Neapolitan Cupcakes

Whisking Wolf
by Whisking Wolf
18 servings
55 min

Inspired by a trio of classic ice cream flavors, Neapolitan Cupcakes combine chocolate and vanilla in soft, fluffy cupcakes topped with strawberry frosting. Made from scratch with a moisture-packed batter, these triple layer cupcakes are perfect for summertime.

There comes a point when there’s no option but to draw a line in the sand. A point where you have to say ‘enough is enough’. A point where you can’t eat anymore cupcakes without your stomach inflating to the size of a float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Been there, done that — and had a button pop off my pants to prove it.

Let me tell you, it’s not easy sewing zigzag stitches with strawberry buttercream on your fingertips. So far I’ve pricked myself with the frosting-smeared needle three times. But if being a human pincushion is the price I need to pay to keep my pants up, so be it. No pain, no gain. Only in this instance I have both stabbing pain and the looming gain of weight.

The sad truth is I’ll learn nothing from this. Next time I make Neapolitan Cupcakes, I’ll still eat them two at a time and securing my pants will once again become problematic. Such is the life of a cupcake addict. I cannot be distracted by suspenders when I’m focused on the holy trinity dessert flavors: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. That’s right, all three Neapolitan classics just got a cupcake upgrade.

Soft, fluffy and packed with moisture, these chocolate vanilla cupcakes are crowned with a freeze-dried strawberry buttercream. Triple flavored and exponentially delicious, these cupcakes have all the authenticity of Neapolitan ice cream without the risk of melting on a hot day. Enjoy them all summer long, just be sure to enjoy them in stretchy pants.

Before sharing the recipe for Neapolitan Cupcakes, here are a few tips to help you out:

Ingredient Tips

Cake flour gives cupcakes a tender, fluffy texture. If you don’t have this ingredient on hand then you can make a cake flour substitute using all-purpose flour and cornstarch. For this cupcake recipe, measure 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour into a bowl then remove 2 1/2 Tablespoons of flour. Next, add 2 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl of flour then sift the mixture three times. Do not skip the sifting step since it’s essential for aerating the flour.

Egg whites, sour cream, milk and butter all need to be at room temperature before beginning.

Preparation Tips

Always use the spoon and level method to measure flour. Scooping overpacks flour into the measuring cup which results in dry, dense cupcakes.

Only fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter before baking. Overfilling will cause the batter spill over the liner as it rises in the oven.

How to Store Neapolitan Cupcakes

Store cupcakes with buttercream frosting in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

Freeze unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

I hope you enjoy this unique cupcake recipe. Please leave a comment and rating below when you try it out yourself. And, while you’re at it, sign up for my Recipe Newsletter so you never miss a tempting recipe.

Finally, if you like Neapolitan Cupcakes then you’ll love Neapolitan Cheesecake. This cheesecake combines the best of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry in a creamy, dreamy dessert layered on an Oreo cookie crust. Plus the recipe’s no bake, so all you need to pull it off are a few bowls and a freezer!

Recipe details
  • 18  servings
  • Prep time: 25 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 55 min
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  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt fine
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract pure
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract pure
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt fine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add paper liners to a cupcake pan then set aside.
Add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined then set aside.
Beat unsalted butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth — approximately 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Beat in egg whites and vanilla extract until incorporated.
Add sour cream then beat until combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low then add dry ingredients to wet. Beat until just combined–no longer or cupcakes will be dry.
Pour milk into the bowl then continue beating on low until batter is lump free. Avoid overmixing.
Split batter evenly between two bowls. Add cocoa powder to one of the bowls and whisk until smooth.
Place a heaping tablespoon of chocolate batter into cupcake liners.
Top chocolate batter with a heaping tablespoon of vanilla batter. After the addition of vanilla batter, cupcake liners should be 2/3 of the way full.
Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Avoid overbaking.
Remove pan from oven and allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting with strawberry buttercream.
Repeat baking process for remaining batter.
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
Place freeze dried strawberries in a food processor then pulse into a fine powder. Set aside.
Beat butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy — approximately 2 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low then add freeze dried strawberry powder, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Beat on low until just combined then increase mixer speed to high and beat for 2 minutes until fluffy.
Pipe strawberry buttercream onto cupcakes and enjoy.
Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.
Whisking Wolf
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  • Diane Diane on Aug 28, 2022

    Where do you get freeze dry strawberries or how do you make them?