Neapolitan Pound Cake

March  6, 2018
3 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves 10
Author Notes

We’ve all heard of Neapolitan ice cream (pink, white and brown). But a Neapolitan pound cake? Now that’s something new! We found the dreamy pink, white, and brown swirled dessert in Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi, Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s sacrament to all things sugar. While it looks impressive, it's actually quite simple to make.

This updated recipe has been reprinted, with permission, from Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press 2017). —Food52

What You'll Need
  • For the cake:
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature, plus 1 1/2 tbsp for the cocoa
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups plus one tbsp unsalted butter (soft but not oily) diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • A drop or two of pink (or any other color) food coloring, preferably gel or paste
  • For the icing:
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk, warmed
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp confectioners' sugar, dusted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A drop or two of pink (or any other color) food coloring, preferably gel or paste
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. Place the milk, eggs, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and lightly whisk, just to combine.
  3. Sift both flours and the salt directly into the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place, then add the sugar and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and half the egg mixture and continue to mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then gradually add the remaining egg mixture, in two batches, making sure the first batch is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then divide the batter equally among three small bowls.
  4. Warm 1 1/2 tbsp milk in a small saucepan, then place in a small bowl with the cocoa powder. Stir to form a smooth and very thick paste, then combine this into one of the bowls of cake batter and set aside. Tint the second bowl of cake batter with the pink food coloring, adding a drop of two at a time until it is the color you want. Leave the third and remaining bowl of batter as it is.
  5. Spoon the three mixtures into the prepared pan in six alternate blocks, two of each color, then use a skewer or small knife to make a zigzag-shaped swirl once through the mix to create a marble effect. Don't be tempted to overdo the swirling as you will lose the effect of the marbling.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes (the cake will start to shrink from the sides only after it's removed from the oven.) The cake tends to dome in the oven, so if you want a perfectly flat base (the top will become the bottom once it's inverted), just slice off the top to flatten it out before turning the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Make the icing: Combine the warm milk and confectioners' sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add the butter and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth, then add the pink food coloring (depending on how bright you want to go) and mix well.
  8. Spoon the icing all over the cooled cake, so that it drips unevenly down the sides. Allow the icing to set for a few minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Guilherme Mello
    Guilherme Mello
  • Kim
  • Joanna Sciarrino
    Joanna Sciarrino
  • SPark0101

9 Reviews

Guilherme M. April 11, 2021
No. It’s a no! Food coloring?
Do you happen to know something called Strawberry puré?
SPark0101 March 10, 2019
Delicious cake that wasn't too sweet. I will add a bit more cocoa or chocolate next time I make it for a more chocolatey flavor, but we all enjoyed it as is. I also had a lot of doming, so will bake at a lower temperature for a longer time next time. The icing was super simple and worked really well. And the pink cake and icing were hits with the kids.
Kim March 9, 2018
Dot-in the photo at the beginning of the recipe there are two slices cut from the cake. Marbling is visible.
Dot W. March 9, 2018
Kim thanks...I did see that photo but I thought it looked as if the colours were layered rather than marbled, not that that wouldn't work for me either!
Dot W. March 9, 2018
Is there a picture of the inside of the cake to see the marbling since you have to edit anyway!!
Penny H. March 8, 2018
Edit, edit, edit. There are several obvious typos. Yes, I can read it but it will probably confuse the troops.
Audrey March 8, 2018
Now that I've stopped giggling, I second Jordan's comment. I don't know how they do it in the rest of the world, but here we add sugar.
Jordan March 8, 2018
You might want to correct the instructions in step three from 'ass the sugar' to 'add the sugar'.
Joanna S. March 9, 2018
Thank you! :D