Neapolitan Cupcake Buttercream Frosting

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
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Yield: Enough frosting for at least 12 cupcakes.

Recipe photo

The best thing about Neapolitan ice cream, or Neapolitan anything for that matter, is that it will please the palates of chocolate, vanilla, and berry-lovers alike. This recipe for tri-flavored, rich, sweet buttercream is no different; you'll find it a fun way to dress up your favorite chocolate, vanilla, and/or strawberry cupcakes.

Neapolitan Cupcake Buttercream Frosting

star rating (2) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Total time:
Yield: Enough frosting for at least 12 cupcakes.
Published: 12/19/2013


Base Frosting

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup meringue powder
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups soft butter

Vanilla flavor

Strawberry flavor

  • 2 tablespoons sugar-free strawberry jam
  • 3 to 5 drops strawberry flavor, optional; for best strawberry flavor
  • 3 to 5 drops red gel paste food color, optional; for deeper color

Chocolate flavor

  • 1/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose baking cocoa, Dutch-process cocoa, or black cocoa
  • 3 to 5 drops brown gel paste food color, optional; for deeper color

Tips from our bakers

  • We love the flavor of butter, but if your cupcakes will be sitting in a hot place, replacing some (or all) of the butter with vegetable shortening will help keep the frosting from softening and drooping.


1) To make the base: Dissolve the sugar and salt in the boiling water, and cool to room temperature.

2) Mix in the meringue powder. Use a mixer to beat on low speed for several minutes, until the powder is dissolved and the mixture is foamy. Increase the speed and beat until soft peaks form.

3) Beat in the confectioners' sugar. Add the soft butter a few tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition.

4) Divide the base into three roughly equal quantities in three separate bowls; if you have a scale, each should weigh about 13 1/2 ounces.

5) Add the separate flavorings to each of the bowls, beating until evenly incorporated.

6) Pipe or spread the three layers of frosting onto 12 cupcakes.

Yield: enough frosting for at least 12 cupcakes.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: ~1/3 cup (106g) Servings Per Batch: 12 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 490 Calories from Fat: 280 Total Fat: 31g Saturated Fat: 20g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 80mg Sodium: 75mg Total Carbohydrate: 55g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 51g Protein: 1g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


  • star rating 06/16/2014
  • Sam from Syracuse
  • I did not make the cake portion of this recipe, I made the frosting. I never found an american style buttercream I liked, until now. This was great. Smooth and creamy with no grittiness from the sugar. My go to now when I dont want/have time to make italian or french buttercream.
  • star rating 03/17/2014
  • Katina Malliarakis from Gainesville, VA
  • Great receipe and easy to make.. It made a lot of icing, pleanty to ice at least 48 cupcakes. All the favors were intense so you could really get the whole "Neopolitan" effect. The only down side was that it was VERY sweet. I'm not sure how to have made it less sweet with out affecting the texture. I also used one stick of butter flavored shortening in place of one of the sticks of butter. The texture was great and very stable to work with.