Today is my Gram's 81st birthday.
Since she is in Florida and I'm here in Pa, and she is quite the fan of my baking excursions, I found it fitting to throw her a virtual birthday party on here.
So Gram, grab a fork. This one is for you.
This is by far the most beautiful/best tasting cake I have created thus far. I've made some doozies taste wise that were nothing more than plain looking, and some super cute creations that were good but not to die for.
But here is it. The holy grail of all baked goods.
They say we eat with our eyes and I think this finally proves that at least for me, this is true. Just looking at the pictures of this cake tests my will power to not go downstairs and eat a THIRD slice for the day.
And when I say slice, I mean slice. Because by the way,
This cake is 5 layers tall.
I had the men in my life (who can usually eat 10x more than myself) comment on how huge the slices were and how they could never eat all of it at once.
I chuckled because I had eaten a slice that size for breakfast.
This cake is so stunningly beautiful, it slices smoothly, and it tastes so so good. I usually have pretty good restraint when it comes to cake... but with this, not so much. I'm having a hard time giving it away, and am eating way more every day then I'll ever care to admit.
It's just that good.
The cake recipes I used had a few tricky qualities so I'm not going to include them in this version until I can find more reliable ones for you. But don't fret, either use your favorite vanilla/chocolate/strawberry cake recipes or if you're new to baking a box mix.
If you do decide to make this cake there are a few things I have to insist you do.
First and foremost, DON'T skimp and use a store bought icing. I am the first to admit when I think it's ok to substitute the stuff from a can and now is not the time. The Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream is such an important part of this cake for so many reasons.
In the past I have decorated cakes using store bought icing, powdered sugar icing, and now this. And let me tell you. There is no comparison. This stuff goes on like a dream, and isn't overly sweet. It holds its shape extremely well and can be adapted to so many flavors.
If you're going to make this cake, this icing is the only way to go.
The second thing I insist you do if you decide to make this cake is fill the layers, not with this amazing icing, but with a thin layer of strawberry jam instead. This was one of my favorite parts of the cake. It keeps all the layers incredibly moist and adds a touch of sweetness that really takes this cake from amazing to divine.
If you're not crazy like me you could make the cake smaller with less layers, but if you're going to go with such a show-stopping piece like this one, my style is all the way.
So Gram, I hope you have the most amazing 81st birthday ever. I hope you don't take 81 shots. Not because I don't think you can handle it, but only since I'm not there to celebrate with you in person.
As for your cake, I'll just have to eat your slice. Somehow I think I'll survive.
Neapolitan Layer Cake
Servings: 1 9-inch 5-layer cake
2 chocolate layer cakes baked in 9-inch pans (cooled)
2 strawberry layer cake baked in 9-inch pans (cooled)
1 vanilla layer cake baked in 9-inch pan (cooled)
1 jar seedless strawberry jam
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
4 egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter (completely at room temperature, cut into slices)
1 1/4 cups fresh strawberries (rinsed, hulled, and chopped)
1 1/4 cups of sugar
On a cake stand lay one layer of chocolate cake. Spread a thin layer of strawberry jam and place one layer of strawberry cake on top. Continue with cake and jam using the vanilla layer, and then the other chocolate and strawberry layers. Do not put jam on top of last layer. When all cake has been stacked place in the refrigerator while making the icing. To make the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream process strawberries in a food processor until smooth. Set aside. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a pot with a few inches of boiling water. Heat mixture while continuously stirring until the mixture reads 160 degrees on a candy thermometer and all of the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer stand. Beat using the whisk attachment on medium high speed for about 8 minutes. (The bowl should be cool to the touch) Change to the beater attachment and beat on medium speed. Drop butter tablets in 1-2 at a time, waiting for each to become incorporated before adding the next. (Don't worry if the batter looks soupy, beating on high speed an extra few minutes without adding any more butter should fluff it up again). Once all butter has been incorporated and icing is fluffy, add in strawberry puree. Mix until combined. Using buttercream to cover all sides and top of the assembled cake. Pipe decorations with remaining buttercream if desired.
Cake is best kept in the refrigerator, brought out at least 10 minutes before cutting.
Cake inspired by: Sweetapolita
Buttercream adapted from: Annie's Eats