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  /  Recipes   /  Bake Along #51 – Neapolitan Cake

Bake Along #51 – Neapolitan Cake

Bake Along is one year and the celebrations are already over. But there has to be a cake and it has to be special. I always wanted to try out neapolitan cake. And yes, I had no idea why these 3 flavours come together for this. But I can only imagine how a vanilla, chocolate and the oh so yumm strawberry are going to blend from a tasters point of view

Yes, I had to google why Neapolitan. It is originally a frozen dessert, an ice cream originated in the cuisines of the Italian city of Naples. Neapolitans who migrated to the USA introduced such frozen desserts. Different flavour combinations were introduced, but why ‘three’ was because of the number of colours in the Italian Flag ( :O ). But the three flavours being the most popular flavours in the United States, it finally became – Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla.

And I know you never expected such a history. I hear a ‘Sigh’, so much so did I also feel the same

And the week before I promised to tell you all how this Bake Along started and why I had to do this ? Remember ? . Ok swirl around that flash back thingy like the mosquito coil, we are going to head back one year, he he. Last year by this time, while I was doing my classes, I keep in touch with my students those who could spare their time on FB. Most of the times, when I happen to see my students who are in a state where I used to be few years back, I try to lend some logical backup on the emotional front. Yes I gyan and gyan without even knowing how ruthless I can be, by talking and talking, I mean rather, typing and typing.

Once like so, I happen to do this gyanning to our very own Divya Suraj of ‘ The Dessert Storm‘. Even after several gyan sittings, I realized she needed some little shake. She was working on a regular job but had the passion of baking and wanted to take it to the next level. But she was not sure if quitting the job and pursuing baking as a career was a right decision. When I asked her to take up baking while still working she said she was hesitant. The reason sounded very surprising to me. She said she was not sure of the reliability of the recipe sources that are available in the internet. I paused for a moment. Though I never had such a thought to slow down my progress, while I was in the same state few years back.

I was not sure how different I was. But I was obsessed. I might have eaten so many brains out there. When I had no brains to eat, I ate my own brains. Means I googled myself. I tried it myself. I failed. I trashed cakes. I had several testers to taste and say it was yuck. I went through every single thing. But I persevered!I was not sure how different I was. But I was obsessed. I might have eaten so many brains out there. When I had no brains to eat, I ate my own brains. Means I googled myself. I tried it myself. I failed. I trashed cakes. I had several testers to taste and say it was yuck. I went through every single thing. But I persevered!

Probably there isn’t much time to everyone out there for all these trials. Out of few months of meeting several bakers to whom I was teaching also, I realized the wealth of knowledge that I have gathered in such a short span is going to help so many others who have just entered into the world of baking.Probably there isn’t much time to everyone out there for all these trials. Out of few months of meeting several bakers to whom I was teaching also, I realized the wealth of knowledge that I have gathered in such a short span is going to help so many others who have just entered into the world of baking.

When I realized about the world of baking, I knew hundreds and hundreds who were already experts. So I never realized when I walked though a long way and to turn back, I saw several others who were there still in the place where I used to be few years back.When I realized about the world of baking, I knew hundreds and hundreds who were already experts. So I never realized when I walked though a long way and to turn back, I saw several others who were there still in the place where I used to be few years back.

As much as my gyan never helped Divya to come out of where she was, I decided to put in that extra thing to pull her out. I told her, I have the right links to the right recipes, I dont know how, but I have gathered them all through a lot of lovely souls who have come forward to help me out when I was in need. I promised her to give one recipe every week and that she should just practise them and send me a picture and she should share those bakes to her neighbours and near and dear ones. She agreed enthusiastically and I began to draft that document of the basic vanilla cake and my obsession with custard to fill the cake and also frost it. I emailed her the document.

