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Chocolate cake, strawberry cake, and vanilla cake with all the trimmings… perfect Neapolitan cake!

Neapolitan cake!

So… the Neapolitan theme is definitely one of my favourites. If you aren’t aware of it, its basically an ice-cream from my childhood that I remember it best by, with chocolate, strawberry and vanilla all in one. It’s SO good, but everyone I knew I always had a favourite flavour. Mine was Chocolate, obviously.

I’ve posted a couple of Neapolitan recipes before with my Neapolitan cheesecake and my Neapolitan cupcakes for example, so I thought it was about time I did another one, and I thought a full layer cake was the best route to go. You can see from the images that its a showstopper of a cake, and has a layer that everyone will love most!


You can see from my photos that my sponges have been trimmed, and thats partly because my oven is a bit shocking lately (hello randomly burning everything ever), and because I really wanted the bright pink to be on show. This is an optional thing, and I preferably would have left the sponges alone… but alas.

The cake sponges are basically just a Victoria sponge type recipe that I have used in many a recipe such as my Oreo drip cake, or even Biscoff cake for example. A simple ratio recipe of the same weight of butter, sugar, flour and eggs and you have a dreamer of a cake.

Strawberry and chocolate layers

You can obviously add various things in such as all of the flavours. For this particular beauty, I decided to used melted chocolate for the chocolate flavour, so that I didn’t have to add any more dry ingredients such as cocoa powder. If you add the cocoa powder into the third of the sponge, it will end up more madeira like, and the other two sponges will be a lot softer.

Dark chocolate is the best chocolate to use, and any supermarket own brand will do well! The strawberry layer is a bit different, where you can easily use strawberry flavouring if you prefer, or use the strawberry coulis. It’s quite easy to make your own strawberry coulis by using 300g of strawberries and 100g of caster sugar.


To make the coulis all you have to do is chop the the strawberries into quarters and remove the tops, add the strawberries in to a pan with the sugar and heat on a medium heat – mash the fruit with a fork and heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit has become saucy. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and bin the mushy bits that are left – refrigerate until needed.

Vanilla layer

The final layer is vanilla, so obviously that is quite simple. Add in a good quality vanilla extract, and you’ll have your final layer. The buttercream, flavours are flavoured in the same ways to make things easier. You don’t have to use the pink food colouring, but I think it makes it look properly Neapolitan themed. A good quality one is best, so I recommend Colourmill pink!

Neapolitan Cake!

Chocolate cake, strawberry cake, and vanilla cake with all the trimmings... perfect Neapolitan cake!
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Category: Dessert
Type: Cake
Keyword: Neapolitan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 15 Slices
Author: Jane's Patisserie


Cake Ingredients

  • 400 g unsalted butter
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 8 medium eggs
  • 400 g self raising flour
  • 100 g dark chocolate (melted)
  • 50 g strawberry coulis (or any coulis)
  • Pink food colouring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Buttercream Ingredients

  • 300 g unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 600 g icing sugar
  • 50 g melted chocolate
  • 25 g strawberry coulis
  • Pink food colouring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Fresh strawberries
  • Pieces of chocolate


For the Cake!

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan, and line three 8"/20cm round cake tins with parchment paper. Leave to the side for now. 
  • In a bowl/stand mixer, add your butter and sugar, and beat until fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs and flour, and beat again. Split the mixture into three bowls. It will be about 525g in each bowl to make sure its even. 
  • Add some cooled melted chocolate to one, and mix. Add the coulis and pink food colouring to the other, and mix. And add the vanilla to the final one and mix. 
  • Pour each mix into its own tin, and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until its baked. A skewer should come out clean!

For the Buttercream!

  • Beat the unsalted butter (please don't use anything else other than actual unsalted butter) in a bowl until its all smooth. Room temperature butter is best. 
  • Add in the icing sugar and beat again. If the butter was really supple and smooth before adding, this icing sugar should go in easily. 
  • Split the mixture between three bowls, and add the cooled melted chocolate to one, the coulis and pink food colouring to another, and the vanilla to the final and beat again until smooth!

For the Decoration!

  • Put each buttercream into a bag. Do this in whatever order you like, but I did my chocolate layer, and then my chocolate buttercream, strawberry layer and then my strawberry buttercream, my vanilla layer, and then the vanilla buttercream on top!
  • With each layer, I just blobbed it on as you can see.
  • Once each layer is added on, I used the leftover buttercream to add some extra height and decoration to the cake. 
  • Decorate with fresh strawberries, pieces of chocolate, or whatever! 


