Neopolitan Ice Cream Layer Cake
I have what some people might describe as an “addictive personality.” I find an idea or a thing, latch on to it, over-analyze it, and obsess over it for weeks, months, years—or just until I find an alternative addiction. It’s healthy.
Cake is my addiction right now and this is a huge problem for me. You know the old saying, “there’s enough to go around,” well, there’s too much to go around. I’ve made too much cake.
Cake isn’t a one-man job, either. It’s not even a two-man job! Well, it has the potential, but I wouldn’t recommend it— your tummies will ache. But I’ve made too much cake and it’s gone uneaten.
This cake deserves to be eaten. It’s pretty and pink with alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla cake and strawberry ice cream. It wants you to eat it. So please, make it. And give your condolences to my cake, who is currently getting frostbit in my freezer because this girl wanted to make another cake the following day.
Neapolitan Ice Cream Layer Cake by The Bite-Sized Baker (recipes from Ina Garten and America’s Test Kitchen):
Two quarts quality strawberry ice cream
Butter, for greasing the pans
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 cup sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons good cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup buttermilk, shaken
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup freshly brewed hot coffee
2 large eggs , room temperature
¼ cup whole milk , room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut into 8 pieces and softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons strawberry puree
- To make the chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill the cake layers until you are ready to assemble the cake.
- To make the vanilla cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla with fork in small bowl; measure out 1 cup of this mixture and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running at lowest speed, add butter one piece at a time; mix until butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebbly, with pieces about the size of peas, 30 to 40 seconds after all butter is added. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture and mix at lowest speed until incorporated, 5 to 10 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high (setting 6 on KitchenAid) and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add remaining egg mixture (about 1/2 cup) in slow steady stream, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat on medium-high until thoroughly combined and batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds longer. (To mix using hand mixer, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add butter pieces and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture; beat with hand mixer at lowest speed until incorporated, 20 to 30 seconds. Increase speed to high, add remaining egg mixture, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat at high speed 15 seconds longer.) Divide batter equally between prepared cake pans; spread to sides of pan and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until cake tops are light golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill the cake layers until you are ready to assemble the cake.
- To assemble the cake, level the cakes if necessary. Soften the Place the chilled chocolate cake layer on the bottom of the the cake board. Gently spread softened strawberry ice cream in an even layer on top of the first cake layer. Transfer the cake to the freezer and let chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining cake layers, alternating between chocolate and vanilla layers. Wrap the entire cake with plastic wrap and place in freezer until firm, preferably overnight.
- To make the frosting, in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, cream butter until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and add sugar until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more. Add strawberry puree and mix until light and fluffy.
- To decorate the cake, cover entire cake with a crumb coat (thin layer of frosting) and return cake to freezer to set, about 5-10 minutes. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip (I used Wilton #1A) with frosting and pipe a line of equal sized dots vertically down the side of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the icing dot in one direction. Repeat with another line of dots overlapping the previous smeared edge. Smear, dot, repeat, until you’ve covered the sides of the cake completely. Store the cake covered in the freezer until ready to serve. (Frosting tutorial from Annie’s Eats)
- To serve, let cake stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before slicing. Run a long, thin knife until hot water to warm the blade. Wipe the blade completely dry and slice the cake, wiping the blade clean between slices and rewarming as needed