Then during the same day, I was planning to streamline that document and suddenly the facebook group idea struck me. I immediately created the group, added the document into it and added Divya into it. Again in a flash I realized why not invite few others so even they get to bake every week. I sent invites to my old students and many seemed to gear up for it and joined the group. To make more sense, I decided to bake it myself for the week. So all of us including the members and me, baked with the instructions I had in the document and I was the last to post my cake. I found it was redundant, to make a document and then I make a post at the end. It made sense to skip the document part and I bake upfront so the steps are rather clear.

I realized why I am not a person to keep baking monotonous stuffs. I wanted to try different recipes. New ones. I have not been doing this on any compulsion but I do it for the person I am. I could do it, only because I like doing it. I like baking new things very often. I cannot bake four blackforest cakes in a week and sell them out to someone who needs it. I guess there are several bakeries out there who could serve them better.I realized why I am not a person to keep baking monotonous stuffs. I wanted to try different recipes. New ones. I have not been doing this on any compulsion but I do it for the person I am. I could do it, only because I like doing it. I like baking new things very often. I cannot bake four blackforest cakes in a week and sell them out to someone who needs it. I guess there are several bakeries out there who could serve them better.

I reduced selling cakes. I started living, really living the life of my passion. I felt like the puzzle was solved and today after having finished this weeks bake, I already have few windows sorted out for what to bake in the coming week. As long as I have this drive, this will keep me going. So all thanks for Divya for being that spark and I am really glad about what had happened and I definitely see how many happy faces have come out to express what Bake Along had done to them. I wish I keep doing this, until one fine day my daughter could take this over for all of youI reduced selling cakes. I started living, really living the life of my passion. I felt like the puzzle was solved and today after having finished this weeks bake, I already have few windows sorted out for what to bake in the coming week. As long as I have this drive, this will keep me going. So all thanks for Divya for being that spark and I am really glad about what had happened and I definitely see how many happy faces have come out to express what Bake Along had done to them. I wish I keep doing this, until one fine day my daughter could take this over for all of you

But I have to admit this is not a unique idea at all. I was first introduced to ‘ We knead to bake‘ by a lovely blogger Aparna. I was desperate to demystify yeast and with all my heart I joined in the group. Baked a month with a little success and after which yeast, the beast never made friends with me until quite a lot months later. That was my firstBut I have to admit this is not a unique idea at all. I was first introduced to ‘ We knead to bake‘ by a lovely blogger Aparna. I was desperate to demystify yeast and with all my heart I joined in the group. Baked a month with a little success and after which yeast, the beast never made friends with me until quite a lot months later. That was my first  inspiration, then later I came to know about ‘Daring Bakers‘. Yes I joined up there too. Now don’t be surprised, I have not baked even once with them

I was not sure of the fact that if I could not participate in an event, I rather feel like hosting the event myself . But why did I choose to send gifts to bakers who were consistently baking in the group ? I love to win small gifts. But I have never won so. When another friend of mine had several fridgie magnets in her home, I realized there was an event for Bundt day and if we baked a bundt cake on that day and submitted our cake to the event host, we would be sent the fridgie. I wanted to get it, and out of sheer laziness I never could make it up for the event. And so the fact came back into action. I decided to give away such a fridgie magnet myself. But yes, my first version was a tea coaster and now slowly I have moved to a version that I love. Something that you could proudly showcase in your living room for an awesome baker you are!

Enough is enough !! That did made you yawn isn’t it

Lets just quickly move on to the recipe with a thumbs up to our Bake Along Team, that rocks and that would keep rocking, forever!

Ingredients:-

Adapted from: Joyofbaking

Vanilla batter source: joyofbakingVanilla batter source: joyofbaking

  • Unsalted butter – 200 gms
  • Sugar – 1 3/4 cups
  • Eggs – 4
  • Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Strawberry crush – 2 tablespoons
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons

Filling & Frosting:

  • Ready custard powder – 1/4 cup
  • Milk – 1 1/2 cups
  • Sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Butter – 1 tablespoon
  • Whipping cream 200 ml, Chilled
  • Strawberry crush – 1 tablespoon
  • Milk chocolate – 100 gms

Method:

1. Add butter in the bowl of your electric beater. Beat for about a minute until it becomes fluffy and soft.

2. Add the sugar and beat on medium high speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture becomes pale, creamy and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one by one, beating after each addition, for about a minute on medium speed.

