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Jan 14, 2018

Neapolitan Cheesecake

This Neapolitan Cheesecake starts with a chocolate brownie crust, a layer of vanilla cheesecake, and a layer of strawberry whipped cream... and it's topped off with a glorious coating of chocolate ganache.

Neapolitan Cheesecake #cheesecake #neapolitan

This Neapolitan cheesecake reminds me of my childhood. The only dessert my dad ever really wanted was ice cream, and his two favorite flavors were rocky road and neapolitan, which we all called "pink, brown, and white." Neapolitan ice cream had a permanent space in our family freezer.

Most of us kids (there were four of us) would eat the the chocolate and vanilla ice cream, and leave the strawberry ice cream. Somehow, we got away with it.

Neapolitan Cheesecake #cheesecake #neapolitan

Making this Neapolitan cheesecake reminded me of these Neapolitan striped cookies that I posted quite a while ago, mostly because it is so hard to make striped food look pretty in photos!

Regardless, this cheesecake is pretty amazing. The strawberry layer, a mixture of whipped cream and strawberries, is spectacular. I'm pretty sure that no one would leave it behind like we did with the ice cream.

This Neapolitan cheesecake recipe comes from the amazing new book, Secret-Layer Cakes: Hidden Fillings and Flavors that Elevate Your Desserts. Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book.

This book was written by Dini Kodippili, the founder of the blog, The Flavor Bender. The book is filled with 60 gorgeous and creative cake and dessert recipes. There are so many recipes in this book I want to try. You definitely need to flip through the preview of the table of contents. For example, the Buckeye Brownie Cheesecake on the cover takes chocolate and peanut butter to a whole new level.

Neapolitan Cheesecake #cheesecake #neapolitan

This cake begins with a brownie layer on the bottom. Once you have baked the brownie layer, you bake the cheesecake layer with the pan in a water bath (I bought an inexpensive round 12 inch Wilton cake pan for the water bath, but a roasting pan or a sheet cake pan will work too).

Once you have baked the cheesecake layer, you refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours, and then top with a whipped cream and strawberry layer. Once that layer has set, you spread a layer of chocolate ganache on top. Yes, this cake requires some planning, but it's totally worth it.

Notes on the recipe:
  1. While I used a cheesecake pan to make this cake, I recommend using a springform pan. My cheesecake pan (a pan with a removable bottom but no opening on the side), which I normally adore for making cheesecakes, kind of smeared the different layers down the sides of the cake when I raised the bottom out of the pan (see the first photo. I'm being brave and posting it anyway). Delicious, but not as pretty as I wanted it. 
  2. I also recommend freezing the finished cake for an hour or two before spreading on the ganache and slicing. The strawberry layer is considerably lighter than the ganache, and will get smashed otherwise. Slice the cake about 15 to 30 minutes before serving. 
  3. Individually wrap leftover slices of the leftover cheesecake in plastic wrap and freeze. This is so much easier than trying to slice a frozen cheesecake. 
This Neapolitan cheesecake was so delicious. I'm so looking forward to trying the rest of the incredible cake recipes from the book. 

Yield: One 8-inch Cheesecake

Neapolitan Cheesecake Recipe


Brownie Ingredients
  • 115 grams (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate
  • 115 grams (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 140 grams (5 ounces) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 94 grams (3.3 ounces) all purpose flour
Vanilla Cheesecake Ingredients
  • 225 grams (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 225 grams (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) cornstarch
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 large eggs
Strawberry Topping
  • 6 tablespoons hot water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 455 grams (1 pound) strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 150 grams (5.3 ounces) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (6 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
Chocolate Ganache
  • 170 grams (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (118 grams) whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt


Chocolate Brownie
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch by 3 inch springform pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour. 
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Let cool. 
  3. When the chocolate has cooled, whisk in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking each in thoroughly. Fold in the flour until just combined. 
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. 
Vanilla Cheesecake
  1. In a bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, mascarpone, cornstarch, and sugar until smooth. Add the cream, salt, and vanilla bean paste. Mix on medium until the ingredients are well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Do not over beat. 
  2. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooled brownie layer and tightly wrap the pan with two pieces of heavy duty foil. Place the pan in a larger pan or roasting pan, and fill the larger pan with hot water about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Place the whole thing in the oven and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the cheesecake is just slightly jiggly in the middle. 
  3. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and the water bath, and let cool completely, 3 to 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. 
Strawberry Topping
  1. Place 3 tablespoons of the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes to bloom. 
  2. Put the strawberries and sugar in a saucepan hand heat over medium, stirring often. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes, until syrupy. Mix the cornstarch in three tablespoons of warm water, and add it to the strawberry mixture. Cook a few minutes more, until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Pour the mixture into a bowl to cool. 
  3. In a chilled bowl, whip the whipping cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled strawberry mixture. 
  4. Spread the strawberry cream mixture over the cheesecake, and return the cake to the refrigerator until set. 
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Finely chop the chocolate chips and place in a heatproof bowl. Add the cream and microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth. Let cool until it is spreadable. 
  2. When the cake has set (see note above about freezing the cake), spread the ganache over the top. 

Neapolitan Cheesecake #cheesecake #neapolitan

Would you like to comment?

  1. Replies
    1. Awww. Thank you! I was nervous about posting it, flaws and all.

  2. Karen, that looks spectacular - and i had to laugh, I was exactly the same, never touched the strawberry part...

    ok, I think I have something for you - it seems to me that even the springform pan might compromise the layers since they are so delicate

    take a look at this product

    I think you could add that to the inside of your pan - the one you used would be fine - and they pull it out once it is de-panned.

    Not that I would be too concerned by a little smearing on the sides - I think it looks amazing and I would love a piece right now!

    1. That is a great idea. I also could have lined the pan with parchment! Doh!!!!

      P.S. There's a piece waiting for you in the freezer!

  3. I love the idea of a neapolitan cheesecake!


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