Summer’s here! The kids are out of school and tis the season of eating outdoors, and enjoying fresh berries and lighter foods! So when I got asked to make a summer cake for Merry Mag Summer I decided to do a naked cake with fresh berries! This one happens to be a vanilla bean cake with a lemon buttercream, but you can go with any flavor of cake you like!
To give the cake height I always double any cake recipe and bake it in 3 layers. Adding strawberries directly to the filling also added to the height. I think cakes always seem more impressive, even with the SIMPLEST frosting if it’s taller than your average cake. So I suggest getting a 3rd cake pan and doubling those recipes (or at LEAST 1 1/2 if your pans can’t handle the doubling). AND tall slices look AMAZING on a plate, like from homemade to WOW!
So for this cake I used:
3 cake layers – trimmed and leveled – esp important to have them the same height because it’s a naked cake and the sides show
Batch of thick white frosting – This is a lemon buttercream
Fresh strawberries cut in half
Spice turntable and Cake stand
OR cake turntable
Place a little frosting on your cake stand and place the first layer on. Plop around 1/2 C of the frosting on and smooth it out, making sure to go just to the edge. Press strawberries into the frosting, making sure to place the first ring just over the edge so they show through, and pushing all the way down to the cake. Then add another 1/2 C of frosting to fill and cover the strawberries – again going to the edge.
Repeat this with the next layer, and then add the top layer, add enough frosting to give it a good cover. You can stop here, with the sides completely naked and the strawberries sticking out. BUT I like the slightly naked look better, so I dirty iced the side (a thin coating of frosting) then using the bench scraper held upright against the cake I scraped off all that I could (without pressing SO hard into the cake that you rip something). It will scrap against the strawberries and press them in a bit. Don’t go around to much or the strawberries will start to bleed.
Now pile on the berries and your ready to serve! Because the cakes and berries are red white and blue this would be a great 4th of July cake, BUT it’s also just fresh and light enough that it’s not SO 4th of July that you can actually serve and enjoy it all summer!
I actually made two versions of this cake. One with the berries plain and the cake sides completely naked…. And this version, with the sides frosted and scraped and the candied strawberries (dipped in sugar) and the sugared berries (raspberries, blackberries and blue berries). And something about this version just appealed more to me, it seemed lighter and brighter, even though it’s kind of a frosty look. I guess this could even work in winter with the “frosty” look it has!
So what do you like to bring to summer potlucks? I’m always the cake girl, couldn’t get out of it even if I wanted to (which I don’t, I love bringing cake). I’d love to hear about some other great recipes I should try out!