Monday, July 30, 2018

Neapolitan Cakes

While people may know about the tri-colored Neapolitan ice cream (past post HERE) there once was a notable layer cake.  Neapolitan Cakes were showy multilayer cakes of bright colors, different flavors and icings for each layer. Same name, but an 1846 cake of 12 thin layers with whipped cream up the center was created by Queen Victoria's chef Francatelli, left.

There were 4 general types Neapolitan cakes most in the 1880s: 1) many different colored layers - white, red, brown/ green, white, red/ brown, pink, white, yellow; 2) layers of white and black (fruits, molasses), 3) almond cake in a mould, or 4) a hollowed out cake filled with cream.
The Naples flag of 1806-1808 was white, red and black - like some later Neapolitan cake recipes and the ice cream block - substituting chocolate for black.

A stunning 1883 cake with red, white, and green (the colors of the 1848 unified Italian flag), had each layer covered with a different icing and topped with Tutti Fruiti.  

Neapolitan Cake  -  Red, White, Green   1883
"There are two entirely different cakes bearing this name; the one a variety of the White Mountain Cake, sometimes very elaborate and costly,—the other a plain, rich Almond Cake, given below as No. 2.

The first is made of three or four sheets of cake of different colors,—more properly three, red, white and green, the stripes of the Neapolitan Flag,—in which use one of the layers is made of Silver Cake, White Cake or the like; the next of any other white cake, flavored with almond or pistache, and colored with Spinach Green. The third is flavored with currant or other red jelly, or with rose-water, colored with a few drops of carmine.

If four colors are preferred, Gold Cake may be used for yellow and Chocolate or Caramel for brown. 

Any plain cake, without fruit, that bakes well in thin sheets will answer. Each layer must harmonize in flavor and color.

Coat each differently; one with a mock cream, like that of cream-puffs, another with meringue, either plain, or with almond or cocoanut paste, and a third with chocolate, caramel, rose or pistache, or other to the taste.

Ice the top with Tutti Frutti Icing.

From the various receipts given in this volume there may be made a great variety of combinations for this dainty and elegant “Gateau d’ Elite.”

Tutti Frutti Icing  

1 pound [2 C] Sugar.                                    1 gill [1/2 C] Water.
2 whites of Egg.
1/2 pound shelled Almonds, blanched and chopped.
1/4 pound Sultanas, swelled in hot water.
1/4 pound Citron, finely chopped.

Boil the sugar and water till thick and waxy, as described in No. 340, pour into the whites, beat till cool, then mix the fruit and stir it in.    An excellent icing for Sponge Cake.
Ice-cream and Cakes: A New Collection.  New York: 1883

Neapolitan Cake - Brown, pink, white, yellow  1890

Another recipe with different color layers (brown, pink, white and yellow) also had different toppings for each color - “Use a layer of the brown cake as a foundation chocolate, then the white and yellow layers separated with the white frosting, or put for the pile spread with yellow custard, then the pink coated with together in any order fancied. Very elaborate and nice.”  
 Wilcox, Estelle.  The Original Buckeye Cook Book. Chicago: 1890/1905]

2)  Neapolitan Cake - black and white  (raisins, spices; egg whites)
Black Part. —One cup brown sugar, two eggs, half cup butter, half cup molasses, half cup strong coffee, two and a half cups flour, one of raisins, one of currants, a tea-spoon each of soda, cinnamon and cloves, and half tea-spoon mace.

White Part.—Two cups sugar, half cup butter, one of milk, two and a quarter of flour, one of corn starch, whites of four eggs, small tea-spoon cream tartar; make frosting of whites of two eggs to put between the layers.—Mrs. Calista Hawks Gartner, Qoshen,
Practical Housekeeping.  Minneapolis: 1883

3) Napolitain Cake, a la Chantilly (spelled Neapolitan in index) Francatelli, 1846
FIRST, weigh one pound of flour, eight ounces of sifted sugar, eight ounces of pounded almonds, and eight ounces of butter; place these ingredients on the pastry slab, add five yolks of eggs, the zest of the rind of two oranges extracted by rubbing on a piece of sugar, and a very little salt; work these well together, and when they are thoroughly mixed, knead the paste into the form of a rolling pin, and divide it into twelve equal parts; these must be again kneaded into round balls, rolled out to the diameter of about seven inches, placed upon baking sheets, spread with butter; after having cut them all of the same size with a circular tin cutter, let them be egged and pricked all over with a fork, and baked of a light colour, and when done, placed on a level slab or table, with a baking-sheet upon them, to keep them straight as they become cold. These flats must then be laid one upon another, with a layer of some kind of preserve spread between each: apricot, green-gage, strawberry, orange, or raspberry-jam, may be used for the purpose. Previously to placing the last piece on the top of the cake, it should be first decorated with meringue-paste or sugar icing; the sides must be masked with some kind of bright preserve,—such as green-gage, apricot, red-currant or apple-jelly, and afterwards ornamented with a design similar to that represented in the wood-cut, formed either of almond or gum-paste, (raised from carved boards used for such purposes); or else with piping, as used for wedding cakes. The cake should then be placed on its dish, the centre filled with whipped cream, and some strawberries piled on the top; when these are not in season, preserved cherries, verjuice, or angelica may be substituted.
Francatelli, Charles Elme.   Modern Cook. London: 1846

More on Francatelli HERE

3) Neapolitan Cake   Agnes B. Marshall

Marshall, Agnes B.  Mrs. A.B. Marshall's Larger Cookery Book of Extra Recipes.  London: [1891] 1902    

4)  Neapolitan Cake - almond cake in a mould

3/4 pound shelled Sweet Almonds. 2 ounces shelled Bitter Almonds. Grated rind of 2 Lemons. ½ pound Butter.
1 pound Sugar.
1 ¼ pounds Flour.  
Yolks of 6 Eggs, well beaten.

Blanch the almonds, pound them to a smooth paste, with a little white of egg. Add, as named, the lemon, butter, sugar and flour. Mix thoroughly, beat in the eggs, work till smooth, roll out a quarter inch thick, cut into small cakes, lay on a buttered tin, dusted with flour, and bake. When cold, ice them, and put in the oven for a. moment, to dry and set.
Ice-cream and Cakes: A New Collection.  New York: 1883
©2018 Patricia Bixler Reber
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