold in the remaining egg whites, until the batter is smooth and no streaks remain.

  • 04

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges, then turn the cake out onto the rack and let cool completely.

  • 05

    To make the strawberry cake, butter and flour the edges of a 9-inch round pan, shaking out the excess flour.  Line the bottom with a round of parchment.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside.  Combine the sugar, strawberry gelatin and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat the eggs into the sugar mixture one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until incorporated.  Blend in the milk and vanilla extract.  Add in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.  Blend in the strawberry puree.

  • 06

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges, then turn the cake out onto the rack and let cool completely.

  • 07

    To make the frosting, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender.  Puree until completely smooth.  Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.

  • 08

    Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer** fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

  • 09

    Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer – don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  • 10

    To assemble the cake, torte each of the cake layers horizontally into two thin halves.  Place one of the chocolate layers on a cake board or cake platter.  Top with a very thin layer of the vanilla buttercream or strawberry jam.  Place a layer of the strawberry cake on top.  Again, cover with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream or strawberry jam.  Top with a layer of the white cake.  Cover with a thin layer of the vanilla buttercream or strawberry jam.  Repeat the process with the remaining layers of chocolate and strawberry cake.  (For a taller cake, you can use the remaining layer of white cake.  Otherwise, you can wrap tightly and save for later use or discard.)  Frost the top and sides of the cake with the strawberry buttercream.  Transfer remaining buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip for detailing as desired.


  • Happy birthday!! This cake is beautiful, I love it! Perhaps I’ll follow your tradition of making my own cake as there are so many amazing cakes I want to make but not enough special occasions to warrant them – what could be more special than our birthdays huh? ;p I hope you had a wonderful day!

  • Your cake is beautiful! I’m not a huge chocolate fan so I think I’d put chocolate in the middle for the single layer. I bet topping it with chocolate dipped strawberries would be yummy as well!

  • This cake looks amazing! And it’s completely gorgeous!! We’re already trying to figure out when we can make it..! And happy belated birthday!

  • That cake is beautiful! Happy birthday!!

  • Happy Birthday!! That is definitely a gorgeous cake to celebrate with. I’d probably make the recipe with the extra cake as an excuse for another dessert.

  • Donna

    Stunning!! Happy Birthday Annie! One of these days I’ll give it a whirl….maybe even for Valentines Day. I love to bake a big heart-shaped cake for my family and frost it with pretty pink frosting, so this would work!

    Also, your little boy is adorable. Thanks for sharing the pic!

  • Oh my god, give me that cake!

  • Such an impressive (and tasty, I bet) cake!

  • Happy Birthday! I love how it looks so much like the ice cream. I should start making my own cakes for my birthday.

  • Tembo

    Oh Annie that is just GORGEOUS!! Neapolitan takes me right back to my own childhood. This one is def going on my list. Im a HUGE fan of your blog – I check it for updates daily – I look forward to every new recipe with much delight.

  • Another beautiful cake. Looks amazing!

  • Happy Birthday! What a fun and pretty cake! My birthday is in a couple of weeks and I always make my own cake as well…it’s like a little present to yourself:-) I’m not quite so adventurous though, I’m thinking chocolate all the way! Love your blog Annie!

  • My birthday is on Monday and I was still wondering what cake I should make but this is the perfect thing! I didn’t need more than a second to decide ;) Thanks for sharing! I hope mine looks half as good as yours does ;)

  • Happy birthday Annie!! That looks like one fabulous cake–glad it turned out tasty and gorgeous!

  • Katie

    Happy Birthday, what a beautiful cake! I also agonize forever over what cake to make each person (and myself) for birthdays! Last year I let my mom buy me one from my old favorite bakery- huge mistake. It just didn’t live up to my memories and I was wishing I had made my own. I will be considering this one this year!

  • Jess

    Oh, my. Right when I’ve finally decided making Red Velvet Cheesecake for Valentine’s day, you show me this lovely cake! Now I’m debating again…
    Very lovely, I’m sure this tastes so yum.

  • SO pretty! Love it. And I bet it tastes heavenly. Happy belated birthday!! :)

  • What a beautiful cake! Just add that to all of your others! :) Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

  • I was just asked last night to make dessert for my sister-in-law’s baby shower in April. She loves layer cakes and cheesecake and since she’s having a girl I think I have to make this because it is PERFECT for a baby girl shower! And, I wanted to do a layer cake with mini cheesecakes anyway! Also – strawberry whoppers?! I’m so intrigued!

