Nana Ling called this a Rainbow Cake, but it definitely looks more like what we’d call a Neapolitan Cake these days. So, to avoid confusion, let’s stick with calling it Neapolitan Cake.

This Neapolitan Cake is the first recipe on this blog and was baked late on a Friday afternoon, with Miss Y and Miss Z assisting.

After one cracked egg on the floor and plenty of fighting about who gets to lick which beater, we did eventually get to enjoy a slice of this lovely Neapolitan Cake in our backyard courtyard.

 

Making Neapolitan Cake

The recipe is dated 26 January 1940 and, interestingly, identifies “Yo Yo” as the source of the recipe.

Was a toy yo-yo marketer somehow responsible for distributing rainbow cake recipes? Did Nana Ling have a friend nicknamed Yo Yo who gave her the recipe? I was puzzled about this one until my Aunty Pam told me Nana Ling was part of a member of a “radio club” and possibly gathered recipes from that source. Nana Ling’s radio name was “Sun Bonnet Blue” which makes “Yo Yo” sound like another radio name.

Any other theories? I’d love to hear them, or anything you know about radio clubs, in the comments below.

And eating it too!

It may take a little extra effort to make this three-layered cake, but that just makes the next stage even more enjoyable. Eating it!

Nana Ling’s Neapolitan Cake recipe

Keep scrolling for the tested and tweaked version.

Neapolitan Cake
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Neapolitan Cake

A lovely old-fashioned three-layered cake from the pages of Nana Ling's cookbook.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Servings 12 people

Ingredients

Cake

  • 225 grams butter
  • 225 grams sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 90 ml milk
  • 340 grams flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 teaspoon cocoa
  • 3 drops red food colouring

Buttercream icing

  • 175 grams butter
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

Cake

  • Beat butter and sugar till white.
  • Beat eggs, then beat with butter and sugar mixture.
  • Add milk and vanilla essence.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder and mix in quickly and lightly, not beating.
  • Divide mixture into three parts. Leave one plain. Mix cocoa into one. And colour the other part.
  • Cook each part separately in a hot oven for 12 minutes. I've used a ring tin. If using a round tin, you may need to cook a little longer.
  • When cold, join parts with jam, ice and decorate.

Buttercream Icing

  • Beat butter until white, then gradually add icing sugar and milk.
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