Neopolitan Cupcakes and a Princess Themed Party

My sweet and feisty little niece, Sophia, is celebrating a birthday this week, but we had her party yesterday to ensure that everyone in the Budenkamp clan could make it. It was a bright and sunny day, almost 80 degrees, and Soph was rockin’ a new sundress. Plastic “bling” bracelets were passed around, and tiny tiaras were also adorned. My parent’s house became overrun with pink balloons and paper princesses for an afternoon as we munched on brisket sandwiches, salty chips, and homemade strawberry lemonade.

The decorations were fabulous and the food was delicious, but I really want to share the cupcake recipe. I’m really proud of them!20140412_130926

This is the final product: a sinfully sweet mixture of strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla cake with strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla frosting. (Yes, this is real life.) And of course, no Princess Party cupcake is complete without a princess on top. Isn’t she adorable?

Anyways, making Neapolitan cupcakes was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. Don’t be intimidated by the multiple flavors- trust me, they’re doable! I learned a few tricks for the next time I try them, but overall they turned out really well!  Here’s what you need:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3-4 large strawberries

And here’s how to throw it all together:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare your cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • Make the boxed mix according to instructions on the package.
  • Divide the white mix as evenly as possible into thirds: one bowl will become chocolate, one bowl will become strawberry, and whatever is remaining will just stay white.
  • To make the strawberry batter, cut the leaves off of the berries, then cut the berries into smaller chunks.

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  • Puree the chunks in a food processor (or just mash them up really well with a fork).

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  • And then mix well with your designated “strawberry” batter. The mixture shouldn’t be too runny. If it is, add a pinch of flour and mix well until it’s at a good consistency (similar to the white batter). You can add a little red food coloring if you’d like, but be conservative with it!

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  • To make the chocolate batter, add the cocoa powder to your designated “chocolate” bowl. Mix well. Mine was really thick; if you want to thin it out, add a splash of milk and then mix, repeating until you’re happy with it.
A batter trifecta.
A batter trifecta.
  • Now you can add batter to the cupcake liners. Since my chocolate batter was the heaviest, I put that on the bottom. I just used a spoon and put a dollop in every liner before moving on to the next flavor.

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  • I did the white batter next.

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  • And then the strawberry batter on top.

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  • Once all of your liners are filled, you can swirl the batter up with a toothpick for a tie-dye look, or leave it alone and just have layered stripes. Totally up to you!
  • Bake the cupcakes according to directions on the box.

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  • Ta-da! Every cupcake looks slightly different, but very cool. The morning of the party, we whipped up a buttercream frosting. Much like the cupcakes, to make Neapolitan frosting you just divide the frosting into three bowls. Melt about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips for the chocolate frosting, a puree 3 or 4 large strawberries for the strawberry frosting.

We attempted to do a triple-swirled frosting. Like, all three flavors piped on at once. Sounds awesome, right?

Wrong.

Don’t try it. I promise you, unless you are THE Cake Boss, it is impossible and frustrating and extremely messy to attempt to swirl more than one bag of frosting on at once. Save yourself the trouble, and just pipe on the frosting one layer at a time.

A little blurry from my phone camera, but you get the idea. Two doses of three flavors. Heavenly.
A little blurry from my phone camera, but you get the idea. Two doses of three flavors. Heavenly.

We topped the cupcakes with a shower of tri-colored sprinkles and a paper princess.

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Even more fabulous than the cupcakes themselves is the Princess Castle Cupcake display that my sister ordered from Zulilly.com!

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The birthday girl loved her sweet treats! What’s your favorite kind of cupcake?

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