First Birthday... Neapolitan Cake!




I'm a bit behind with this post. It was over a month ago now that my little boy turned one but I wanted to share with you his cake and how we celebrated his special day. I had a little bit of difficulty trying to decide what cake to make for his first birthday. Gosh I think I could have gone wild with different themes and ideas but what made me choose to make a simple layered Neapolitan cake was the fact he really wouldn't remember the day nor care what cake he had. So I decided to leave the car and train cakes to a time when he would appreciate it a little bit more. 






The standard combination for a Neapolitan cake is chocolate, vanilla and strawberry just like the ice cream. However since I was trying to create a boy cake here I didn't think I wanted a pink layer in the cake. I thought about maybe making it blue but then what flavour would a blue layer be? Bubblegum? No thanks. So I scratched the blue layer idea and decided to swap it with caramel. So I googled and researched but I couldn't find a Neapolitan cake recipe using a caramel layer anywhere. Oh well I guess I better come up with my own. Since I wanted to eat this cake myself I had to make sure the recipes were able to be created dairy free... yep this monstrosity is completely dairy free apart from the smarties on top. I decided to forgo trying to make a healthy birthday cake option here to save further headaches trying to create something healthy in different flavoured layers of cake! Sugar overload here!! For the vanilla layer I went with Sweetopolita's Fluffy Vanilla Cake, the caramel layer was a Caramel Butter Cake that I knew I could make dairy free and the chocolate layer was my tried and true Venezuelan Chocolate Cake recipe which was passed down to me from my cousins who were missionaries in Venezuela.




Instead of slathering the outside with a white buttercream I decided to follow Sweetapolita's track and used her Inside-Out Neapolitan Cake as inspiration to create different flavoured icings to match each layers flavour - vanilla, caramel and chocolate! I couldn't resist dipping my fingers in maybe once or was it twice (or maybe a few more times than that) in each icing as I made it! I think my favourite was the chocolate! I got a sugar headache after that - oh well my fault. I kept the extra decorations on the cake simple and pulled in the boy theme with a simply blue and green number one candle. Then matched it with the same coloured smarties I picked out from a large bag of smarties. I simply dotted these around the top edge of the cake.



I didn't intentionally go out to make three cakes but as I was making each cake I had a bit of batter left over for each flavour of cake so I decided to make little cakes to use to celebrate my mother-in-laws and brother-in-laws birthday, which fell on and around J.D's birthday. Plus they kinda looked nice displayed all together. 

 

 We we able to celebrate J.D's birthday on his actual day, which fell on a Sunday. I decided to have the party over lunch time and feed the hungry hordes a simple BBQ. I tried to keep the party really easy and stress free with the catering side of things - for snacks I did the obligartory party pies, sausage rolls, spring rolls and some arancini balls which I had pre-made and had in the freezer. Lunch consisted of some good quality sausages on some freshly made hot dog buns (thanks to the local bakery) with coleslaw, fried onion and sauce! For dessert we indulged in this delicious cake. As you can see below the little guy thoroughly enjoyed his cake and was pointing for some more once he was done with the piece I had given him. He was SUPER tired by the time it came round to open his presents, which resulted in a speedy opening session and quick thank-you's before he was whisked off to bed, high on sugar and full of sausages and cake! It was a fairly full on day even though I tried to make it simple - is any party ever simple?? At the end of the day I was able to sit down and reflect on the year gone. I can't believe I am now a mum to a one year old. This little guy has firmly burrowed his way into both our hearts and we just simply adore him. We thank God every day for the miracle that we have been given (I especially need to remind myself of this on hard days). 
He is a joy in our lives, a reason to live a God centered life and strive to be a better person so that I can, as a mother, show him, guide him in this journey we call Life! I love you little guy! xxoo





My favourite part of the whole cake making process was cutting into the cake to reveal the different layers of icing and cake. It turned out to be quite effective. The flavours worked really well together and I think the cake went down a treat. There was none of the large cake left at the end of the party. I handed off one of the small cakes to my mother-in-law to enjoy on her actual birthday the few days later and kept the other small cake to use in a cake smash shoot for J.D a few days later.



I thought I would indulge you with a few of my favourite photos from the cake smash shoot... he was most impressed that he was allowed to TOUCH and EAT such a large piece of cake!