  • This recipe will last for 3 days once made 
  • I used  Colourmill pink food colouring to get a lovely pink colour, and some strawberry coulis. You can use any red berry coulis if you don't want to make it yourself! It's very important to use GOOD QUALITY food colouring, and not cheap supermarket stuff. 
  • I used dark chocolate because its a better flavour once baked in comparison to milk chocolate. It also gets the colour of the sponge to be darker and look more chocolate like. 
  • You can make a smaller version (two layer) if you like, but obviously you might have to make the sponges swirled in colour if there are only two. Use two thirds of the ingredients and:
    • 300g unsalted butter
    • 300g caster sugar
    • 6 medium eggs
    • 300g self raising flour
    • 75g melted chocolate
    • 40g coulis 
  • I had to trim my sponges down because my oven is a bit off at the moment, but it also showed the pink colour better as coloured sponges can often still look brown on the outside. This is normal. 

Find my other recipes on my Recipes Page!

You can find me on:

J x

© Jane’s Patisserie. All images & content are copyright protected. Do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words and credit me, or link back to this post for the recipe.




  1. Chelsey on June 8, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Jane. If I wanted to cover the cake in the 3 different colours of buttercream to look like your triple chocolate cake. How much buttercream of each flavour would I need to do this please? X

  2. Sue Barnes on May 30, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    Hi could this be adapted as a Traybake? Would I need to double the recipe and bake each layer separately? Thank you

  3. Carol Sheader on August 22, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    Hi any tips on trimming the cake sides please, would it help to be frozen?

  4. Victoria Doyle on June 26, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    5 stars
    I have made this before but I did it all strawberry sponges worked out great. I want to make it 4 layers not 3 next time, what measures will I use?

  5. Sam on April 18, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Hi, can I use strawberry jam instead of Coulis for the strawberry sponge?

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 19, 2021 at 5:24 pm

      Hello, yes it is worth a go xx

  6. Mel on December 24, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    5 stars

    Made this twice and both times the buttercream is like a rock. It broke my bags (first time I figured it was a fluke but it happened again).

    Any ideas why? I’ve made it in both summer and winter so the butter shouldn’t have been cold. I followed the recipe exactly but I just have to plop it on rather than icing it on (although I’m not great at that either 😔😂)

    Thanks for any help 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 27, 2020 at 11:26 am

      It may just need a little boiling water added to it to soften it slightly – or a bit more beating! x

  7. Mel on December 13, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    5 stars

    Made this once before and it was lush. I am thinking about making it boozy (adding flavoured vodka/baileys etc) to just the buttercreams. Do you have any idea how much should be added?

    Don’t want to knock anyone out! Thanks 😀

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 15, 2020 at 9:48 am

      Adding any liquid can definitely soften and slacken buttercreams so you don’t want to add much – It’s probably best to only add 1tbsp of each at a time and beat really well so you don’t add too much (but the flavours may not come through that strongly) x

  8. CLAIRE-LOUISE Wilson on December 11, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe, great cake

  9. Wai on December 7, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    4 stars
    Made this for my hubby’s birthday…. Had to trim the sides as the colour wasn’t really visable until the cake was cut into… Glad I did this… As it really looked neapolitan!
    Struggled with the chocolate icing followed the recipe but the icing was really clagy…. Not sure why? Other layers were great….
    Even made my own strawberry coulis definitely do this again myself didn’t realise how easy it was to do….. Thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie on December 7, 2020 at 8:44 pm

      I find if a buttercream is a little claggy that adding about 1-2tbsp of boiling water or full-fat milk smooths it out perfect!! And it really is isn’t it!! x

  10. Karen Barrett on November 9, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    I tried to make the cupcake versions but the strawberry butter icing went really runny even though I used all the ingredients you said and it wasn’t a particularly hot day either so that wouldn’t have effected either. Any ideas?

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 9, 2020 at 6:50 pm

      What type of butter did you use?

    • Karen Barrett on November 10, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      Block in a foil wrapper, like you use for all.your recipe’s lol

    • Jane's Patisserie on November 11, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      I ask as some can still be too soft (such as stork block, that isn’t nearly as firm as supermarket own unsalted). It may be that the butter was too softened even though the temperature of the day wasn’t too bad, or the coulis you used is too runny x

  11. Sarah on October 30, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    Hi sorry if I missed this but do you use milk or dark chocolate for the buttercream?

  12. Beth on October 27, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    I’m thinking of making this for a friends birthday but want to cover the sides. How much butter cream would I need and ingredients to create that amount. Loving your recipes! Thank you!

