Neapolitan Cupcakes

Neapolitan Cupcakes
From How To Eat a Cupcake and Martha Stewart

Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12

Follow instructions for Vanilla Cupcakes below, but reduce flour to 1 1/4 cups, and add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Whisk into dry ingredients.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).

3. Fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each batter, side by side. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Strawberry Buttercream
Adapted from 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson
Makes enough to frost about 16 cupcakes

2 cups confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup strawberry puree
1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
Pinch of Salt
8-12 fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, for decoration

1. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter until it is light and fluffy. Add strawberry puree, strawberry extract, and salt until well combined. Add sugar, a half cup at a time, and beat until frosting comes together and is light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Spread or pipe frosting over cooled cupcakes. Top each with a sliced strawberry.

*Note: This only made enough to frost about 2/3 of my 2 dozen cupcakes. I had to make a batch and a half to frost them all.

Neapolitan CupcakesWhen I started thinking about recipes for Cupcake Camp, I was stumped. This wasn't just about me wanting to bake on a whim like I usually do. This involved planning and testing for perfect execution. The French Toast and Bacon Cupcake idea came rather quickly, so right away I had one of my two flavors down. What could I do for the other? Since I was taking myself completely out of my comfort zone with the bacon, I wanted something simple, yet unique for my other flavor. Something that I could just throw together and not have to really think about, so I could put all of my concentration into my over-the-top flavor. But not too simple, to the point of being boring and amateur. I was taking these to give to real bakers and cupcake lovers. I wanted to be taken seriously. I kicked around ideas with Boyfriend, but nothing stuck. I asked around on Twitter. Got a few really good ideas for things to make later, but nothing struck me as the one. So I asked around at work. As one of my coworkers was headed up the escalator, he shouted "Neapolitan!" Neapolitan? Hmm. Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry. Simple flavors. Good combination. Safe, yet unique. This could work. I think I've got my flavor! Now to figure out how to put it together..

Searching the web for the perfect combination of Strawberry, Chocolate, and Vanilla, I came across a recipe for Neapolitan Cupcakes on How to Eat a Cupcake. I love this blog! I think she's awesome, and I'm totally ready to live vicariously through her as she works on opening her own bakery. And her recipe for Neapolitans? From Martha Stewart. This has to be the best recipe EVER! I made sure to bookmark it and continued my search. I wanted to do a layered cupcake rather than a split because they were possibly going to cut the cupcakes at the Camp, as small as quarters. That meant possibly leaving out a whole flavor! So I set my sights on the best recipes of each flavor I could find. I decided to try to be ambitious and do a triple layered cupcake. It would be so pretty!

With recipes in hand, I set out for my first test. I was going to do a layer of chocolate across the bottom, vanilla in the middle, and strawberry on top! I crossed my fingers as they went into the oven. First attempt = the most spectacular baking fail I've ever had. The middle vanilla layer was now the top layer. The top strawberry layer had sunken into the middle, and was a disgusting brownish pink color. When I finally bit into it to taste test it--HORRIBLE! The strawberry layer wasn't even cooked, and the whole thing was completely inedible. So much for Round 1. Maybe three layers is too many. Maybe I'll just stick with 2.

Round 2 didn't go a whole lot better. The bottom layer, again, baked up over my top layer. I wasn't getting that beautiful, perfect division I was longing for. Maybe I'd just give up and try the split after all. Round 3: Trying for the split, and trying out a new recipe. What I did taste of the Round 2 mess was dry and crumbly. I wanted a soft, moist cake, so Round 3 was tested with a recipe using sour cream for both the Vanilla and the Chocolate flavors. Crossing my fingers again. And again--fail. The batters were too soft, and flavors bled into each other. This was supposed to be my safe, thoughtless flavor so I could concentrate on Bacon! Neapolitan BatterThe Bacon test went perfectly, and here I am, 3 Neapolitan tries later, and still not even close to something worth showing off to anyone but the trash can. I needed a thick batter that would hold up, in the split format for the perfect look.

So here I am. Back to the very first recipe I found when searching for Neapolitans: How to Eat a Cupcake's Martha recipe. And Round 4? Came out exactly how I wanted. Why did I not try this recipe first? How could I have possibly ignored both HTEAC and Martha?? I'm so ashamed. But at least I had my recipe finally. I decided to throw together a Strawberry Buttercream really quickly just to taste the combination together. I adapted the Maple Buttercream I was using for my Bacon Cupcakes, adding strawberry puree and extract instead of the maple flavoring.. and whaddya know? It's pretty good! Score! Got my frosting on the first try at least! My simple, thoughtless, throw-together recipe was finally in order, weeks later.

I baked my cupcakes the night before the Camp (they came out perfectly!) and frosted the morning of. I sliced up fresh strawberries to go on top, and packed them up to head off to the event.
Cupcake CampTime to put my baking to the test, and hand them over to the cupcake loving masses. Everyone there seemed to enjoy them! By the end of the event, they had vanished, so I'm assuming that's a good thing. Looking at the pictures from other attendees of the Camp on Flickr, I noticed a few of the to-go boxes had 1 or more Neapolitans in it, so I'm feeling pretty confident that at least a couple people liked them! Yay!

I've learned my lesson. If you find a recipe you think is the best recipe in the world, try that one first. Don't just save it and forget about it, because more than likely, that is the best recipe in the world. Could have saved myself weeks of trouble.. And entire boxes of butter. Well now that I know, I'll totally be making these again!

See how the rest of Cupcake Camp went, and check out the French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes!
Pin It


KARA said...

and so delicious they look, bacon cupcakes oh wow these sound awesome.
I am so glad to have met your little blog, I am Kara the lady featuring these on my cupcake blog http://todayscupcakeis.blogspot.com/

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

When I saw the pic at the top of the entry I was like HEY I recognize those cuppies!

Aren't they delish?? :D

Ingrid said...

They look fantastic! Glad everything worked out for you and your cuppycakes!

Can't wait to see and read about your bacon ones.

Smitten Sugar said...

wow these look great! I am new to the blogging world but cant wait to try these out sometime.

klassykakes said...

dear busty baker, these are gorgeous! I made them the night I saw the post. They came out beautiful! I tasted them and they are so dry I can't serve them! The only thing I did differently is that I had 2 % insead of whole milk. I'd like to make them to take to a bbq tomorrow. Any tips? They're just so darn cute I want them to work :). Thanks. Klassykakes

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

klassy - I do remember mine being slightly on the dry side as well, since the batters both have to be on the thick side to hold their shape, which usually leads to a less than perfectly moist cake. But I don't think they were so much that I didn't feel comfortable serving them. Maybe baking them for a shorter amount of time would keep them from drying out too much? I'd start checking them at 13 or 14 minutes to see if a cake tester comes out clean. I'm not sure that would help, but it's the only advice I can think to give! Sorry they didn't turn out as well as you'd have liked :(

Jo and Sue said...

I just "discovered" you the other day and had to try these. Your photos look so yummy! I did a blog about these on my sister and I's blog if you care to check it out :) Loved the icing on these! http://joandsue.blogspot.com/2011/07/neapolitan-cupcakes.html

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails