In the Kitchen: Neapolitan Cupcakes

I don’t have it in me to hate Valentine’s Day anymore. I caved this year – the soup cookoff for work is today – on V-day itself. I picked out pretty pink & red V-day related cupcake liners. I had ideas about heart shaped pieces of chocolate to top the cupcakes. I perused the cupcake picks trying to find some that were fun, but appropriate.

The holiday has broken me. Valentine’s Day wins. I blame the monkeys.*

I realize this is in direct contrast to my recent re-post of the Bloody Valentine Cupcakes. I’m still not a huge fan of the holiday, but I no longer cringe at it’s mention. I can see the point of celebrating love – not just for couples, but for families, for friends, for people who need a little love. So FINE, Valentine’s Day. YOU WIN. It took 37 years, BUT YOU HAVE BROKEN ME.

Neapolitan Cupcakes, V2.0

One of the events for which I found myself baking this week was Rachel‘s birthday, which is V-day adjacent. So these cupcakes have little to do with Valentine’s day except that they would be a good match for the holiday, should you find yourself with a need for a ton of cupcakes. I first made the Neapolitan cupcakes a couple weeks ago for a going away potluck at work, but there was something not right about them for me – my Vanilla Cake Syndrome had reared it’s ugly head and declared that adding cocoa to white cake batter did NOT make the batter taste the way chocolate cake is supposed to. So I thought I’d play with it a little.

Neapolitan Cupcakes

Neapolitan Cupcakes, V2.0

For me, it was important to save a little bit of time, so I decided to doctor up some boxed cake mixes to do this. If you are box mix averse, just find your own favorite chocolate, strawberry, and white cake recipes for this. I’d recommend cutting each mix in half unless you find yourself with a need for 5-6 dozen cupcakes (I did need a lot of cupcakes for the previously mentioned soup cookoff, as luck would have it). But my life is such that I didn’t have time to mix up 3 batches from scratch.

Neapolitan Cupcakes, V2.0

Neapolitan Cupcakes
idea from My Baking Addiction
(Doctored up box mix version)

You’ll need:

  • One recipe chocolate cake mix (I used this recipe)
  • One recipe vanilla cake mix (I used this recipe)
  • One recipe strawberry cake mix (see below for recipe)
  • So much buttercream frosting (I use this recipe – it’s THE BEST – but you need to at least double it to frost 24 cupcakes).

Preheat oven to 350F & line cupcake tins with papers.

NOTE: Here’s where you can make a decision – how many neapolitan cupcakes do you want? I made 24, then baked single flavors using the remainder of the batter (about 3 dozen cupcakes).

Once you’ve mixed up your cake batters, drop about a tablespoon of each flavor into a cupcake liner (I use a small cookie scoop). You can use a toothpick to swirl the flavors together a little or leave them layered.

Bake 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Now, the strawberry cake mix cakes I saw started with a yellow or white cake mix & added strawberries. But I had a strawberry cake mix, so I kind of did a recipe mash-up & this is what I came up with:

Strawberry Cake Mix:
1 box strawberry cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 c oil
1/2 c water
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding

Mix all the ingredients together, bake according to box directions (18-22 minutes at 350 for cupcakes). Note that this batter did get fairly thick.

*Because of all the cute monkey Valentine items (decorations, stuffies, coffee cups, cupcake picks…). And we all know I love adorable monkeys. See:


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