Notes From The Kitchen:
  • For the Vanilla layer of this cake I used the Fluffy Vanilla Cake recipe from Sweetapolita
  • To make the cake dairy free I simply used Nuttelex as a butter alternative in the cakes and the butter cream icing.
  • To get all the layers the same I weighed the cake mixture of each cake to be the same weight. I think I used about 600g of mixture to get the thickness I did for each layer of the large cake.
  • Freeze the cakes for an hour or two first before trying to trim the top off to be flat.
  • Freeze the cakes completely before icing. This makes it easier to assemble and ice without crumbling and breaking apart. 
  • The cake can be iced and assembled the day before and kept cool in the fridge. Remove the cake and hour before serving to allow it to come to room temperature. IF it is very hot make it only about 30 minutes otherwise the buttercream will melt.
  • The icing can be made days in advance and kept in the fridge, Simply remove and beat in an electric mixer for a minute or two before using so that it becomes spreadable again.

Venezuelan Chocolate Cake

by The Whimsical Wife
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert cocoa Baby Shower birthday July 4th Easter cake fall spring summer winter
Ingredients (1 cake)
  • 150g Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cups dark cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
Preheat an oven to 170 degrees fan forced. Grease and line a round 23cm tin with baking paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer place the butter and sugar and beat until light and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time beating to combine before each addition.
Sift in to the bowl the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder and salt.
On a slow speed mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add in the water.
Continue to mix on a low speed until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Don't overbeat otherwise the cake will be tough.
Spoon the mixture into the lined tin (*Measure out in the tin if you are trying to create the neapolitan layered cake)
Spread the mixture into the tin and smooth down the top. Place into the oven and bake for about 45-55 minutes of until a skewer comes out clean.
*Depending on your oven you may need more or less time*
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Caramel Butter Cake

by The Whimsical Wife
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ingredients (1 cake)
  • 125g butter
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk
Instructions
Preheat an oven to 170 degrees (fan bake). Grease 20cm round cake tin and line with baking paper.
Beat butter, extract, sugar with mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time; beat in golden syrup.
Fold in sifted dry ingredients and milk. Pour into pan.
Bake for about 50 min.
Stand cake in pan for 5 min then turn onto rack to cool.
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Buttercream Icing

by The Whimsical Wife
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: nil
Keywords: electric mixer
Ingredients (Enough to ice 3 layered Cake)
    Vanilla Icing
    • 250g butter, room temperature
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons pavloval magic optional (this helps the cream to set and go firm)
    • 500-750g Icing sugar
    • 1-3 tablespoons water
    Chocolate Icing
    • 250g butter, room temperature
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons pavloval magic optional (this helps the cream to set and go firm)
    • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon coffee dissolved in a tablespoon of water
    • 1-3 tablespoons water, extra
    • 500-750g Icing sugar
    Caramel Icing
    • 250g butter, room temperature
    • 2 cups brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons pavloval magic optional (this helps the cream to set and go firm)
    • 3 tablespoons golden syrup, warmed until runny
    Instructions
    Vallina Icing
    In a large bowl of an electric mixing place in the butter and vanilla essence and beat for a minute. Sift in 500g of icing sugar and pavlovla magic and beat into the butter mixture. Add in the water and a further 100 -200g of icing sugar and continue to beat. If the the buttercream is still quite loose and runny keep adding in small amounts of icing sugar until a thick buttercream is formed. Beat this mixture for 5 - 8 minutes until light in colour.
    Place into an air tight container and store in the fridge until required. Beat the buttercream briefly before using to ice a cake to loosen the icing and make it spreadable again.
    Chocolate Icing
    In a large bowl of an electric mixing place in the butter and beat for a minute. Sift in 500g of icing sugar, pavlovla magic, cocoa and coffee mixture and beat into the butter mixture. Add in the water and a further 100 -200g of icing sugar and continue to beat. If the the buttercream is still quite loose and runny keep adding in small amounts of icing sugar until a thick buttercream is formed. Beat this mixture for 5 - 8 minutes until light in colour.
    Place into an air tight container and store in the fridge until required. Beat the buttercream briefly before using to ice a cake to loosen the icing and make it spreadable again.
    Caramel Icing
    In a large bowl of an electric mixing place in the butter, brown sugar, pavlova magic and golden syrup. Beat this mixture for 5 - 8 minutes until light in colour.
    Place into an air tight container and store in the fridge until required. Beat the buttercream briefly before using to ice a cake to loosen the icing and make it spreadable again.
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