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 27, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      I would probably double it just to be safe! x

  13. Caroline on June 20, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    Can you use strawberry jam instead of making coulis.
    If so how much would you need.

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 21, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      I would use about the same! x

    • Hayley on October 7, 2021 at 3:55 pm

      I was wondering how the jam turned out? Pondering whether to make the coulis or just buy jam.

  14. Stephanie Wood on June 11, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Hi Jane, im making this for my Mother in-Laws birthday, could i cover the edges in buttercream and kind of blend them like you do in your triple chocolate cake ? Or would that look wrong? My sponges never look perfect so i usually use my buttercream to hide this 🙈🤣 thanks xx

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 11, 2020 at 11:46 am

      Hey!! Yes, you definitely can! I have done this myself, I just haven’t posted it on here yet!! xx

  15. Cherry on May 13, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    What size cake pans should I use for this?

    • Jane's Patisserie on May 13, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      All cake tin measurements are written in the methods of my recipes ☺️

  16. Emma on February 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    5 stars
    HI Jane
    I had being making your recipes for so long they are all amazing 🥰. I am making this for my friend but when wants the outside covered in just the vanilla buttercream and smudges of the other colours…..I was just wondering if you could help on how much extra of the vanilla to make to do a crumb coat and a generous coating outside xxx

    • Jane's Patisserie on February 17, 2020 at 7:40 pm

      I would add on maybe another 100g butter/200g sugar to be comfortable! x

  17. Hermione Holder on August 1, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Hi! Does this recipe need baking powder? X

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 1, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      It doesn’t – but feel free to add a little if you want. x

  18. Sarah on February 18, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Hi I want to make this for my daughters first birthday so I want to get it perfect! This is a stupid question but I think this is my downfall in baking .. when you beat eggs and sugar untill fluffy roughly how long with an electric whisk would that be? As I feel sometimes I over beat or under beat and the cake doesn’t always come out as spongy and moist as it should ?

    Thank you

    • Jane's Patisserie on February 18, 2019 at 10:33 am

      I tend to use my kitchenaid with the paddle attachment – and usually maybe 1-2 minutes? If it’s not as moist just reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes xx

  19. Elisha on January 10, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    Did you make your own strawberry coulis? Or where can I buy? Thanks

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 11, 2019 at 8:44 am

      I made my own – the recipe is in the post!

  20. shannon Harding on October 14, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Hello 😊 whenever i make a 3 tier cake the sponges come out very thin, what am i doing wrong? Xx

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 15, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      If you use the wrong size tins it can make a drastic change to the depth, and also if the mix sits for a bit before baking that can cause a problem etc. There are many reasons why to be honest! These sponges are only about 1.25” thick! X

  21. Chantelle on September 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Would this work in 7” pans to make the layers thicker..? Or how much more would
    You add to make them
    Thicker in 8” pans?

    • Jane's Patisserie on September 19, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      This cake is already about 6-7 inches tall so making them thicker would make it dangerously tall *unless you skewer them*. You can bake them in 7″ though if you did want it taller.

  22. Andrea Jones on September 14, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    There’s no liquid in this cake? Milk, water, buttermilk?

    • Jane's Patisserie on September 14, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      No, as its a standard cake recipe? It doesn’t need any other ingredients.

    • Andrea Jones on September 14, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      Thank you!

  23. Em on July 15, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Would this cake need to be kept in the fridge?

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 15, 2018 at 5:42 pm

      Nope! Room temp is the perfect place.

  24. Amanda W. on July 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Jane, for the strawberry cake layer and strawberry buttercream – can i use foodie drops instead of coulis?

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 11, 2018 at 7:04 pm

      Yes you can indeed!

    • Amanda W. on July 12, 2018 at 1:02 am

      Thank you Jane. But do you know roughly how much drops to put into cake batter and buttercream?

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 12, 2018 at 9:58 am

      Probably 3/4tsp in the cake, and 1/2tsp worth in the buttercream xx

  25. Judles on July 11, 2018 at 9:04 am

    5 stars
    Neapolitan cake… What a fab idea! It was my fave ice cream dessert when I was a child too. Yet to try the Baileys Strawberry truffles (can’t wait) –
    I wanted to make some strawberry truffles for a child’s party but would have to omit the Baileys- is there something else I could flavour them with (strawberry). I had a look in the supermarket but couldn’t find anything strawberry flavoured. Thanks!

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 11, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Thank you! You could try the coulis maybe? I’m not sure on how much you would need, but maybe try 85ml double cream, and 35ml of coulis? I’m not sure how it would set but as long as you don’t add too much it should be fine!

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