Neapolitan Mini Cakes

Neapolitan mini cakes

I don’t know about you, but I am very excited that The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens. The cakes, the bunting, the icy stare of a dissatisfied Mary Berry, and the innuendo rich banter from Mel and Sue, all serve to brighten up my week. Its early days to be picking favourites, but i’m already very much on Team Norman. A man who makes his swiss rolls for men, bakes simple things like ‘bread and pies’, and a man who would dare to bring an unflavoured biscuit made with a mere three ingredients in front of Paul and Mary’s unflinching judgement. He’s not trying too hard, or baking with pretentious ingredients you’ve never heard of, and wonder if the bakers themselves had until they googled it when trying to think up a winning recipe. No, Norman bakes what he likes, in the way he enjoys. Fantastic.

Living abroad, I was quite late to the Bake Off party, only starting to watch it sporadically on YouTube last year. This year I’ve found a way to get Iplayer out in Hong Kong and I’m keeping up to date. In two weeks time though we’ll be off on our travels, leaving me with no way to watch, scrolling tentativly through social media  every Thursday morning incase of spoilers.  My Mum is under instruction to record the whole series, and I’ll probably binge watch it on Christmas Eve in front of the fire whilst tucking into mince pies, mulled wine in hand. I’m looking forward to it already!

Neapolitan mini cakes  scarletscorchdroppers

I made these little cakes a while ago, but last week’s Mini Cake challenge brought them back to me. Of course my recipe makes a very small batch, only 4 to contend with and even then my cakes are far from uniform. They wouldn’t get past the scrutiny of Paul Hollywood in terms of their looks, but they’re still fun to make and delicious to eat. Mini cakes have the feel of a celebration layer cake, but are far quicker and simpler, and are ideal when you don’t have a massive crowd to tuck into the results. I’d really love one of those little tiny cake stands to serve them on, although I suspect Andy would be raising some serious eyebrows if I tried to sneak one into the house!

Neapolitan mini cake

The layers are flavoured like neapolitan ice cream, strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. They’re sandwiched with chocolate and vanilla butter creams.

The cake layers are made by baking sheets of cake, then cutting out rounds. This means you don’t have to go and buy any specialist mini cake tins, but it does also mean the cakes dry out quite quickly. They’re best eaten on the day their made, but if you need to make in advance I’d suggest baking the cake, but waiting to cut and assemble until just before you serve. This will help to keep the cakes nice and moist and flavourful.

Neapolitan Mini Cakes

(makes 4 mini cakes)


for the cake base layer

230g caster sugar

230g unsalted butter

230g plain flour

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons milk

for the strawberry layer

100g strawberry yoghurt

80g fresh strawberries, finely chopped

few drops red food dye

for the chocolate layer

4 tablespoons milk

15g cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the vanilla layer

4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the buttercream 

150g butter

150g icing sugar, sifted icing sugar.

30g cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 strawberries, to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/ 350F.

Weigh a large bowl and note the weight. In the same bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in one egg, along with a tablespoon of flour. Repeat with the second egg and a second tablespoon of flour. Fold in the remaining flour and the baking powder, followed by the milk.

Weigh the batter in the bowl, subtract the weight of the bowl, then divide the batter evenly into three separate bowls.

Into one bowl, fold in the strawberry yoghurt, finely chopped strawberries, and the food dye.

Into the second bowl, fold the cocoa powder, 4 tablespoons of milk, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Into the third bowl, fold 4 tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Spread each batter on a separate baking tray (or swiss roll tray), lined with greaseproof paper,  measuring approximately 18x24cm.

Bake each layer for about 15 minutes, keeping a close eye on them, and removing them as soon as they are firm, but still spongey to the touch.

Cool completely.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, then beat in the sifted icing sugar. Divide the mixture into 2. Sift the cocoa powder into one half, mixing until well combined. Mix the vanilla extract into the second half.

Using a 7cm round cutter, cut out 4 circles from each of the sheets of cake.

Assemble the cakes.

Take one of the strawberry circles, and spread on a teaspoon of vanilla buttercream. Gently push a chocolate circle on top, and top it with a teaspoon of chocolate buttercream. Finally put the vanilla cake on top and garnish with half a sliced strawberry, if desired.

The cakes will dry out quickly and are best eaten on the day they are made.

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  1. I am very much team Norman too! Some of the other male contestants scare me a little bit!

  2. Ooo the Bake Off is sooo exciting, I totally agree. And I love that you just made 4 of these gorgeous cakes. I thought I was the only one baking in small batches.

  3. These look great!!

  4. so.much.SQUEE! These are adorable.

  5. I’m team Norman too. He won my heart with his lard, butter and flour biscuits.

  6. And your mini cakes are lovely – a mini batch of them is also very fitting

    • Thank you 🙂 Despite the name, a batch of mini cakes makes a surprising large amount of cake! Without Mel and sue to polish it all off for me a mini batch was the only answer! Oh yes I loved that Norman moment too – what a hero!

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