My Heart Belongs To U: Neapolitan Milk & Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Neapolitan Cookies via Sweetapolita

I hope you are having a great Saturday! So far, I’ve had a great day. I was able to drive into the city (Toronto) this morning (all alone!) for a much-needed trip to the hair salon, a leisurely shop at the most fabulous gourmet grocer, Pusateri’s, and, naturally, a quick stop to Starbucks for my drive home. I hope you’re also having a fabulous weekend, and that you’re able to fill it full of love-y treats and projects.

If you read my last post, you’ll remember that I just can’t get enough of the Valentine’s Day treats this year (and just love-inspired sweets all-around). I really wanted to get one more love-themed treat in before the weekend was over, so although this will be a short & sweet post, I’m so happy I was able to share these cookies with you. You know what else I can’t get enough of? Neapolitan! Strawberry, Chocolate & Vanilla–is there anything better? It makes me so happy with its fun colours and flavours combined; it really is the perfect trio.

Here’s the photo that was a big part of the inspiration for this Neapolitan Milk & Chocolate Sugar Cookie collection, from the Real Simple website. Don’t you just love these little milk bottles? I also love the little plate the bottles are on, because I have & adore the silk pillow and pencil case from this amazing collection from thomaspaul. Adorable. I also used my own Neapolitan 5-Layer Birthday Cake as inspiration, because I thought it really needed some matching cookies!

Neapolitan Cookies via Sweetapolita

These really are fun to make–they’re kind of like little fondant puzzles, and I would say that in the grand scheme of confection design, they’re pretty quick and easy! As you’ve probably noticed, I love using fondant for cookie decorating. I personally love the sweet vanilla taste of Satin Ice brand fondant, the beautiful texture, and lovely porcelain finish it creates for my cookies. Since I love not just the visual appeal of Neapolitan, but also the flavours, I couldn’t resist using the corresponding flavours for each cookie. I used a dark chocolate fondant for the chocolate bar and chocolate milk bottles; I flavoured the “strawberry” milk bottle/hearts fondant with LorAnn’s strawberry flavour oil (I haven’t done this before, and it is SO yummy!); and, of course, I used the vanilla fondant for the vanilla milk bottles/hearts.

Neapolitan Cookies via Sweetapolita

If you would like to make these cookies, here is the how-to:

Neapolitan Milk & Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Milk Bottles:

1. Cut out/bake/cool milk bottle sugar cookies  (or the cookies of your choice).

2. Dye white fondant strawberry pink (I used AmeriColor “electric pink”) and add a few drops (to taste) of LorAnn Strawberry Oil.

3. Roll pink, white, and chocolate fondant about 1/8″ thick, cut out milk bottle shape using cookie cutter, and cut out heart/hearts using small heart cutter.

4. Spread very thin layer of royal icing on cooled cookie and gently place fondant shape on cookie.

5. You will use the cut out chocolate bar heart to fill in your “puzzle” milk bottle heart (confused yet?).

Chocolate Bars:

1. Cut out/bake/cool rectangular sugar cookies (or the cookies of your choice).

2. Roll chocolate fondant (I use Satin Ice dark chocolate fondant and mix 50/50 with white fondant for milk chocolate colour) 1/8″ thick.

3. Using ruler edge, create a bar grid. Then, using same ruler, create diagonal lines across entire bar.

4. Cut out heart using same small heart cutter from bottles and place inside the missing heart in milk bottles.

5. Roll, cut, and insert a pink heart into the missing heart on chocolate bar.

6. Cut out an “I” and “U” using small letter fondant cutters and fill in with white fondant.

7. Spread a small amount of royal icing on cookie, and gently place the fondant on top.

This may sound confusing, but it’s so simple. Like I mentioned, it’s just like a fondant cookie love puzzle! Although they do make for ideal Valentine’s Cookies, I think they would also be gorgeous for wedding showers, weddings, birthday parties, and pretty much any celebration. Love seems to be the perfect theme for any party. Don’t you think?

I want to wish you all an amazing Valentine’s Day filled with love & cookies!

