By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: June 27, 2019 | 10:18 a.m.
With Easter coming up this week-end and Mother’s Day close behind, I thought today I’d share a favorite, deceptively simple-to-make beauty! Since those are two holidays when we like to break out something special, this bodacious (and beautiful!) Neapolitan Cheesecake Cake is perfect!
But this one has a secret. Originally everything in my Neapolitan Cheesecake Cake was made from scratch. Well, based on the feedback I get from this column, I’m assuming that not many people would be interested in actually preparing my original four-recipe, stay-in-the-kitchen-for-two-days version with the made-from-scratch fresh strawberry and the double chocolate layers. Oh, you’ll still make your cheesecake layer from scratch. But this is a simplified recipe, and because it end up covered with frosting – and more cake - the fear of its cracking while baking is eliminated. I mean, underneath all that goodness, who cares (or will even know?) if it cracked! The secret is that, for the other two layers, you’ll use good boxed mixes. Trust me. A very picky friend tried it and never knew that it was from a mix!
There are a few simple tricks to making this cake – most any cake, for that matter - fool-proof. First, bake your cheesecake layer at least a day in advance and freeze it. Actually, I like to bake and freeze all three layers. In the first place, it makes them much easier to handle and even trim if your cake pans aren’t quite the same size. And as a bonus, if you take those frozen layers and assemble and frost your cake at the last minute, it thaws from the inside and stays cold while you travel to Grandma’s. I mean, let’s face it – if you’re going to make something this spectacular, you’re going to want to share!
Do not let the cheesecake layer intimidate you. Just follow the directions and it’s, well, a piece of cake! And it’s amazing how rich and creamy that cheesecake layer in the middle makes the finished dessert. If you don’t have a springform pan, simply flip a regular cake pan over, cover the bottom thoroughly (and tightly) with aluminum foil with at an extra inch sticking up around the top, and then flip your pan back over and put your formed foil inside. (You’ll still want to cover the bottom of that with your parchment paper circle.)
And, like I said before, if all three pans aren’t quite the same size, freeze all three layers and then just carve off the edges as needed with a large, serrated knife. And since cake mixes make two layers, just freeze the extra layers for the next time you’re inspired to make one of these - or cut each in half to make one chocolate and one strawberry half-cake.
For assembly, place the chocolate layer on your favorite cake plate, top that with the cheesecake layer, finish with the strawberry layer and frost – lightly - so that all the flavors stand out. No, I don’t frost between these layers because I like the way it looks, plus it’s less likely to slide if your layers are rounded a bit and you don’t want to trim off the top. But if you love extra icing, go for it!
And for an extra special treat for Easter guests – or Mother’s Day - Just dip a few fresh strawberries in some nice chocolate for garnish. I surrounded one with chocolate covered strawberries and placed the crystal dish on a pretty silver dish and it made a truly gorgeous – and scrumptious - dessert that’s fit for the Queen of your life! And, yes, you can make this with all “from scratch” layers” – and I’ll even see if I can dig out my original recipe if you’ll send me an email requesting it. But if you decide to take the shortcut, I promise not to tell if you don’t! Enjoy!
Neapolitan Cheesecake Cake (Simplified)
- 2 package (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 boxed mix for chocolate cake (PLUS ingredients according to package)
- 1 boxed mix for strawberry cake (PLUS ingredients according to package)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp chocolate syrup
- 3 Tbsp milk
Place a large, flat pan filled with two inches of water on lowest oven rack and preheat oven at 325. Line bottom of 9” springform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Beat together cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat vanilla, salt, and sour cream. Pour mixture into prepared pan and place in preheated oven on rack above the pan of water.
Bake until barely beginning to brown – about 50 minutes – and then turn off oven, leaving cake inside. Do not open door for an hour. Remove from oven, cool completely, then run a dull knife around the inside edges of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze.
Prepare chocolate and strawberry layers in 9” pans according to package directions. (You will only use one layer of each for this dessert.)
FROSTING: Beat butter well – about 4 minutes. Beat 5 more minutes after adding cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk, and chocolate syrup, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
TO ASSEMBLE: Place chocolate layer on platter first. Turn cheesecake upside down and place over chocolate layer. Top with strawberry layer. Frost with chocolate icing. NOTE: You may use another chocolate frosting recipe if you have a favorite. Garnish with chocolate dipped strawberries.
Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing