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10 Best Neapolitan Desserts from Scratch

Let’s take a trip to Italy and try these incredible Neapolitan desserts

Because though Naples may not be as big as Rome, it leads the way in tasty treats!

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Sweet Neapolitan Ice Cream in a Bowl

You’ve probably heard of Neapolitan ice cream, but did you know Naples has a plethora of scrummy sweets to explore?

The oldest and most famous has to be the Sfogliatelle, a life-changing crispy pastry filled with a dreamy semolina-ricotta mixture.

But there’s also crave-worthy cakes, crispy cookies, and delectable donuts. 

Seriously, there’s a recipe here for every season, appetite, and occasion. So what are you waiting for? Try these Neapolitan desserts today!

10 Traditional Neapolitan Dessert Recipes to Impress Your Guests

1. Pastiera Napoletana 

Pastiera Napoletana is not what most people think of when they hear “Neopolitan”.

This orange-scented Italian tart is traditional Easter fare with a filling of whole wheat berries cooked in milk.

When it’s super creamy and delicious, you’ll add fluffy ricotta cheese, eggs, and sugar. 

Candied citrus and orange blossom essence give it the most beautiful flavor and aroma.

And all that wonderful filling sits inside a perfectly crumbly tart shell.

If you’ve never had one of these, you have to make it this Easter. It’s sweet, delicate, and perfect for springtime. 

2. Neapolitan Cake 

Neapolitan cake is a beautiful and scrumptious combination of your three favorite flavors. 

It starts with an impossibly rich chocolate cake under a light, fluffy vanilla layer.

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At the top is a pretty pink strawberry cake with tons of flavor. Plus, sweet whipped cream separates each layer to lighten it up.

The whole cake is enrobed in a beautiful vanilla buttercream which looks incredible against the trio of colors.

Decorate this cake any way you like, then watch your friends and family devour this triple-threat treat. 

3. Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake 

I think most of us have enjoyed a bowl or two of Neapolitan ice cream, right?

And this impressive homemade ice cream cake will be a surefire crowd-pleaser at your next BBQ or backyard bash!

It starts with a rich chocolate cake base. That’s topped with two different layers of homemade ice cream

Don’t worry; this recipe doesn’t involve any churning. Instead, it’s a scratch-made ice cream cake that’s easier than you think.

A fruity layer of strawberry ice cream goes on top of that yummy chocolate cake.

Finally, the sweet vanilla bean ice cream with hints of cream cheese tops it all off. Does it get any better than that? 

4. Neapolitan Sfogliatelle 

Master this Italian classic, and your friends will start calling you “Chef”.

If you’re up for a challenge, sfogliatelle (pronounced sfow-lee-uh-teh-lay) are more than worth the effort.

And don’t stress, they’re easier to make than they are to pronounce!

The buttery, flakey pastries resemble a seashell. So much so, they’re even called lobster tails in the U.S.

Filled with a vanilla and citrus-infused mixture of ricotta and semolina, they’re thick, creamy, and unforgettably delicious.

The crispy exterior is a signature of the traditional sfogliatelle. It’s what gives them their unmistakable appearance. 

Once you try it, you’ll be hooked.

5. Migliaccio Napoletano 

Migliaccio is a semolina and ricotta cake most often seen during Carnevale. 

It’s lightly flavored with vanilla and citrus, smells and tastes incredible, and has a light and luxurious texture. 

The combination of ricotta and fine semolina makes it similar to cheesecake. But it’s not as heavy since ricotta is more airy than cream cheese. 

Add limoncello to the cake if you want extra lemon flavor, and serve it with fresh berries and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Yum!

Although it’s most popular in February and March, you can enjoy this cake any time of year.  

6. Neapolitan Cheesecake

With its gorgeous color and tons of flavor, this no-bake cheesecake is definitely a showstopper. 

It starts off with an Oreo cookie crust. And the darkness against the colorful filling is not only beautiful, it tastes heavenly too!

The first layer is rich, creamy, decadent chocolate. Next up is the strawberry layer, followed by a light lemon-flavored cheesecake.

The combination of all three is irresistible. 

And you’ll be amazed by how easy it is to put together. Just mix each flavor and layer them into the crust.

Just remember to let the layers set, so they don’t bleed into each other.

7. Zeppole 

Zeppole are a type of Italian donut that’s been one of the most popular sweets in the country since the Roman Empire. 

There’s nothing like a sweet bite of perfectly fried zeppole.

These donuts go by different names throughout Italy and also come salted rather than sweet.

You’ll find zeppole in Campania, Apulia, or Calabria, but homemade is just as lovely. 

The dough is simple but has a surprising ingredient: potatoes. They give the dough a lovely texture and help the outsides get crispy. 

I love the subtle citrus flavor, plus the slight crunch of the sugar coating is divine. 

These zeppole are so good, you’ll feel like you bought them straight from a local Zeppularo.

8. Torta Caprese 

Torta Caprese is an Italian flourless chocolate cake that’s rich, indulgent, and perfect for any occasion. 

From Capri, Italy, it’s one of the first known gluten-free cakes. But why make a cake without flour?

Well, it was actually an accident. A pastry chef in the 1920s was baking his famous almond cake and forgot the flour. 

Thus, the flourless chocolate cake was born.

This particular version includes almonds which make the flavor spectacular. The inside is moist and soft, while the outside is slightly crisp.  

Torta Caprese will make all of your friends and family smile ear to ear. So make it today!

9. Struffoli 

Struffoli are another type of zeppole or Italian donut that’re often topped with candied fruit and sprinkles.

They make gorgeous centerpieces at parties, which is why they’re typically seen during the Christmas season.

They’re about three quarters of an inch in size, giving them a stunning crispy finish.

And once they’re glazed with honey, they’re sticky, sweet, and delicious. After a few days, they’ll be even sweeter, and the honey is more pronounced. 

I guarantee these will be a favorite among kids, but the adults will reach for them too.

Pile them high and sprinkle on some candied orange peel. It’s a festive delight nobody can resist. 

10. Roccoco

Roccoco cookies are a lovely Christmas treat with delicious spices and flavors.

They come from the region of Campania, which is famous for tons of Christmas cookies

These crispy cookies get their flavor from a unique blend of spices known as pisto Napoletano

A blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, star anise, and white pepper, it packs quite a punch.

Add these fabulous cookies to your Christmas menu, or enjoy them throughout the whole season. You’ll love them any day. 

10 Best Neapolitan Desserts from Scratch

Let’s take a trip to Italy and try these incredible Neapolitan desserts. Because though Naples may not be as big as Rome, it leads the way in tasty treats!

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  • Prep a delicious Neapolitan dessert in 30 minutes or less!
Neapolitan Desserts

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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