Neapolitan Pound Cake

By • March 6, 2018 7 Comments

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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.

Thanks to some eagle-eyed bakers, it’s come to Ten Speed’s attention that there were some discrepancies in the conversion of oven temperatures and measurements from the U.K. edition of the book to the North American one. They've worked to correct the errors, so that everyone who wants to bake from this book (a.k.a. every baker we know) has the right details in hand—and they’ve asked us to help them spread the word to our community. (You can help by sharing the news with your baking friends, too!)

Come April, a new, revised edition of the book will be available to U.S. customers—with every conversion error corrected. Those who bought a copy of the earlier edition can request an updated one by e-mailing [email protected] In the meantime, if you can’t wait to get baking, you can see all the corrections right here.

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


Serves 10

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.

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