Neapolitan Cakes

Cover Recipe- Desserts in Jars, Neapolitan Cakes: Copyright 2012

I have a confession to make. I don’t entertain. So really, you could have called me crazy for buying a copy of Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson. But I couldn’t resist it. I was smitten by the cover photo, and pretty much every other photo in the book once I actually got my hands on the book. I was honestly thinking that I was buying another cookbook to add to my collection, purely to just look at it. But after looking through it, and actually baking from it, I have changed my tune. I will be finding excuses to make just about every recipe in this book!

Of course, a cover speaks a thousand words, and the Neapolitan Cupcakes on the cover of Desserts in Jars were speaking right at me. I’m a sucker for neapolitan anyway, and seeing these cakes in a jar just made me want to make them even more. There is just something about that pink, white and brown that is irresistible! Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

Print Recipe

Neapolitan Cakes

Yield: 24 servings

Prep Time: 45 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Total Time: 1 hour 30 min


For the Strawberry Cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and pureed, or 3/4 cup frozen strawberry puree
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup whole milk

For the White and Chocolate Cakes:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot coffee, or 1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

For the Frosting:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more as needed
3 strawberries, hulled and pureed
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the insides of 24 4-ounce jars with cooking spray.
2. Make the strawberry cake batter: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter and strawberry puree. Starting slowly, mix together. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes, or until you have a thick batter. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are frothy then add the milk. Add one third of the egg/milk mixture to the batter then mix to combine. Repeat twice until all of the egg/milk mixture is incorporated. Set aside.
3. Make the white and chocolate cake batters: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions. In a small bowl, combine the milk and the cream. Add one-third of the milk mixture into the butter mixture, then one-third of the flour mixture. Continue until all of the ingredients have been incorporated. Stir in the vanilla. Divide the batter evenly into 2 bowls. In a small bowl, mix the hot coffee or water and the cocoa powder together. Add the cocoa mixture to one of the bowls and mix until incorporated.
4. Working with one flavor at a time, scoop 2 tablespoons of each of the batters into the prepared jars. Place the jars 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the centers bounce back when touched. Remove and let cool completely.
5. Make the frosting: Cream the butter, then add in the confectioners' sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Divide the frosting evenly into 3 bowls. Add the strawberry puree to one, the bittersweet chocolate to the second and the vanilla extract to the third. If needed, add more cream to get the right consistency.
6. Transfer the frostings to 3 disposable icing bags. Cut off the tips, the place the 3 bags into a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cakesina swirl shape before serving.


*My three batters weren't even, but it didn't matter with the final product. You couldn't tell!
*Make sure the melted chocolate is fully incorporated into the chocolate frosting. I wasn't careful enough and ended up with chunks of chocolate in the frosting. That would have been fine, but it kept getting stuck in the tip, making it hard to pipe the frosting evenly.
*If giving away as gifts, you may want to put a little less batter in each jar and make a few extra so that you will be able to put the lids on the jars.

Desserts in Jars

by Shaina Olmanson

The results:

These cakes are definitely fit for company!! And although I’m not an entertainer, I can see that these would make great gifts for friends or teachers or neighbors. If I were giving them as gifts, the only change I would make would be to not fill them quite so high so that I could put a lid on the jar. But I can’t imagine how happy I would be to receive one of these as a gift! I do have to disclose, though, that these are definitely more effort than your regular cupcakes. There were lots of dirty dishes involved, and they did take some time to make, but I think when you are trying to impress, that extra effort is totally worth it!

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes! There are a lot of recipes in this book that I would love to try, but visually, this one did stand out to me the most. They were pretty and delicious – a combo you can’t beat!