4. Add vanilla extract and beat well until it has combined. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

5. Add 1/3 of the flour into the batter and beat just until the flour has combined. Now add 1/2 of the milk and beat just until combined. Alternate flour and milk. Beat just until combined after each addition. Start and end with the flour. Do not over beat this whole step.

6. That’s how the final batter looks like. I see your inner child jumping out of joy. Do you see mine ?

7. Divide the batter into 3 different bowls. To one bowl add the cocoa powder and to the second add strawberry crush. I also added some pink food colouring to the strawberry bowl alone. Leave the 3rd bowl without adding anything.

8. Fold to mix them well. Do not over beat. Pour them into three 8 inch pans. Tap to remove any air bubbles. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until the top is well risen, springy back to the touch and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

9. Cool on wire rack. Cling wrap and refrigerate until use.

Frosting

10. Add custard powder in a saucepan. Add 1/4 of the milk and mix well to remove any lumps.

11. Add sugar and all of the remaining milk. Mix well. Bring it on stove top and keep stirring on medium flame until the custard thickens.

12. Once it has thickened, remove from fire and strain it using a sieve to remove any lumps. Add vanilla and butter. Mix well until butter melts. Let it cool to room temperature and keep refrigerated with a cling wrap covering the layer of the custard to avoid any film formation on top of the custard.

13. How cool is that, to have dairy whipping cream behave so beautifully ? . Add the cold whipping cream into the bowl of your electric beater. If using dairy cream like me, add 3 teaspoons of icing sugar. If using non-dairy you don’t have to add that sugar. Beat on high speed for about 3 to 5 minutes until you have stiff peaks.

14. Add the custard and beat well until both blends and you have stiff peaks again. Take 1/3rd cup of the frosting into 2 different bowls. To one bowl add the strawberry crush and to another I grated the milk chocolate into.

15. I trimmed off using a serrated knife, to have a flat top

16. Place the strawberry layer on your cake board/presentation plate. Add the strawberry flavoured cream. Now place the chocolate layer on top, fill with the chocolate flavoured cream. Now place the vanilla layer on top.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

17. With the remaining frosting that was not flavoured, cover the sides of the cake to seal the crumbs. Then also cover the top with a liberal amount of frosting. I wanted to show a blend of the three layers inside, so I coloured some pink and some brown. Used a piping bag with a flat tip to pipe around the layers on the sides. Then used a bench scrapper to even out while the colours show out.

18. I just so love this tool. It would listen to you.18. I just so love this tool. It would listen to you.

Now finally, it is this obsession with the custard I got so hooked to the version of lightened custard. Makes it so different than the usual whipping cream and is not buttery or heavy. I would any day prefer this style of frosting but probably with a custard that is made from scratch. Since we just had the custard made using eggs for tiramisu, I wanted to show you all the ready custard mix method.

Here I would also like to insist how versatile the filling could become. I urge you all to stir in your creativity of what all could be mixed up with any frosting that you choose to decorate your cake with. Take a portion of it and play around. I have tried options like those below and mix it up with the frosting and fill the cakes with. Don’t call me crazy

  1. Process kit kat in the food processor.
  2. Process oreo in the food processor
  3. Broken bits of praline.
  4. Chocolate chips
  5. Pie fillings
  6. Crushes – any flavour
  7. Frozen fruit puree
  8. Grated favourite chocolate
  9. Chopped candies
  10. Rice krispies

That seems quite a bit of restlessness when it comes to filling a cake. I strongly trust that you understand what that restlessness is like

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