  • Erin

    Happy Birthday! I love making my own cake. It’s such a great excuse to make something that’s been on your list. This cake looks fabulous, and I think I’ll be looking for a chance to make it soon :)

  • Well first of all, Happy Birthday! What a great idea… I’m going to make a pretty birthday cake for myself from this day forward :) This is a beautiful cake- I’m thinking a good one for Valentine’s Day too!

  • Ashley

    Happy Belated Birthday!! So what other cakes were on your list?!

  • What a beautiful cake, it’s so pretty! Happy birthday to you!

  • Sarah K

    This looks delicious! I’ll definitely be making this for my next ‘pink’ occasion. And… I’m wondering if I could try to do this in blue/blueberry for my son’s birthday… I think it would be a yummy challenge!

  • WOW! That is stunning!

  • Leigh

    Hope you had a great birthday Annie! The cake looks amazing, as usual. And don’t worry, 30 is not all that bad :)

  • Happy birthday! Your cake is really impressive!

  • Liz N

    Happy birthday Annie! Your birthday cake is nothing less than stunning and delightful. How fun and whimsical. I have fond memories of Neopolitan ice cream and this cake is amazing. I’m sure it’s worth all the extra steps to get to the final product! I love how evenly your frosting coats the cake and how clean your slice was in your photos!

  • This looks like such a fun cake! I too made my own birthday cake this year… everyone thought I was crazy (why not have someone else make or buy one for you?) but I thought it was a lot of fun. :)Happy belated birthday too!

  • Oh my gosh, that cake is gorgeous!! What a great way to celebrate your birthday.

  • Cece

    Love the cake, it’s so adorable. Andrew looks so cute! Is he super excited to be a new big brother?

  • TheresaSea

    That cake is STUNNING! I’m so adding this to my need-to-bake list!

  • Happy belated birthday, Annie! What an incredible cake to treat yourself too. I quite like the idea of making your own cake – I haven’t had a single excuse to make one this year (or last), but hopefully I will soon. This looks so beautiful and absolutely delicious. I bet your son and husband always look forward to your birthday more than you do! ;) Thanks for sharing!

  • Happy birthday! :) Your cake is absolutely beautiful!

  • This cake is beautiful!!! I just love all the different colors in the layers. Almost makes me want to just look at it instead of eating it. Well, maybe not. :-) Happy Birthday!

  • Beautiful cake…I love the different colored layers and of course the pink frosting.

  • Gah, it turned out so cute, Annie!! I am so in love with this I’m tempted to make it for my own birthday next month!

  • Happy birthday- this is GORGEOUS!

  • I’ve so been looking forward to what you baked for your birthday! This cake looks absolutely delicious, not to mention gorgeous. If I ever get motivated (and it takes a bit to motivate me to make a layer cake :) I am totally making this.

  • Wow, what an elaborate cake. I think this would take me two days to make, just joking…anyhow, it really looks yummy, it reminds me of this white chocolate mousse cake I just made a week ago practicing for my daughter’s first birthday.

    Happy birthday and don’t be afraid of turning 30

  • Happy Birthday Annie! What a beautiful birthday cake! You have some very lucky boys at home…

  • This is truly a beautiful and stunning cake. Neapolitan reminds me of my childhood, too – my parents would always buy cartons of neapolitan ice cream for desserts, and I fondly remember eating all of the vanilla first and saving the chocolate/strawberry for last :)

  • Those layers are so beautiful! And the colors! I could just sit here and stare at that cake. I can’t believe put together and baked three batters aaaand made swiss meringue buttercream. Happy Birthday!

  • Jessica

    Happy Birthday to YOU! I hope your day was fabulous! With a piece (or 3!) of this cake, it was surely a wonderful day. What a beauty!

  • What a great idea, and it turned out so cute!

  • What an absolutely stunning cake! I am so impressed! I have a feeling I am going to make this cake very, very soon! I just need to find a special occasion…not that I need one!

  • Amy

    What an amazing cake! Can’t wait to try this. Love your blog! I visit daily.

  • What an impressive cake! It is quite lovely :)
    Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  • Kelly

    That cake is beautiful. Do you have a special tool to make the edges so smooth?

  • Such a beautiful cake. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. :)

  • Jaime

    OMG this looks amazing!

  • Annie

    I use an offset spatula but a straight edge works too.

  • Happy Birthday Annie. The cake looks amazing.

  • That cake is so pretty and looks so tasty !

  • Jen O

    Your cake looks amazing! Happy Birthday!

