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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!
For the Neapolitan Cupcakes:
- 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Gold Medal Flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 1-2 drops red food coloring
For the Neapolitan Frosting:
- 6 ounces softened butter
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8-10 tablespoons heavy cream + 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 1-2 drops red food coloring
- 1 1/2 teaspoon 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 tablespoon 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 tablespoon of each kind of batter into the paper liners. They should be about 1/2 to 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 tablespoon 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 teaspoons of cocoa powder and another 1 1/2 teaspoons 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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Love these cupcakes!!!
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So pretty and fun!!
Okay not only do these look delicious but they are absolutely gorgeous!! Pinning :)
What cute little guys. I love the 3 in 1 piping you did, you are so creative. I could do this with my granddaughter, Cora. She is 13 years old and it would be a fun thing for both of us.
You are so right!!! These flavors totally take me back to my childhood :)
So, so pretty. Love those swirls!
I just love that story and these cupcakes are so amazing.. That 3 way frosting ..love it!
Neapolitan is mu favorite! Love these cupcakes!
Yes, please! Love these cupcakes!
Yep! STRAIGHT back to childhood… I always fought my brother over the chocolate portion of the neopolitan ice cream!
These look amazing. Love a good cupcake and that these are multi-flavored, so my kids would love getting a three in one cupcake. I must make these. Thanks for sharing.
These are completely adorable Sommer~ i love that there is a 3-way of frosting AND cake!
Adorable story, and equally adorable cupcakes. xo
These cakes taste amazing but found the mixture very wet and when I added the milk it started to split, is the milk needed??
Hmmm… I’m wondering if there is any chance you mismeasured the flour. The batter should not have separated. Thoughts?
Girl, these are gorgeous!!
That swirled frosting is so fun! So creative and I love reading your sweet story. Thanks for sharing!
Love Neapolitan cakes- was thinking of making cupcakes for easier serving. Thank you – will definitely give this a go. :-)
Fun idea Sommer!
I love this. This looks so fun to make. Pinning!
Oh my goodness Sommer…I want to jump through the screen to eat these! They look incredible. I don’t care if I’ve already had breakfast…I want one right now!
So… through our hubbies, who are friends, I ended up with a couple of these cupcakes last week. They were DIVINE! We could not get over how good and pretty they are. These are a must make creation, Sommer!
AW, your story was SO CUTE! I loved neopolitan growing up too!
These cupcakes are incredible Sommer! SO adorable and creative! Pinned :D