This neapolitan bundt cake is an homage to classic neapolitan ice cream with its strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate layers of soft and fluffy cake.
Why have one flavour when you can have three? Neapolitan ice cream is very nostalgic from my childhood. My parent's would buy it in a huge tub and since it has three flavours, there was a flavour for everyone in the family to enjoy. I always ate a mix of all three flavours together.
This bundt cake is dense but soft, similar to a pound cake in texture. The three flavours of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate are all made from the same batter, making this cake easier than it looks. The strawberry layer is fragrant with fresh strawberries, the vanilla layer is simple, and the chocolate is deep in flavour to balance out the sweetness.
Pay special attention to my detailed instructions and tips for success below to help you achieve the perfect batter texture and distinctly separate layers in the final bundt cake.
How to make neapolitan bundt cake
Prepare bundt pan: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease (rub a small knob of softened butter all around the pan and into the crevices) and flour (sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour around the pan and knock the pan around to distribute, tap out the excess flour) a 10" bundt pan and set aside.
Make strawberry purée: In a small saucepan, add the strawberries and water and bring it to a boil on medium heat. Stir it occasionally and mash the strawberries down with a spatula. Let it cook down for 5-10 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated and the strawberry puree has thickened. Pour into a small bowl and set aside to cool.
Mix dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Mix fats, sugar, and eggs: In a large mixing bowl, add the oil, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Use an electric mixer to beat for about 3 minutes on medium speed until smooth, creamy, and lighter in colour.
Alternate adding flour and milk: With the mixer on low speed, alternate mixing in ⅓ of the flour and then milk at a time. Mix until almost combined before each addition. Stop mixing when all the ingredients are almost just combined. The batter should be smooth and silky with no lumps.
Divide batter: Divide the batter equally into 3 bowls (2 new bowls + the current mixing bowl). There should be approximately 1400g of batter so each bowl should have about 466g of batter.
Mix flavourings: Add the strawberry puree and 1-2 drops of red gel food colouring to one bowl. Add the cocoa powder to another bowl. Stir thoroughly to mix. Leave the last bowl untouched.
Layer batters in bundt pan: Using an ice cream scooper or spoon, add the strawberry batter to your prepared bundt pan. Gently spoon the vanilla batter on top in an even layer. Finally, gently spoon the chocolate batter on top in an even layer.
Bake bundt cake: Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the bundt pan until warm to the touch before flipping over and removing the cake from the pan. Enjoy your neapolitan bundt cake at this point while warm or let cool completely.
Make glaze: Stir together powdered sugar and milk for the glaze and pour over bundt cake. Decorate with strawberries.
Tips for making the best layered neapolitan bundt cake
- Use both oil and butter. They shouldn't be substituted fully with one or the other. The oil gives this cake its super soft texture while the butter prevents it from being too greasy.
- Alternate mixing in the flour mixture and milk, ⅓ at a time. Adding all of the flour in at once will result in lumps. Having the mixer on low speed also helps to mix it evenly as opposed to folding with a spatula.
- Weigh out the batter when dividing it into 3 bowls to get the most even layers. My tests of this recipe makes 1400g of batter but this may vary with your brand or quality of ingredients so it's a good idea to weigh and divide by 3 yourself.
- Mix the strawberry and chocolate batters thoroughly to prevent pockets of vanilla batter since we added the flavouring at the end after the main batter was mixed.
- Use an ice cream scooper or spoon to gently place each batter layer into the bundt pan to prevent the different flavours from sinking down and merging together which would happen if you simply poured the batter in. The layers will inevitably warp and move while baking but they will remain distinct layers.
- Place down the batter in opposite positions to even out the displacement of batter when each scoop is placed down. You can see this better in the process photos above. You might be able to tell that I don't place the batter down right next to the previous scoop.
How to store bundt cakes
This neapolitan bundt cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped well for about 3 days. If you have decorated your bundt cake with fresh strawberries, the cake should be stored in the fridge instead.
This bundt cake can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the fridge before eating.Print