  • Happy Birthday! This cake looks gorgeous and I bet the flavors are amazing!

  • Happy belated Birthday, Annie! I hope it was a great one! This cake is beautiful, by the way. Great job!

  • Happy Birthday Annie!! This looks like the perfect cake to celebrate and I love that last picture – so cute!

  • Jamie

    Absolutely Beautiful!

  • So beautiful!

  • Yum!!!

  • Annie Happy Birthday and Many More! It is a beautiful cake. You are so talented! That little guy of yours is also beautiful and he is always so happy. He will soon be an older brother, congrats on your upcoming girl. I know she will be a joy to you also. She will love this cake and the pink frosting too! How do you do it all? I love following your blog, I just do not know how you do it all ~ but you are still young, right? ….RaeDi

  • Happy Birthday!!!! This cake looks beautiful and so delicious too! Hope you enjoy!

  • Jewels

    I’m a very novice baker. This cake looks lovely and delicious! On a scale of one to ten, how hard is it? Thanks so much…I’m thinking of trying it out for my husband’s thirtieth birthday in March.

  • Annie

    That sort of question is impossible for me to answer since what is easy to me is not easy to someone else. You just have to read the recipe and know your own capabilities.

  • That is STUNNING! Do you think it is possible to make this in minis? Like a little bigger than cupcake size, if I found the right sizes of pans?

  • Annie


  • A very happy birthday to you! I hope you were thoroughly spoilt :)

    I also love making my own cake, I love making anyone’s cake! I’ve got 3 lined up for March :D But yeah, making your own cake can be more fun cause you’re making exactly what you want and you can be a little more daring or wild with it.

    Your cake looked gorgeous! Now I’m craving Neapolitan ice-cream, lol!

  • Jackie

    Oh, Annie! This cake looks perfect, and I really needed a neat idea for a cake for a bridal shower!! I’ve been visiting your site for so long now and everytime I make one of your receipes, people rave for days!

    Quick question about this receipe: did you make ALL the cakes in the same day…or did you make some of the cake layers earlier and then freeze them?

    I’m thinking, if it’s possible, to make the chocolate and white cake a few days before and then make the strawberry and icing on the day of the shower, to help save some time.

    What do you think?

  • Annie

    I made some of the layers in advance. I wouldn’t make them too far in advance though (maybe not more than one or two days), and if you do, either wrap well and refrigerate, or brush with a simple syrup to keep from drying out. Enjoy!

  • Joelyn

    Happy Birthday Annie!

  • I did a test run of this cake over the weekend, to see if I can make it for my daughter’s birthday this month. I was so happy with how the texture and flavors of each layer turned out. It really did capture the essence of neopolitan ice cream. Knowing I plan to do the strawberry frosting for the actual day, I used the chocolate frosting from your Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting post and it tasted delicious. The strawberry preserves between the layers added that extra zing. I admit more than even the flavors I had to try this cake because it looked so spectacular. I’m glad I did the test run. When I cut my layers, they came out a slightly uneven, so some of the layers disappeared almost because they were thin. Overall, a tasty success. Now, round two. Any suggestions for storing the rest of the cake(with the chocolate frosting) overnight?

  • What a stunning cake! Perfect for celebrating a birthday :)

  • Adam

    I made this cake over the weekend. The strawberry buttercream was amazing. When I opened my cake carrier, everyone wanted to smell the cake. The chocolate and strawberry layers were really good but the vanilla was just okay. It was complicated and involved but fun to make. Thanks for posting it.


  • Happy Birthday Annie!

    I bet your cake was delicious, it’s certainly beautiful. It would absolutely adorable at a shower in Honor of a new Baby Girl. So dainty and delicate looking.

  • this is so pretty! What a great idea!

  • This cake looks WONDERFUL!! I’ve been looking for a show-stopping cake to serve at my daughter’s first birthday party and this just might be it! I love the combination of flavors (what a classic!), but I really never considered putting them all together in a cake. What a genius idea.

  • Aww I love this!! I have always wanted to try a layerd cake with the layers being different colors/flavors! I might try one for v-day!

  • Happy Birthday Annie!! This is the cutest cake ever :) LOVE!

  • This looks so fun and Pretty! I make my own cake for my birthday too! I love your blog its great!I will make this someday! I printed it out!

  • Hannah

    Hi Annie,
    Making this cake for Valentine’s Day–can’t wait!
    One question– I don’t see oven temps on here for the cakes. I’m assuming 350, but just wanted to check with you.

