The popular ice cream flavor trio turned into a cupcake! Soft and airy, chocolate and vanilla cake layers topped with a fluffy strawberry frosting! So easy to make, with just one cake batter and you’ll only need 12 total ingredients for the cupcake and the frosting! These healthier Neapolitan Cupcakes are absolutely delicious and you’ll never guess they are grain free, gluten free, and dairy free!
What Do These Healthy Neapolitan Cupcakes Taste Like?
These Neapolitan Cupcakes are everything you want and hope for in a cupcake. The chocolate and vanilla cake layers are light and fluffy, but chewy and just perfectly dense. The strawberry frosting is made from whipped coconut cream and freeze-dried strawberries so there are no artificial flavors or colors used to get that perfectly pink and strawberry packed topping. It’s the perfect combination of the classic flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry in a fun cupcake bite!
Here’s why you’ll LOVE these Neapolitan Cupcakes!
- Have the perfect cake-y texture.
- Fluffy frosting with big strawberry flavor.
- Super easy to make! You only need one cake batter for both chocolate and vanilla layers.
- Strawberry is naturally flavored and colored so cupcakes are dye free and without artificial flavors.
- Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry – the classic flavor trifecta in cupcake form!
What Ingredients Are Used to Make These Paleo Neapolitan Cupcakes?
These Neapolitan Cupcakes are made healthier as they contain no flours or oils, are dye free, and use no artificial flavors. They are paleo-friendly meaning they are gluten free, grain free, and dairy free. I use cane sugar in the cake batter to keep the vanilla layer white, but feel free to sub for coconut sugar if you prefer!
Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll need and some possible variations:
- Almond Flour – The perfect flour for paleo-friendly cakes making a delicious dense and chewy crumb. I use and love Bob’s Super Fine Almond Flour.
- Tapioca Flour – Thickens the batter without making it too floury or dense.
- Cane or Coconut Sugar – I prefer cane sugar for vanilla cake recipes, it does not overpower the vanilla flavor. Feel free to use coconut sugar if you prefer! Your vanilla layers will just be slightly darker.
- Vanilla Extract – For the perfect vanilla flavor.
- Coconut Oil – Adds just the right amount of moisture. Use refined coconut oil for a no-coconut flavor.
- Egg – Makes the cakes perfectly fluffy.
- Baking Powder – Helps the cupcakes rise.
- Nut/Seed Milk – For that perfectly moist cake. No one likes a dry cake.
- Salt – Adds balance.
- Cocoa Powder – For the chocolate cake. Use unsweetened baking cocoa powder, not cocoa mix or cacao powder.
- Coconut Cream – For the dairy free frosting we just whip chilled coconut cream until it’s fluffy!
- Freeze Dried Strawberries – To give the frosting the perfect pink color and strawberry flavor instead of bottled flavorings or food dyes. Plus it adds the perfect amount of sweetness!
How Do You Make Neapolitan Cupcakes?
These healthy Neapolitan Cupcakes are really so easy to make! You only need to make one cake batter for the chocolate and vanilla layers. The frosting is made with just 2 ingredients and whips up in a flash. While these are a breeze to make, I recommend using room temperature ingredients for the batter and the coconut cream should be chilled in the fridge for at least 8 hours. So be sure to plan ahead! Check out the step-by-step photos below.
Here’s how to make Neapolitan Cupcakes:
- Make the cupcake batter. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat wet ingredients together, add dry ingredients, then stir in the nut/seed milk and that’s it!
- Divide batter into two bowls. I’m not great at eyeballing things. So, since I always have my kitchen scale handy, I like the measure the batter in one bowl, then pour half into a second bowl. That way I know it’s exactly half.
- Make the vanilla & chocolate batters. Tapioca flour goes into the vanilla and cocoa powder into the chocolate.
- Layer the chocolate then vanilla batters in the baking cups (or greased cupcake tin). I like these eco-friendly baking cups.
- Make the frosting. Just whip the chilled coconut cream with the freeze dried strawberries until fluffy.
- Frost the cupcakes!
Frosting Tips: I recommend frosting the cupcakes just before you’re ready to eat them. Keep the frosting in the fridge until you’re ready to frost. Just re-whip the frosting a bit to fluff it back up. Also, if you’re planning on piping the frosting, chill the frosting to firm it up if it’s become too soft during the initial whipping.
