• Neapolitan cupcakes (Nick Makrides)Source: Nick Makrides

Which Neapolitan ice-cream flavour were you? 






Skill level

Average: 4.2 (67 votes)

My first memories of Neapolitan ice cream are from visiting my grandma’s house. She’d always have it in the freezer for us. Most people went for the chocolate ice cream, but you can have chocolate any day. Personally, I went for the strawberry ice cream. I’d put a little chocolate and vanilla in there too, then I’d sit at the table next to my brother and we’d mix it all together until it became one big, grey milkshake that we’d eat like soup. Don’t ask me why, but that’s still how I eat Neapolitan ice cream.



  • 500 g (1lb 2 oz/2cups) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 500 g (1lb 2 oz/4 cups) icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 2 tbsp full-cream milk (room temperature optional but recommended)
  • 2-4 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 40 g (1½ oz) unsweetened (Dutch) cocoa powder
  • 3 drops pink food gel colouring
  • 1 tsp strawberry flavouring



  • 430 g (15 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 265 g (9½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 375 ml (12½ fl oz/1½ cups) full-cream (whole) milk
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 40 g (1½ oz) unsweetened (Dutch) cocoa powder
  • 3 drops pink food gel colouring
  • 1 tsp strawberry flavouring



  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) chocolate sauce
  • 20 maraschino cherries, well drained

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. To make the frosting, add your softened butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the butter on low-speed ot begin with, then switch to the highest speed and mix for 5 minutes until the butter is fluffy and turn pale in colour. Stop your mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

2. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix on low speed.

3. Once all the sugar is incorporated, it's safe to turn your mixer up to high speed. Continue beating on high speed for about 5-6 minutes, or until the butter turns pale in colour and becomes a little smoother, add the milk and continue mixing for another couple of minutes on medium speed. 

4. Then divide it between three mixing bowls. Add the cocoa powder to one bowl and mix until well combined. Next, add the pink food gel and strawberry flavouring to the second bowl and mix. Leave the third bowl plain. Set aside.

5. To make the cupcakes, preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C (275°F) or a conventional oven to 160°C (320°F). Line two cupcake tins with the cupcake cases.

6. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.

7. Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.

8. Add the eggs, milk, oil, yoghurt and vanilla, and mix on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for a final 20 seconds. It’s at this point that you can add any flavourings or food-gel colourings to the batter.

9. Once the batter is ready, repeat the same flavouring and colouring process as for the frosting.

10. Transfer the flavoured batters to separate piping bags and snip off the ends. Fill your cupcake cases about three-quarters of the way with batter, alternating between the three colours. Add the chocolate to the bottom, followed by the strawberry, and finish with vanilla.

11. Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

12. To assemble, core the centre of each cupcake with an apple corer (stop about 1 cm (½ in) from the bottom) and fill with chocolate sauce. To finish your cupcakes, fit a piping bag with an open-star tip and fill with chocolate frosting. Repeat with the strawberry and vanilla frosting.

13. Pipe a flat swirl of chocolate frosting on top of each cupcake. Next, pipe a slightly smaller swirl of strawberry frosting on top of that and, finally, a swirl of vanilla frosting. Finish with a maraschino cherry.



• You can also use a hand mixer for this recipe, but if you do use a hand mixer, make sure your bowl is large. 

This recipe is from Sugar Rebels by Nick Makrides published by Hardie Grant Books RRP ($32.99) and is available in stores nationally. Photography by Nick Makrides.