Neapolitan Pound Cake

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This simple yet delicious loaf is packed with all the nostalgia of a Neapolitan ice cream on a hot summer’s day.

Like many other South Africans (and probably people the world over), I have fond memories of eating a Neapolitan ice cream as a child – the mixture of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate blending to create something at once simple and spectacular.

I’d wanted to reinterpret these flavours as a cake for some time when I saw a pound cake recipe in Zoë François’ new cookbook Zoë Bakes Cakes. While pound cakes are a staple in most bakers’ arsenals, what made hers intriguing was that it used icing sugar rather than caster sugar – something I was very curious to test out.

Due to the icing sugar, the recipe starts almost like the first step towards making American buttercream – the creaming of butter and sugar – before the flour and eggs are added. I also wanted to keep it a true pound cake, so it uses no leavening agent. All the lift comes from this creaming process.

This yields a cake with a denser, tighter crumb structure – perfect if combined with a dollop of whipped cream. If, however, you want a lighter crumb you can consider using my Victoria Sponge Cake recipe as a base and adding the chocolate and strawberry flavours. Whichever you choose, it’ll certainly be delicious and reminiscent of a sweet, colourful ice cream in the height of summer.

If you make this recipe, please share it with me by tagging me on Instagram @adventureswithsugar or on Facebook at Adventures with Sugar.

For the Neapolitan Pound Cake

  • 150g cake flour
  • 150g butter
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder
  • strawberry extract
  • pink food colouring


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease and line a 900g loaf pan with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter for about 3 minutes.
  3. Sift the icing sugar into the butter, and cream the mixture for about 8 minutes until it’s really pale.
  4. While beating the mixture, add the eggs one at a time, adding the next egg only when the previous one has been fully incorporated.
  5. Gently fold in the flour to complete the base batter. Separate it into three equal parts.
  6. Add the vanilla essence to the first batter.
  7. Make a thick paste with the cocoa powder and boiling water, and fold that into the second batter.
  8. Add the pink food colouring and strawberry extract to the third batter.
  9. Spoon the three mixtures into the tin at random.
  10. Bake the cake for roughly 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

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