Neapolitan Desserts

086_SLMA11-1Chocolate, strawberry, vanilla — who said you had to choose just one? Our Neapolitan desserts take a fresh approach to the classic flavor  combination, and create treats that will garner three times the “wows.” 

This blend of sweet tastes came to the United States in the 19th century with Italian immigrants who brought along their recipes for the frozen dessert spumoni. The original often included nuts and fruit, and it gradually evolved into the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream combination we know today as Neapolitan — a reference to the Italian city of Naples. 

Taking the trio to new heights, these recipes use the ice cream as inspiration for cupcakes, a creamy “Neapolitan Dessert,” and cookies.

Neapolitan Cupcakes
Yields 2
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  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  3. 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 3 cups cake flour
  7. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 1/4 cups milk
  10. 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  11. Strawberry Frosting (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  4. Divide batter in half, and beat cocoa powder into half of batter. Spoon chocolate batter into muffin cups, filling about one-third full. Spoon vanilla batter evenly over chocolate batter, filling about two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean; cool completely. Pipe Strawberry Frosting on top of cupcakes.
Southern Lady Magazine
Strawberry Frosting
Yields 3
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  1. 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/4 cup butter, softened
  3. 1/4 cup strawberry jam
  4. 2 teaspoons strawberry extract
  5. 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  6. 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in strawberry jam and strawberry extract until smooth. Beat in whipped topping and confectioners’ sugar.
Southern Lady Magazine

Though today’s Neapolitan desserts almost exclusively consist of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, original versions sometimes included pistachio. Discover a personal “Neapolitan” trio by trying different flavors of extract and jam in our cupcake’s frosting recipe—we think orange or raspberry would be delicious! For a designer cupcake look, try piping the frosting instead of spreading it, and follow the practice of professionals, who stop just before the edge so the treat is neater and easier to eat.