  • Annie

    Oops, sorry! Yes, it’s 350. I have corrected it now.

  • Goodness, he’s adorable!

  • Pat

    Annie, I started making this cake over the weekend. The chocolate layer came out awfully moist and was very difficult to split without it crumbling and falling part. Is the “3/4 cup plus 2 T. flour” correct or should there be more flour in the chocolate layer? (I have frozen the layers and plan on assembling this weekend.) The other two layers came out great. Thanks for your help.

  • Annie

    Yes, the quantity is correct. Keep in mind that the cocoa powder is an additional dry ingredient, so it needs less flour overall. Other readers have made it successfully. It sounds like it needed to bake longer.

  • Pat

    Well then, I’m going to make this layer again. Thanks for your reply.

  • Ann M.

    Wow! That is a beautiful cake. I also enjoy making my own birthday cake and was looking around for a worthy gateau when I spied the Neopolitan. i was thinking of substituting a bit of espresso powder and water for the coffee in the chocolate cake (I’m a tea drinker, myself). Would you have any suggestions for how much powder to use?

  • Annie

    I’m not sure, but good luck!

  • Louann Zundel

    I recently discovered your website and I LOVE it. So many great recipes. This cake looks beautiful and I can’t wait to make it for my own birthday (I’m a leap year baby). I just have a question about the buttercream. I have made the strawberry swiss meringue before and I don’t remember it turning that shade of pink, did you add a bit of pink food coloring?

  • Annie

    Yes, I added icing color.

  • WOW! This cake looks amazing! Thanks for posting your recipe and the instructions! this will be one i will definietly try!

  • Chloe

    I am wanting to make this cake in a 10inch cake tin, do you think I would need to double the recipe?


  • Annie

    I think doubling would be too much. Maybe increase by 50%? I’m not sure. Good luck!

  • K

    My daughter fell in love with this cake upon first glance. I must admit, I did too. I made it for her birthday complete with a Hello Kitty candle. Per your suggestion, I used the best strawberry preserves I could find as the filling. My colors were not as vibrant, but everyone raved over each bite. Even my in-laws compared it to Fremont Bakery in NY. Thanks for another delicious recipe!

  • Diana

    Thanks for another wonderful was delish.!!

  • Cheryl

    I was wondering would it not be easier to just use 2 round cake pans for each batter instead of trying to slice the cake. Cooking time would be less of course however I have been making similar cakes for years with much the same ingredients (except for the strawberry cake sounds scrumptious) and the cake turns out perfect using 2 pans instead of one .

  • Annie

    I personally think it’s much easier to clean less baking pans, and be able to work on one cake while another is baking rather than need to wait for clean pans. Cutting a finished cake into 2 layers takes less than 30 seconds. Of course, you can do whatever you like. I just find it much less fuss, mess and time to slice the cake.

  • Sue

    I made this a couple weeks ago! So good. thanks for posting!!

  • so I know you don’t really like this question, but if you had to choose a strawberry cake to make today which of your recipes would you choose? I’m curious about the artificial flavoring in this v. the fresh strawberry in some of your other recipes.

  • Annie

    If it’s on my blog, I like it. As for choosing a favorite, I’ve only had this one mixed with the chocolate and vanilla flavors, and the others as cupcakes. You can make the decision yourself :)

  • Jenna

    I made this cake today as a birthday gift for someone, so I won’t get to try it, but I am sure it will be fabulous! (I did nibble on the extra layer of vanilla with the frosting while finishing up the cake!) I have a few questions about the frosting. This was my first attempt at a frosting containing eggs: 1) How long do you usually have the egg/sugar mixture going over the simmering water before they hit 160 degrees? 2) My frosting looks a little seedy from the strawberries. Do you strain the strawberry puree first or maybe I just got impatient pureeing my strawberries? Thanks!

  • Annie

    There really is no set time until the egg white mixture reaches 160˚ because it depends a lot on what temperature your egg whites, etc. were to begin with. It can take a pretty long time, but a thermometer is the only way to know for sure. If you are doing it with whites straight from the fridge it takes ridiculously long, so I always try to remember to set out eggs if possible. You can strain the strawberry puree or not. I believe I did strain it in this case, though I don’t always do so. It really just depends on the texture you are hoping for and if the seeds bother you. I hope everyone enjoys the cake!

  • Jenna

    Thanks! It took forever (almost an hour!) to get the eggs to 160 degrees, but I took them right from the fridge, so your tip to have them out as soon as possible is great! The seeds annoyed me a little bit, but my husband thought they looked fun! Although this morning after the cake set overnight the seeds were not as noticeable. I did end up getting a taste of the cake and it was fabulous. Thanks again for your response.