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts:

Neapolitan 5-Layer Birthday Cake with Strawberry Frosting

5-Layer Neapolitan Cake via Sweetapolita

Well, hello! What an exciting few days it’s been. Lots going on, and as usual, no two days have been the same. As I mentioned in my last post, I was thrilled when Ree (The Pioneer Woman) chose two of my cake photos for her Food Photo Assignment–another one of her wildly popular photo contests. It meant so much to me, considering I’m pretty new at all of this, and there were, as usual, so many amazing entries.  My blue birthday cake photo ended up winning as a finalist in the competition, so I could not be more pleased!

Coincidentally, most of what I learned about photography was from Ree. I find her photography tutorials to be particularly helpful, down-to-earth, and as always with The Pioneer Woman, charming. If you’d like to take a peek at my blue birthday cake photo and more about the results of the Pioneer Woman Photography Food Photo Assignment, you can view it here, along with the gorgeous winning photo by Jennifer Glass.

Speaking of birthday cakes, I was in a layer-cake kind of mood this week, both making and eating, of course. One of my favourite layer cakes is Neapolitan Cake: layers of rich chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla cake, layered with homemade strawberry jam. The flavours really work so well together, and I personally find it really unique and quite appealing, if not striking, once sliced. What’s interesting, is that most people know of it, and I think really enjoy it, yet I don’t see it often. I made Neapolitan cake for the first time last year for Neve’s birthday.

I had the idea to make a Neapolitan Cake based on the colour-scheme of her party, but wasn’t sure what would work for filling. I noticed Martha Stewart had done a 3-layer version using  jam as filling, which I thought was perfect. The guests seemed to really enjoy it, and I had a lot of fun making it. I love when a cake looks pretty traditional and simple on the outside, but has an unexpected appearance on the inside. No matter how many cakes I make, I’m always secretly (or not so secretly) excited and eager to slice it and see what it looks like inside–particularly when it’s a multi-flavoured cake, like this one. Such anticipation! It seems people can’t resist peeking over my shoulder with curiosity when I first slice into a cake, and this one usually earns an “oh, wow!”

 Neapolitan Layer Cake via Sweetapolita

Kind of crazy looking inside, right? I love the contrast, but most importantly (always), it is really, truly a delight to eat. I find you don’t really taste the jam filling, but it adds a great strawberry flavour and makes the cake even more moist and yummy. It tastes so very Neapolitan and, to me, very reminiscent of my childhood. I feel as though even the cake itself with its colour-combination has a retro feel to it, which I really like.

Neapolitan Layer Cake via Sweetapolita

This time, I went for a sugary pink Strawberry Frosting, for more of a fun birthday cake taste, and to carry through the strawberry flavour a bit more.  The possibilities are endless, though, as you could opt for chocolate frosting, ganache filling, Swiss meringue buttercream and fondant, and more. Visually, I think I prefer it with a nice chocolate fondant over buttercream, but really, pink is never a bad idea (or rarely, at least!), and this Strawberry Frosting is so delicious.

I used simple homemade strawberry jam between the layers, which I prefer both for taste and look with the Neapolitan Cake. It’s also very quick and easy to fill that way. If you filled it with frosting, I feel it might be a bit much, since there’s already so much going on, but that is definitely personal preference, and the cake flavours lend to vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry fillings and frostings.

If you’d like to recreate this one, here’s what I did:

1. Baked my favourite Strawberry, Vanilla, and Chocolate cake recipes for 9″ round pans. You can layer any way you like, but I chose to torte my chocolate and strawberry 9″ round cakes into 2 each, and just used one vanilla. Each of the 5 layers are about 1″ high.

2. Using a thin 9″ round cake board, I placed the first layer down, filled with jam,  and repeated until the cake was stacked. I then covered the whole cake in airtight container and placed in fridge for about an hour.

3. I made a batch of Strawberry Party Frosting, tinted it Strawberry pink, using a few drops of AmeriColor Electric Pink (I tend to use this brighter version of pink gel often, because with buttercream being a yellow tinge, it seems to cut right through the yellow, making the result a nice bright pink.). Once the cake was chilled, I frosted it, added my favourite white sprinkles, and then piped a classic birthday cake star tip border and shell border on the bottom, using a Wilton Open Star Tip #22 for both.

