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Anna Glover

Anna is our Creative Food Editor, and a former cookery writer and food stylist. She loves a challenge and is known for whipping up interesting flavour combinations. She’s still in search of the best pizza in the world.

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Neapolitan ice cream cake

  • Serves 16
  • Prep 50 mins
  • Total time 1hr 30 mins, plus cooling and chilling
5.0/5 rating (2 votes)
Neapolitan ice cream cake
Neapolitan ice cream cake

step by step

  • 1Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Grease and base-line 3 x 18cm loose-based cake tins. (If you only have 2 tins of the same size, reserve the pink cake mixture and re-use one of the tins once the first cakes are cooked and turned out.)
  • 2Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl with an electric whisk) for a few minutes until really pale and fluffy. With the motor still running on a medium speed, add one egg, followed by a spoonful of flour. Repeat until all the eggs are added, then fold in the remaining flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. If making the cone decoration, see below.
  • 3Divide the mix into 3 bowls, weighing them to make them even if you like (about 360g per cake). Fold the vanilla into one, the cocoa and milk into another and the strawberry flavour and pink colouring to the last one, mixing well to ensure an even colour.
  • 4Scrape into the prepared tins, and bake for 18-20 minutes, until risen and a skewer comes out clean.
  • 5Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tins, then turn out onto a rack and leave to cool to room temperature.
  • 6For the buttercream, mix the butter and icing sugar using the paddle attachment in a stand mixer (starting on a low speed so you don’t cover your kitchen in sugar dust) until light in colour and fluffy. Add the food colouring and vanilla, and mix again until you get a pink pastel colour (like strawberry ice cream).
  • 7Divide one-third of the buttercream between two of the cooled sponges (ice and assemble the cakes bottom-side up so that you get a flat surface uppermost). Spread to the edges with a palette knife. Stack the cakes in three tiers with the un-iced one on top. Thinly cover the outside and top of the cake with a bit more icing, then scrape off the excess with a palette knife, and discard as a crumb coat. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up before using the remaining icing to cover with a final coat, smoothing the sides and top again with a palette knife or icing scraper.
  • 8Finely chop the chocolate and put in a bowl. Heat the double cream until almost simmering then pour it over the chocolate. Mix well to melt the chocolate and turn it into a smooth, glossy ganache (if you have a few lumps left, put over a pan of simmering water on a low heat for a few seconds). Leave to cool for 10-20 minutes until thick but just runny enough to drizzle. Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing some to drip down the sides, then scatter with the sprinkles. Leave to set in a cool place for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
  • Use gel or paste food colouring, as liquid colouring isn’t heat stable and will lose its colour during baking.Make our cone decoration:Spoon 2 tablespoons of cake mix into a cupcake case at the end of step 2. Bake for about 12 minutes while you are colouring the layer-cake mixtures. Cool, then chill. When cold, use a serrated knife to carve it into a ball shape, keeping the base flat. Spread with some of the buttercream and chill. Sit the ball on top of the iced cake before spooning on the ganache, then add a cone at a jaunty angle. For a simpler decoration, you could add ice-cream wafers to the top of the cake instead.
  • Recipe photograph by Toby Scott

Get ahead

The sponge cake layers can be made the day before and stored in an airtight container, or frozen for up to 1 month. Once assembled, the cake keeps for about 2 days in a tall airtight container (minus the cone!)

You will need

For the sponges

  • 300g soft unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 300g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp strawberry flavour
  • 1 tsp pink food colouring (see Kitchen Tip)

For the buttercream

  • 300g soft unsalted butter
  • 600g icing sugar, sifted
  • ½-1 tsp pink food colouring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To decorate

  • 150g milk or dark chocolate
  • 75ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar stars or sprinkles

+ Nutritional Information