  • Larisa

    This cake looked really great so I had to try it. The layers turned out wonderfully but the strawberry icing turned out really watery for me. I had to add a LOT of icing sugar and it still wasn’t very workable. Any advice for what I did wrong? Did you use all the strawberry puree you made in it? Thanks!

  • Annie

    It wasn’t mixed long enough. No powdered sugar is needed if made correctly. See the FAQ page for more info on Swiss meringue buttercream.

  • Madison

    I made this cake today and I had the same problem as the previous commenter with the frosting. I mixed it for at least 30 minutes, but it just never came together. I really think my hot and humid kitchen had a lot to do with it, so I’m not going to give up on Swiss Meringue Buttercream just yet (especially because it tasted delicious)! Even with my slightly goopy frosting, this cake was SO good! It really does taste just like Neapolitan and I’m definitely making it again!

  • Margaret

    I have made this cake and am about to make it again. It is fabulous. Do not be scared of the many layers, it really is not that complicated. The end result is spectacular!

  • maggie

    Hello annie!
    im going to bake this cake on my parents anniversary
    and since my mom isnt a big fan of swiss meringue buttercream,
    i was wondering could i use cream cheese frosting and flavor/color it?
    and if you have any recipe that will work great on humid weather it would be great!
    thank you so much annie!

  • Madison

    Update: I tried this frosting again because a family member requested I make this cake again for their birthday and it turned out GREAT this time! I was so excited! Looking back, I don’t think I let the egg white/sugar mixture cool enough before I started adding the butter. It’s now one of my favorite frostings and I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it :)

  • Anabel

    Wow… I definitely have to try this myself! One question though: is strawberry gelatin is the same as strawberry jelly powder? I don’t think I’ve heard of this before… Thank you :)

  • Annie

    I haven’t heard of jelly powder, so I’m not sure.

  • Anabel

    Lol… That’s ok, I haven’t heard of strawberry gelatin befor, I guess we use different things here in Israel… I’ll try it anyway…

  • levy

    what is strawberry gelatin is a good question. i’m not from the USA so just like the one who asked before me, i’m a little bit confused… Annie, could you explain or upload a photo of the strawberry gelatin you used on this cake? maybe i could find something similar… thanks

  • Annie

    Strawberry Jell-O.

  • levy

    the regular, ready to eat kind?

  • Annie

    The powder.

  • I cannot wait to make this!!!!!

  • I’m going to make this soon! But I have this fear of using too much butter, especially in buttercreams. I’m unable to decide which- a traditional buttercream or swiss meringue buttercream, would yield more frosting for the same amount of butter. Could you advise on this?

  • Annie

    I’m honestly not sure. You would have to compare recipes of buttercream and SMBC, look at their yields and the amount of butter they use to figure it out. Either way, it’s buttercream and by default has a lot of butter. It’s cake – dessert – it’s okay!

  • Beth

    When making the white cake and after folding in the egg whites is it supposed to be lumpy? If so, do you have to smooth it out? I did something wrong. I cooked it correctly, stuck the toothpick in until it came out clean but after cooling for the specified amount of time I tried to take the parchment paper off and the whole bottom layer practically came off with it. It appeared to be uncooked and looked like a gel like substance but I know I cooked it long enough. The chocolate cake was easy, haven’t tried the strawberry yet.

  • Annie

    No, the batter should be smooth. It sounds like maybe you didn’t mix it long enough…I’m really not sure since I wasn’t there with you.

  • This beautiful and delicious looking cake has been on my mind ever since you posted it ! I finally worked up enough courage to make it. I took your strawberry recipe and changed it into raspberry. And I frosted it with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, because I wanted nice ruffles on the cake. But the inspiration was yours ! So thank you very much. Will certainly try more of your recipes !
    Happy Baking
    oh, here’s the result

  • Julie

    I’m going to attempt this cake for a family dinner this weekend. Is it essential to cut the layers in half, or can I just leave them intact to make a three-layer cake? I’m kind of lazy.

  • Annie

    Sure, you can leave them intact.

  • Sandy

    I wanted to make an ice cream cake. What I did was make the chocolate and white cake. I put strawberry ice cram between them. Then I drizled it with ganache.
    I cut the round cakes in a rectangles. The cake was very yummy frozen.
    Everyone at the party said I could make it again.
    Thanks Annie!!!!

