Inside-Out Neapolitan Cupcakes

Yield: ~ 18 standard cupcakes

Devil's Food Cupcakes


6 tablespoons (3 oz or 85 g) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup (200 g) packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

3/4 cups +  2 teaspoons (4 oz, 115 g) all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons (90 mL, 1.3 oz, 38 g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I can't live without Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder - Extra Dark)

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL, 3 g) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL, 3 g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL, 4 g) kosher salt

3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces,  190 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (1 liquid ounces, 30 mL)


1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter and flour standard cupcake pans as you would for muffins, tapping out the excess.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, 3 to 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt to the dry ingredients after sifting, and whisk dry ingredients.

4. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, or finish by hand gently. 

5. Fold mayonnaise into batter with a whisk, until just blended.

6. Fill cupcake pans 2/3 each (I like to use a 1.5 oz cookie scoop) and bake for approximately 17 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into centre of cupcakes comes out just barely clean (a few crumbs). This works well for moist chocolate cake (not vanilla). Let cupcakes cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then gently remove from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Southern Devil's Cake Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking, by David Guas.

Sweetapolita's Swiss Meringue Buttercream

*Just a note that I like to play around with ratios of SMB, but this is what I currently use for all of my projects:


5 large fresh egg whites (30g each--total 150g)

1 1/4 cup (250 g) superfine granulated sugar

3/4 pound (3 sticks, 340 g) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt


Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar,  and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).  Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more, but always add the vanilla first, as it brings out the true taste of the other flavours.


Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, re-whipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.

Makes approximately 5 cups of buttercream.

For Chocolate Buttercream, add 150 g (3/4 cup) melted bittersweet Belgian chocolate (the best you can get--I use Callebaut) to Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and beat until incorporated.

For Strawberry Buttercream, add strawberry puree to taste, OR a few drops of LorAnn Strawberry Flavor Oil.

Assembly of the Inside-Out Neapolitan Cupcakes

1. Divide buttercream evenly into 3 bowls. Flavour 1/3 chocolate, 1/3 strawberry, and leave final 1/3 vanilla (using instructions above). Add a few drops of pink gel colour to strawberry buttercream. 
2. Using a very sharp serrated knife, slice cupcakes twice, horizontally, resulting in 3 "layers."

3. Fill one layer of each flavour (chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla), and top with sprinkles, if desired.

Best eaten at room temperature on the day they were made, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days (in refrigerator overnight).