Whimsical Creamy Neapolitan Cupcakes will take you right back to childhood! When you can’t decide between chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, why not have all three?
Neapolitan… The word alone takes me right back to a church picnic over thirty years ago.
I was 6 years old and patiently (or almost patiently) waiting in line for an ice cream cone on a Sunday afternoon. As I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, head cocked, twirling a pigtail around my finger, it dawned on me that it would be polite to decide what kind of ice cream I wanted before I got to the front of the line, so the children behind me wouldn’t have to wait on me.
How was a girl supposed to make this kind of serious life-altering decision?
As a looked ahead and ran through the flavor options in my mind, the line seemed to move faster than it had before.
I started to panic over the thought of having to choose my ice cream flavor quickly (Oh, to have such troubles nowadays) when I heard the man scooping the ice cream tell another little girl, “Honey, if you can’t choose, why not go with Neapolitan.”
I didn’t even know what Neapolitan was, but determined if it meant I didn’t have to decide between flavors, that was what I wanted.
When my moment came, I stepped forward and loudly stated, “Nee-a-polo-tiam, please.”
I heard giggles all around me, yet the moment the ice cream cone was handed to me, none of that mattered.
The thick bands of creamy chocolate, pink strawberry and vanilla convinced me that, whether I could say it or not, Neapolitan was obviously the right choice!
To this day, I still feel that way about Neapolitan. Ice cream aside, three flavors instead of one is never a bad idea.
My Neapolitan Cupcakes offer 3 flavors in both the cake and the frosting.
These cupcakes are a playful nod to blissful moments of childhood, when three is obviously better than one.
I started by making one fabulous vanilla cupcake batter using tried-and-true Gold Medal Flour, butter, and pure vanilla extract. I always buy Gold Medal Flour for cake recipes, because the light consistent texture bakes up perfectly every time!
Then I split the batter into three bowls and added strawberry flavoring to one bowl and cocoa powder to another bowl.
After spooning a little of all three batters into the cupcake liners, I swirled them just a little to mix the colors.
Then after the neapolitan cupcakes baked to fluffy perfection…
I followed the exact same pattern with my classic vanilla buttercream recipe.
I put each frosting in a separate piping bag, then put the snipped end of each bag down into a large zip bag with a large piping tip.
(You could use a large piping bag big enough to fit all three smaller bags, but a gallon zip bag works just fine.)
Then I piped all three frosting flavors at once into colorful swirls on top of the neapolitan cupcakes.
SO MUCH FUN I CAN’T STAND IT!
Neapolitan cupcakes are perfect for spring parties, Easter celebrations, or just because.
One taste and you’ll be swept back to a nostalgic moment of your childhood.
I hope it’s a sweet one!
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
For the Neapolitan Cupcakes:
- 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Gold Medal Flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 oz. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tb. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 Tb. cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1 tsp. strawberry extract
- 1-2 drops red food coloring
For the Neapolitan Frosting:
- 6 oz. softened butter
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 8-10 Tb. heavy cream + 1 1/2 tsp.
- 1/2 tsp. strawberry extract
- 1-2 drops red food coloring
- 1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tins with 24 paper liners. For the cupcakes, mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Then cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Scrape the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Beat slowly while adding the flour mixture and milk, alternating between the two. Scrape the bowl again and beat for 10 more seconds. Distribute the batter evenly into 3 separate bowls. Leave one as is. Mix 1 Tb. cocoa powder into the second bowl. The mix the strawberry extract and a drop or two of red food coloring into the third bowl.
- Spoon about 1 Tb. of each kind of batter into the paper liners. They should be about 1/2 - 2/3 full. Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to swirl the batter lightly. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops spring back when touched. Allow the neapolitan cupcakes to cool completely before moving on to the frosting.
- For the Neapolitan Frosting: Using a lean mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then slowly add the powdered sugar. The frosting will look clumpy at this point. Keep the mixer running and add the vanilla and 1 Tb. of cream at a time until it smooths out and is light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl and beat another few seconds.
- Distribute the frosting evenly into 3 bowls. Leave one as is. Mix strawberry extract and food coloring into the second. Then mix 1 1/2 tsp. of cocoa powder and another 1 1/2 tsp. cream into the third.
- Scoop each frosting into a separate disposable piping bag. Seal the tops with rubber bands and snip the tips in the same place on each bag. Then snip the tip of a large zip bag and place a large piping tip down in the bottom. Carefully place all three frosting bags into the zip bag with the ends pressed down in the tip. Now hold the top of the zip bag and squeeze to swirl frosting on top of each cupcake in a circular motion. If the 3 flavors of frosting aren't coming out evenly, adjust the piping bags and continue.
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