  • heather

    i made this cake for my nephew’s 13th bday… it was absolutely wonderful!!! tastes just like ice cream…. i had homemade strawberry jam that i put between layers and covered with vanilla buttercream. thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!!

  • NREnger

    When making the frosting the egg white & sugar do not come to stiff peaks ever. Tried it twice & Only eve came to soft peaks. Nothing was in egg white & makeI great Meringue so not sure why this frosting recipe won’t work.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like your bowl is either wet or has a trace of fat somewhere, or it could be an issue with humidity. It is no fault of the recipe if egg whites won’t whip to stiff peaks since that is the basis of any meringue.

  • Emily

    My daughter turns two next week and I have been searching for a cake to make for her. She has a dairy sensitivity, which makes finding good recipes that she can eat a little difficult. I love that I can easily sub out the buttermilk/milk in the cakes, fill with homemade jam, and just scrape her frosting off :) Plus everyone else still gets to enjoy yummy cake. Thanks for what I am sure will be another great cake!

  • Anonymous

    This cake looks awesome. I can’t wait to make it!

  • Leah

    Just put the last touches on this cake for my daughter’s #1 birthday party tomorrow! I made butterflies and have them flying all over the cake – so cute! Used a hand mixer with regular beaters for the SBCI and was sorely disappointed when I never achieved stiff peaks with eggs +sugar…even after over 20 minutes of solid mixing. When a second batch in a different bowl did the same thing, I decided to brave it and add the butter. SUCCESS! Don’t know what happened or how (maybe my serious prayers helped), but it turned out beautifully! Only regret is the white cake – it seems a little tough, but with only one layer, I’m keeping it as is. Thanks, Annie, for your inspiration!

  • Leah

    My hand mixer didn’t seem to work, either. The egg/sugar got thicker, but never peaked. After an hour off/on, I was ready to add powdered sugar, but after I added the butter, everything worked beautifully. Now to ask hubby about investing in a stand mixer with whisk!

  • This is such a beautifully simple cake, I Love it will try!!

  • Tia

    Made this frosting today with your Funfetti cake! SO amazing!! Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you :)

  • Amandavecchio

    Annie, I made this for my mom’s birthday this weekend…it was delicious! I make your recipes all the time and this was one of my favorite desserts. It wasn’t tricky to make and looked so decadent! Thank you for the great recipe.

  • This was UNREAL. I loved it with jam, it looked better layered without the frosting filling, and it tasted great! The cakes were so moist, my daughter loved it! I’ve made your Lemon cake with Vanilla bean frosting, this one, and your raspberry truffle cake twice. Any time someone requests a phenomenal cake, I come here!! I’m making the dark chocolate salted caramel cake for my friend’s birthday next week! Annie, you are the best.

  • I did make one mistake with this cake. I added pink Americolor to the frosting to try to match my daughter’s pink birthday party, and the color didn’t match the pink of the cake. It was much too bright when I cut into the layers and didn’t seem to match the frosting. Note to others: Leave the dye out, the frosting color looks so much better in Annie’s pic.

  • Ashley M

    I made this cake yesterday night for my fiance’s birthday, and while the cake itself was great, the frosting turned bad! Today I took the cake from the fridge and let it sit for about 30 minutes (don’t like cold cake). The frosting tasted AWFUL. We’re talking bad, rotten, not sweet, plastic taste, etc. Anyone have a reason how this happened? Never had problems with butter cream before!

  • annieseats

    I have no idea why that would have happened. Definitely sounds like something went wrong!

  • Isabella

    does it matter if the gelatin is powdered or liquified?

  • annieseats

    It is powdered.

  • Autumn Scott

    I want to make this for my daughters Birthday in a few weeks but i need to use a 15in cake pan do u think that 1 recipie (of all 3 ofc) will fill 1 cake pan?

  • annieseats

    I doubt that would work, you will probably have to double or triple it. Good luck!

  • Autumn Scott

    ok ty :)

  • Jennifer Aldrich

    When making the chocolate cake and using coffee, do you use a half a cup of brewed coffee or ground coffee?

  • annieseats

    This is referring to brewed coffee. If it means ground coffee, it will usually say coffee powder or something like that. Enjoy!

  • Jennifer Aldrich

    Ok, last question… Do you let it cool after brewing it or add it to the recipe while it’s hot? I’m not sure if these are common sense questions but I can’t seem to get the chocolate layer to this recipe to turn out right.

  • annieseats

    It doesn’t really matter either way. Enjoy!