Eat your heart out New York City, Central Park may lie in the middle of Manhattan but Jacksonville, FL has Tree Hill Nature Center. The Center lies between Merrill Road, Southside Boulevard and Arlington Expressway (map). Walk the trails, and discover the 50 acre ecological sanctuary.
After walking and burning all those calories, Eat Cake! This recipe is an inside out Neapolitan Cake, a divine chocolate, vanilla and strawberry confection for chocolate lovers using the favorite combinations from Naples, Italy. The Neapolitan Cake featured this spring was made with a yellow cake. This chocolate cake recipe makes fabulous cup cakes. The tops mound up and are crunchy like a muffin tops.
Any chocolate cake recipe may be used; especially if the cook has a favorite
A chocolate cake mix can be used as well
Hershey’s chocolate cake featured in chocolate cannoli cake is a great substitute
The strawberry filling featured in the yellow Neapolitan Cake may be used in place of the strawberry jam
Only ¾ of a cup of cocoa was used; a full 1 cup is for extra dark chocolate lovers as it makes an espresso colored cake
Use the leftover cinnamon cocoa on ice cream, applesauce, and coffee or wherever a splash of zest is desired
This cake bakes up great in a 9×13 or a Bundt pan as well
1-1¼ cups Smucker’s Low Sugar Strawberry Jam
Place in small bowl and stir until smooth; keep at room temperature until ready to use
Cocoa and Cinnamon Sprinkle:
1 Tbsp of cocoa
½ tsp cinnamon
Mix well; only about 1 heaping tsp is needed for the cake, save in air tight container and store with other spices
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsps granulated sugar
Place bowl and beaters in freezer ahead of time and chill for at least 30 minutes; add all ingredients and beat until stiff
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps vanilla
1 cup oil
2 cups clear black coffee-very warm
In a large mixing bowl blend all dry ingredients well. Make a well in the center, drop in eggs, oil, vanilla and beat with mixer until well blended; slowly drizzle in 1 cup of the coffee; beat well and moisten; continue to beat on high for about 1minute, add the second cup of coffee and beat thoroughly for another 2 minutes.
Grease two 8 inch round pans and dust with cocoa instead of flour on the bottoms. Pour equal amounts of batter into each pan and place in pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. This is a rich dark chocolate cake even without the full cup of cocoa.
Putting the cake together:
Allow the cake layer to cool thoroughly once removed from pans; place on flat plates and place plates on cooling rack for one hour. Carefully transfer one layer onto cake platter with the bottom side up; place strawberry filling onto the layer, keep about 1” from the edges.
Transfer second layer top side up onto the strawberry, the weight of the second layer will spread the strawberry filling to the edges. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, if strawberry filling drips down the sides remove by gently scraping with a tablespoon.
Then use all of the whipped cream and generously frost the cake. Dust with cinnamon cocoa. Refrigerate for 2 hours before slicing.