Storage Tips: Cupcakes with keep at room temperature, covered, for a day or so. Then keep in freezer for longer storage. Frosting will keep in the fridge, stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
These Neapolitan Cupcakes combine all three classic flavors in one fun and delicious cupcake! Perfectly light and airy chocolate and vanilla cake layers topped with a fluffy, strawberry packed coconut cream frosting. So easy to make and you’ll never believe they are grain free, gluten free, and dairy free! And just like the classic ice cream combo, there’s something for everyone to love in these cute tri-colored cupcakes.
paleo friendly (gluten/grain/dairy free)
Check Out These Cake Recipes!
- Easy Funfetti Cake! (grain & dairy free)
- Cake Batter Balls (no bake, vegan, paleo)
- Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes (paleo)
Recipe Inspired By: I am not sure who originally took the classic neapolitan ice cream and turned it into a baked good. If I had to venture a guess, it’s from this book 100 Cookies. I was inspired by the countless cupcakes and cookies I’ve seen on Instagram lately. The cupcake recipe below is adapted from my Funfetti Cake recipe and the frosting is adapted from my Strawberry Frosted Brownie recipe.
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The popular ice cream flavor trio turned into a cupcake! Soft and airy, chocolate and vanilla cake layers topped with a fluffy strawberry frosting! So easy to make, with just one cake batter and you'll only need 12 ingredients for the cupcake and the frosting!
PLAN AHEAD: Coconut milk should be chilled for at least 8 hours and it's best to use room temperature ingredients for the cupcake batter.
paleo-friendly (grain/gluten/dairy free)
- 1 cup (150 grams) almond flour packed
- 1/4 cup (30) tapioca flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (160 grams) cane sugar sub coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp (28 grams) coconut oil melted and cooled
- 2 eggs ideally room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp nut/seed milk
- 2 tbsp (15 grams) tapioca flour
- 1 tbsp (8 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup coconut cream (solid part from the top of can of coconut milk) chilled at least 8 hours
- 1/2 cup (36 grams) powdered freeze dried strawberries
- 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar optional, see notes
Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare cupcake tin by lining 7-8 cavities* with baking cups or greasing with additional oil.
Make the cupcake batter. In a large bowl whisk the almond flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, baking powder, and salt together until well mixed and there are no lumps.
In a large bowl, if mixing by hand, or in the bowl of a stand mixer beat together the cane sugar, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed until light and frothy.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until ingredients are just blended into the batter. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again briefly, then add 1 tbsp of milk. Stir again until just fully incorporated.
Divide batter equally into two bowls.
Make the vanilla batter. Add 2 tbsp tapioca flour to one bowl and stir until fully combined. Make the chocolate batter. Stir 1 tbsp of cocoa powder into the other bowl.
Create the layers. First divide the chocolate batter equally into the cavities, then top with vanilla batter.
Bake for 30-31 minutes. The cupcakes are done when the tops have puffed and spring back when touched. Remove from oven, let cool in cupcake tin for a few minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Prepare the frosting. Blend the freeze dried strawberries in a DRY blender. Scoop out 1 cup of coconut cream (firm upper layer) from the can of coconut milk. Whip coconut cream and powdered strawberries on high speed for 3-4 minutes or until thick and fluffy with no lumps remaining.
Chill strawberry topping in the fridge until ready to use.
Frost the cupcakes (make sure they are cool) and enjoy!
Serving Size: I like my cupcakes/muffins overfilled (like in the photos) and consistently made 7 cupcakes with this recipe but it can easily make 8.
Frosting Tips: I recommend frosting the cupcakes before you're ready to eat them. Keep the frosting in the fridge until you're ready to frost. Just re-whip the frosting a bit to fluff it back up. Also, if you're planning on piping the frosting, chill the frosting to firm it up if it's become too soft during the initial whipping.
Storage Tips: Cupcakes with keep at room temperature, covered, for a day or so. Then move to freezer for longer storage. Frosting will keep in the fridge, stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days, re-whip when ready to use.
Strawberry Frosting – I find the strawberry frosting to be just sweet enough to complement the cupcake, feel free to add 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar if you prefer.
Cocoa Powder – Use a good quality, dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder. Be sure to use cocoa powder, not cacao powder or cocoa mix. My favorites are Guittard Cocoa Rouge (what I used), Equal Exchange Baking Cocoa, or the Whole Foods 365 brand.
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