Today is my birthday! Happy birthday to me!! So, I made myself a cake. Neapolitan Sheet Cake to be exact. See, this has been my birthday cake ever since I can remember ... I can't recall ever having something different on my birthday. With the classic Neapolitan combination of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, along with a light-and-fluffy vanilla mousse-y frosting, why would I ever have something else??
No matter where I've been in life ... college, graduate school, living in a different state from my parents, ... Mom has always made me my cake and gotten to me with it somehow. She's sweet like that. Well, one year she was at the beach 1,500 miles away on my birthday, so she arranged for my boyfriend at-the-time to make my cake. I think that counts.
This year, Mom and Dad are at the beach again for my birthday, and we truly don't have any weekends where we're both free for us to get together until about mid November. While Mom has promised to make my cake as soon as we can get together, I decided not to wait for her. (Note to Mom - that doesn't mean you're off the hook! I have no problem having two cakes this year! That's totally fine with me.)
This cake uses a chocolate-vanilla marble cake mix and the Jello "poke cake" method to create it's Neapolitan goodness. Mix up your cake mix and put it in your baking pan, according to the package directions.
Then gently swirl a knife through the chocolate and vanilla batters to create a marbled effect. You want to just swirl, not stir. If you stir, you'll mix the two batters together instead of getting a nice marble-ing.
Bake up the cake, and then use a fork to poke holes all over it. Be careful to stop your fork before you get to the bottom of the pan! You want the Jello to go all in the cake, not create a layer at the bottom of the cake. Slowly pour strawberry Jello over the cake into the holes.
Refrigerate over night, and then whip up a light-and-fluffy vanilla frosting from Dream Whip and vanilla pudding. After chilling for just a bit more, you're reading to serve it up. And mmmmm, mmmmmm, it's good! I wish I could share a piece with each of you to celebrate my birthday!
Neapolitan Sheet Cake
Source: My Mom (she adapted the recipe from a magazine a looooonnngggg time ago!)
1 package marble cake mix + ingredients specified on cake mix package
1 large package strawberry Jello
1 1/2 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cold water
1 envelope Dream Whip
1 package vanilla instant pudding
1 1/2 c. cold milk
1 tsp. vanilla
For the cake:
1. Dissolve Jello in 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Add 1/2 cup cold water. Set aside at room temperature.
2. Mix and bake cake, according to package directions. Bake in a 13x9-inch pan. After removing cake from the oven, cool for 25 minutes.
3. After cooling for the 25 minutes, use a fork to poke holes all over the cake (be careful not to go all the way through to the bottom of the cake). Slowly pour Jello into the holes. Refrigerate over night.
(NOTE: Marble cake mix can be a bit tricky to find. In a pinch, as happened for me this time, try this method: Buy a yellow cake mix. After mixing up, reserve about 1/4 of the batter. Melt a 1 ounce block of unsweetened baking chocolate; mix into reserved yellow cake batter to create the chocolate batter.)
For the frosting:
4. In a chilled deep bowl, whip Dream Whip, pudding, milk, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy and stiff, about 5 minutes.
5. Immediately frost cake.
6. Store cake in the refrigerator and serve cold.