A Neapolitan Ombre Cake with an absolute delight of flavors – Chocolate, Vanilla & Strawberry Cakes in a Pink Buttercream Ombre!
Did a year just go by in the blink of an eye? It sure did for me indeed, time flies so fast! Three years back when I started this blog, it was all about turning my passion into a hobby. Never did I imagine the amount of support and motivation I’d receive from my friends, family and the blogging community, and that Pepper Delight would become my full-time job. The whole thought of it seriously amazes me and being a self-taught cook and baker, I’m so darn proud of myself looking back at all these years.
This beautiful space has gifted me so many achievements and of course some good relationships too. I am fortunate enough to find many talented and inspiring people through the online world; those who follow my social media, read my blog, message me about my photos, recognize me at stores and stop by to talk about food n recipes… those are surreal moments and truly the most rewarding…!! So, I take this opportunity to thank all my dear friends and followers for the unconditional love.
I would also like to take a moment to give a big shout out to my dear friend Makos from The Hungry Bites who has been a constant support and guide throughout my whole journey. If you love Mediterranean food, then you must definitely check out his blog.
I am so excited to see what 2019 has in store for Pepper Delight. Thank you all for supporting and following…Cheers to many more years of Yummilicious Food…!!
Coming back to the highlight of today’s celebration – the Cake!
An Ombre cake had been on my to-do list for a long time, but I was a bit intimidated on how the whole thing would turn out. You know, all of my usual confusions before trying out any new cake style! But I am so glad that I tried it, coz it did turn out pretty well…!!
So, what’s a Neapolitan cake? Well, I am not going to dig into its history at the moment, but visually it’s a tri-colored 3 tier cake with each layer being a different flavour; strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Even before I got to know about Neapolitan cakes, I have been inspired to do a multi colored cake and that arose from my love for Cassata ice-cream which we used to get in India; a 3-tier vanilla, strawberry and pistachio ice-cream layered over a sponge cake with candied fruits n nuts. In those days, a cassata slice was the ultimatum…I was in heaven!!
So, I guess the first question on your mind after seeing the cake pics and the recipe would be, “this is a lot of work, three sets of batter & frosting?” Well, not exactly. The three different flavors are incorporated using a single bowl of batter. First, you have to make a base vanilla cake batter and pour it equally into three cake pans. Leave one pan as is for the original vanilla cake, mix into the second pan the cocoa powder for making the chocolate cake, and into the third the strawberry jam with few drops of food color for a pretty pink strawberry cake. Fresh strawberry puree also works. Bake… and your cakes are ready!
Don’t forget to check out my previous years Blog Anniversary special cakes:
- 2017 – Chocolate Hazelnut Semi Naked Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 2018 – Matcha Cake with Buttercream Frosting and White Chocolate Matcha Drip
Follow me on Instagram, try out the recipes and tag #pepperdelightblog to all your pictures of Pepper Delight recipes you prepare. Rate us if you love it!
- 1¾ cup flour
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup softened butter (at room temperature)
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs (at room temperature)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder (sifted)
- ¼ cup strawberry jam (pref. seedless)
- 5-7 drops red food color (optional)
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp milk cream
- 3 drops of red food color
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tsp milk cream (or more if needed)
- 6-7 drops of red food color
- Fresh flowers (for decoration)
Preheat oven to 350-degree F.
Line three 6-inch pans with parchment paper, apply butter to the pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients by sifting flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until combined.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by adding vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients alternating with milk and beat until they combine well. The batter will be thick, creamy and smooth.
Pour the batter equally into three prepared pans (approx. 3 ladle batter per pan).
Add the sifted cocoa powder to one pan for making the chocolate cake and mix well using a fork or a spatula. Keep aside.
Whisk strawberry jam until it is completely smooth. You can microwave it for 15 seconds if thick, and whisk it for a smoother texture. Add it along with 6-7 drops of red food color to the third pan for making the strawberry cake, and mix well using a fork or spatula.
10. Place all the three pans in the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 30–35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. The cooking times may vary per cake, for me the vanilla and chocolate cakes took 30 minutes and the strawberry cake took 35 minutes to bake.
Beat butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beat until it turns out smooth.
Add red food color and milk as needed for desired consistency. Make sure your frosting is not runny or too thick, it should be spreadable.
If the frosting seems loose, refrigerate it for some time to thicken.
Level the top surface of all the cakes by shaving off the uneven portions.
Place your cake base on a turntable / cake stand.
Apply a little frosting on the center of the cake base and spread. This helps the cake to stay tight and not slide off.
Place the bottom cake on the center on the cake base.
Apply a thin layer of frosting on top of the cake in the center and level it leaving ½ inch gap from the edges of the cake.
Place the middle layer cake on top and press gently so that the excess frosting oozes out of the sides, if any.
Repeat step 5.
Place the third/final cake upside down on top of the frosting, so that the flat bottom of the cake faces upwards. Gently press and apply a thin layer of frosting on top of the third cake. Using a spatula, level the top and the oozed out frosting around the sides of the cake to form a thin and evenly covered crumb coating.
Refrigerate 30 minutes for the crumb coating and filling to set properly.
Once the crumb coat is set, you can prepare the frosting for the outer ombre coat.
Beat butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beat until it turns out smooth. Add milk as needed for desired consistency. Make sure your frosting is not runny or too thick, it should be spreadable. If the frosting seems loose, refrigerate it for some time to thicken.
Divide the prepared frosting into 4 pans; the 1st for the flat top surface coat in white, 2nd for the side top coat in white, 3rd for the side center coat in pink, and the 4th for the side bottom coat in dark pink.
To the 3rd and 4th pans add the red food color as desired and whisk to make the pink and dark pink colored frostings respectively.
Using a spatula, start applying the dark pink coat from the 4th pan on the side bottom of the cake. Using a scraper, scrape off excess frosting.
Now move on the center side coat from the 3rd pan. Repeat applying coat & scraping, and continue to the top side and top flat coats using pans 2 and 1 respectively.
Once your ombre coating is complete, refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes for the frosting to set.
Decorate as desired with flowers, your cake is ready to serve!!
1. If your cake feels dry or crumbly after baking, brush some simple sugar syrup over the cake to retain it moistness and texture.
2. Grease your pan properly to avoid any cracks or holes in your cake. This helps the cake to slide through the sides of the pan easily.
3. Pick the cake with the prettiest bottom for your topmost layer. Use the ones with cracks or holes for the middle or bottom layers.
4. Decorate the cake after placing on a turntable.
5. Use a strong/sturdy scraper to scrape down the excess frosting from the sides of the cake.
6. Refrigerate the crumb coated and fully frosted stages of cake to set properly. You can even bake the cake in advance and frost the next day to manage time.
7. Finally, ensure the cake is brought back to a room temperature before serving.