Neapolitan Cake

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Bake: 40 min. + cooling


12 servings

Updated: Aug. 18, 2023
I received this easy Neapolitan cake recipe from a friend. It's a pretty cake for birthday parties. I like to add some strawberry extract to the pink portion of the batter. —Marianne Waldman, Brimfield, Illinois
Neapolitan Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 8 to 10 drops red food coloring
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
  • Confectioners' sugar, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Divide batter into 3 equal portions.
  2. Pour 1 portion into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Stir red food coloring into another portion; carefully spoon into pan. Stir chocolate syrup and cocoa into remaining batter; carefully spoon into pan. Do not swirl.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar.

Neapolitan Cake Tips

Is Neapolitan a flavor?

Neapolitan isn’t a single flavor, it’s a combination of three—although those three can vary. The original trio was pistachio, strawberry and vanilla, because the colors matched the Italian flag. In the United States, however, pistachio was quickly swapped out for the more locally popular chocolate flavor. Strawberry, vanilla and chocolate are the most frequently used flavors today.

What other Neapolitan desserts can I make?

The original Neapolitan dessert was ice cream, so you can certainly go back to the classic! Make your own homemade vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream, and then layer them into a mold (a loaf pan lined with foil would do nicely!). You can also make Neapolitan cookies, Neapolitan cheesecake, Neapolitan fudge, or even miniature Neapolitan baked Alaskas!

How do I store Neapolitan cake?

This Neapolitan cake does not need to be refrigerated, unless you chose to add a dairy-based icing. Otherwise, it can be kept at room temperature for several days. If you’ve cut the cake, it’s best to wrap it in plastic wrap, as the moisture from the cake will escape from the cut surface.

Hazel Wheaton, Taste of Home Books Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 222 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 47mg cholesterol, 301mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.

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