neopolitan cake

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i like some artificial fruit flavorings – banana laffy taffys, sour apple lollipops, and blue raspberry slushies are all delicious – but i have a strong aversion to anything made to taste like strawberry. that goes for strawberry milk, strawberry jelly beans, and store-bought strawberry ice cream. the quarts of neopolitan ice cream with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are super gross.

because of that, i made sure that all the strawberry in this cake is real! the pink cake is dyed with strawberry purée, the layers are filled with strawberry jam, and the whole thing is topped with real live chocolate-dipped strawberries. the natural flavor pairs beautifully with the layers of dark chocolate cake, white chocolate cake, chocolate glaze, and swiss meringue buttercream.

this recipe is adapted from the layered cookbook! i’m hoping to make my way through every recipe in it!

white chocolate cake

  • 5 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4 strawberries, hulled

dark chocolate cake

  • 1 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

swiss meringue buttercream

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

chocolate-dipped strawberries

  • 6 medium strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 oz white chocolate

chocolate glaze

  • 1/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

assembly

  • 3/4 cup strawberry preserves

for the white chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 350º. grease two 6-inch round pans and line with parchment paper. whisk together the egg whites with 1/4 cup of the milk in a small bowl. set aside. mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. add in the butter, vanilla, and the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. scrape down the bowl. add the egg white mixture in three parts and mix until everything is just combined. mix in the white chocolate. pour enough batter into one of the prepared pans to make it filled about 3/4 full. purée the strawberries in a food processor and strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. stir the purée into the remaining batter and pour it into the other cake pan. bake for around 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean. let cool in the pans, then remove to a rack. the tops will get brown and hard, but it’s okay – you’ll cut off all the caramelization later.

for the dark chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 300º. grease one 6-inch round pan and line with parchment paper. mix the chocolate with the hot coffee and set aside (don’t stir). whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. in a stand mixer, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. add the oils, buttermilk, and vanilla. stir the chocolate-coffee mixture and add it to the wet ingredients. add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for twenty seconds. pour half of the batter into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. let cool in the pan, then remove to a rack.

for the swiss meringue buttercream, whisk together the egg whites and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. place the bowl over a saucepan full of simmering water, whisking intermittently. when then mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has evaporated, place the bowl back into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the mixture for 8-10 minutes. you should have medium peaks. switch out the whisk for the paddle and gradually add in the butter and vanilla. beat until smooth.

for the chocolate-dipped strawberries, melt the chocolate in the microwave. dip each strawberry into the chocolate and let them set on a sheet of parchment paper. when dry, melt the white chocolate. put it into a ziplock bag and snip a tiny bit off the corner. add a zigzag design to the strawberries. store in the refrigerator.

for the chocolate glaze, combine the chocolate, cream, and corn syrup in a saucepan. heat over medium heat until the cream is bubbling, then remove from the heat and whisk until smooth. add in the vanilla and salt and pour the mixture into a liquid measuring cup. let cool.

to assemble, cut the crispy brown top, bottom, and sides off of each of the cake layers. slice each layer in half horizontally. place a round of vanilla cake onto a 6-inch cake board and spread with strawberry jam. top with a round of strawberry and repeat. top with one chocolate layer, then a vanilla, and finish with a strawberry, spreading jam between each (you’ll have an extra layer of chocolate cake). crumb coat the cake with buttercream and chill. frost the cake and chill again. pour some of the glaze over the chilled cake and use an offset spatula to help it drip over the edges. let the glaze set, then fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the remaining buttercream. pipe six rosettes around the edge of the cake and top each with a chocolate-dipped strawberry.

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