Neapolitan Cakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes 6 mini cakes
3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp potato starch
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
Sweetapolita’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large fresh egg whites
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Line a jelly roll pan (rectangular pan about 16”x 11” x 11”) with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow ribbons form.
In a medium sized-bowl, mix the potato starch, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and coconut.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, cut a piece of parchment the same size as the jelly pan, and place on the kitchen counter. Sprinkle sugar all over the parchment paper.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 6 minutes.
Invert cake onto prepared parchment paper.
Slowly, starting at one corner, remove the parchment from the bottom of cake. If the paper sticks to the cake - using a pastry brush, brush the paper with a little cold water, then remove the paper.
Place a clean kitchen towel on top of the cake. Let cool completely.
Prepare Sweetapolita’s Swiss meringue buttercream: This buttercream is just amazing. I found it on a www.sweetapolita.com - a blog featuring gorgeous cakes, with tons of tips. Even for a gluten-free baker!
Add egg whites and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so).
Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).
Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined. You can also add a wide variety of flavorings, extracts, and more, but always add the vanilla first, as it brings out the true taste of the other flavors.
Makes approximately 5 cups of buttercream.
Divide buttercream evenly into 3 bowls. Flavor 1/3 with chocolate, 1/3 with 4 tbsp raspberry jam, and leave final 1/3 vanilla.
For Chocolate Buttercream: melt 4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave oven for 10 seconds, stir, continuing in 10 seconds intervals until melted. Blend with buttercream until smooth. Use good quality chocolate. I like Ghirardelli Chocolate.
For Raspberry Buttercream: add 3-4 tablespoons of raspberry jam to taste. Blend until combined.
You’ll end up with leftover buttercream. Not a problem. Keep buttercream in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, re-whipping in mixer for 5 minutes. Or freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.
Assembly of the Neapolitan Cakes
Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 18 rounds of the cake. The recipe makes 6 mini cakes - 3 rounds for each cake. Lay out 6 cake-circles in front of you on the kitchen counter or on a platter.
Spread the bottom layers with the chocolate buttercream. Add the second cake layers. Spread with vanilla buttercream. Add the top cake layers, and spread with raspberry buttercream. Top with GF chocolate sprinkles, if desired.
Cover the cakes loosely with plastic wrap or a cake dome. The cakes keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove from refrigerator 3 hours before serving, to let the buttercream soften. If eaten the same day, keep the cakes covered at room temperature.
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