Neapolitan Cupcakes

When I was little I loved going to my Maw Maw and Paw Paw’s for a particular reason: NEAPOLITAN ICE CREAM.  Usually once a week, me, Maw Maw, and Paw Paw would go to Penny’s Seafood in Southport, FL.  I would get fried grouper and a side salad, because I didn’t like french fries (too bad that didn’t last).  Then we would head back to their house and I would play in the kitchen or help Paw Paw with his coin collection until the rents retrieved me.  But the best part of the evening was the Neapolitan ice cream.  It was always kept in the outside freezer, in that big gallon bucket.  You know the kind that has the white lid with the red writing and handle?  THE BEST.  I always ate my portion out of the faded, little pink cup with the small round handle.  I can still taste it… so good.

Well, recently.. like for a year, recently.. my sister Allison has been nagging me to make Neapolitan cupcakes.  This Saturday was the perfect day for baking, so I decided to give it a shot.  My thinking was this: “Ok, this can’t be that hard.  I’ll make a vanilla-base cake batter, and divide it into thirds.  Then, I will add melted dark chocolate to 1/3 and strawberry flavoring to the other 1/3.”  So, I did.  And folks, these cupcakes really are that easy, and very impressive.  A must try cupcake!

Neapolitan Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

Makes 8-10 cupcakes

1 stick butter, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

1/4 cup heavy cream or milk (either work)

2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 heaping tablespoon strawberry jello mix

3 1-quart Ziploc bags

Okie dokie.  First, we shall preheat the oven to 350.  Then, line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Next, combine the dry ingredients (i.e., flour, baking powder, and salt) in a medium size bowl, set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, mix softened butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  About 2 minutes.  Then, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Toss in the vanilla.  Nom.

Ok, so now we are going to alternate adding the flour mixture and cream/milk.  Starting with the flour and ending with the flour.  So, I add the flour in thirds: 1/3 flour, 1/2 of the cream, 1/3 flour, other 1/2 of the cream, and the remaining 1/3 of the flour.  Mix the batter at a medium until it’s combined nicely and smooth, about 30 seconds.

Once you have your vanilla batter made, cover it with a kitchen cloth and set it aside, we will come back to it.

Double-boiler time: don’t quit here!  Double-boilers are NOT as scary as they may seem.  Grab a 1- or 2-quart pot and put about 2 inches of water in the pan and put in on the stove at about medium-high heat.  Then, you’ll need a 1- or 2- quart bowl to put on the pan to create the double-boiler.  Once you are all situated, add the chocolate chips and heavy cream to the bowl.  Keep a pretty good eye on it, stirring it occasionally.  Once it starts to really melt, stir it continuously until it’s all melted and smooth.  Remove the bowl from the pot of water and set aside.

Now it’s time to divide the vanilla batter.  Add 1 cup of vanilla batter to the melted chocolate bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of the vanilla batter and the strawberry jello mix.  YAY!  We have 3 flavors!  Now time to layer.

Grab your Ziploc bags and put each of the batters into separate bags.  In your prepared cupcake liners, you’re going to put the vanilla batter in first.  Snip the corner of the Ziploc bag and squeeze enough batter to just cover the bottom of each cupcake liner.  You’re going to do the same this with the Strawberry batter, squeeze enough batter to cover the vanilla batter.  Same with the chocolate batter to cover the strawberry.  Now, wipe the sweat off your forehead and pop these suckers in the oven.  For approximately 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Honestly, the cupcakes don’t need frosting they’re delicious plain, but if you wish to frost here is the frosting recipe I use:

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

1, 8oz block cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla on low speed.  Once it is combined well, speed up the mixer to medium-high and mix for 1 minute, set aside.  In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks.   Then, add the cream cheese mixture to the whipped cream and fold the two together.  Make sure you fold it in, if you just stir it you’ll deflate the whipped cream and your frosting will be sad.

Frost the cupcakes however you like!  Gallon Ziploc bags are great to use, just snip the end off a corner and you’ve created a piping bad.

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