You can use your favourite Chocolate and Vanilla recipe, or you can use my favourites (links attached). I’ve included a recipe for Strawberry Cake, since it’s seemingly hard to find a good one. I really like this one that I found online last year and modified slightly. Keep in mind that with all of the white sugar in this Strawberry Cake recipe, the crust of the cake gets a bit more golden brown than the other flavours. This recipe makes two 9″ rounds, but I made cupcakes with the extra batter. You could divide the recipe in half.

Strawberry Cake          {click here for printable recipe}

Ingredients:

2 cups white sugar

1 (3oz) package of strawberry gelatin (JELL-O)

1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs, room temperature

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries (or you could use unsweetened and add a tablespoon of white sugar)

Method:

1. Prepare two 9″ round pans (butter and flour, or parchment lined).

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix vanilla and milk together. Combine and whisk dry ingredients, adding to creamed mixture and alternating with milk/vanilla until just combined. Blend in strawberry puree. Pour into prepared pans.

3. Bake in 350 F for about 25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes, then inverting onto wire rack to finish cooling.

Recipe for Strawberry Cake adapted from allrecipes.com, submitted by GothicGirl.

Strawberry Party Frosting         {click here for printable recipe}

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 cups icing sugar (confectioners’)
120 ml whipping cream
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
pinch of salt
few drops of LorAnn Strawberry Flavor Oil (to taste)
few drops of AmeriColor Electric Pink Gel Color
Method: 
Beat the butter and icing sugar in an electric mixer on low with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, water, whipping cream, salt, and strawberry oil, and whip on high speed until fluffy and smooth–about 4 minutes. Add colour and mix until well blended. If consistency is too thick, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time, then whip again for 30 seconds or so.
Makes enough to fill and frost a 3-layer (or 5-6 thin layers) 9″ cake.
For the Neapolitan Cake, you will also need chocolate and vanilla layers:

One 9″ round (sliced in 2 horizontally) Rich Chocolate Cake from Rich & Ruffled Chocolate Celebration Cake post, or click here for printable recipe.

One 9″ round Snow White Vanilla Cake (sliced in 2 horizontally) from Old-Fashioned Party Cake post, or click here for printable recipe.

I hope you love this cake as much as we do! Seeing as Grant rarely eats cake, and he’s had 3 pieces so far, I think it’s a hit!

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts:

Girly Woodland Dessert Table

After falling in love with the idea of a pink woodland theme for my youngest cakelet’s birthday, I was inspired to create an entire dessert table to display some neapolitan woodland treats.  Since I spend days (sometimes weeks) preparing cakes and confections for a party, why not put as much love and care into displaying them? The inspiration initially came from her favourite blabla doll, Prudence the Owl, and her organic woodland embroidered blanket in her crib. I knew, though, that I had to infuse the brown woodsy feel with some pink “girliness.” I incorporated white to freshen it up and give it a bit of a contemporary feel. The sweets on the table that I created, included a 3-tier woodland cake, neapolitan mini cakes, chocolate fondant “N” monogrammed cupcakes (for birthday girl, Neve), pink woodland sugar cookies, vanilla cupcakes with pink buttercream swirls and fondant flowers, and raspberry cheesecake brownies (from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook). My gorgeous sister-in-law (and I’m not just being cute–she really is gorgeous) Mary, made the chocolate birds’ nests with eggs (sadly not shown in the above photo–darn lens!), and I bought cookies n’ cream bark and dark chocolate bark to complete the woodsy feel.

Here are the little chocolate fondant-covered cupcakes. Loved making these little cuties. Inside they are chocolate cake covered in Swiss Meringue Buttercream. One of my favourite details on the table was the lovely hello hanna recyled paper individual cupcake stands, shown in this photo. How important does this cupcake feel, perched up there on such a pretty little (and environmentally responsible) pedestal?

Lastly, here’s an adorable (and teeny) neapolitan banner I found, at the last minute, on Esty from Big Day Party Shop. Life is in the details!  All in all, I loved every minute of creating this party for my little Neve’s birthday. Now, there are only 198 days until my preschooler, Reese, turns 4–better get planning!

Thanks for stopping by! xo