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!
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The semi-naked cake! Yes, perfect for summer, it looks like it shed its coat of frosting for something more comfortable and cooler. Great for 4th of July,or Father’s Day.
totally, and hello, beautifully put! you have a way with words!
Is there reason you don’t post the recipes for the cake and buttercream? I can’t seem to find links for them anywhere in this posting.
Since cake decorating is my profession I never share my cake or frosting recipes. I hope to someday have a cookbook I can share them in. But any light cake and buttercream will work to get the same effect.
Hi! This cake is absolutely beautiful! I read one of the comments where you don’t share your buttercream recipes, I was looking for them also! Your buttercream just looks so perfect; nice and smooth! I also do cake decorating (a beginner) and make buttercream using the basic ingredients, (shortening, butter, powdered sugar, milk, flavor extracts) but it never comes out real smooth:/ and I’m not in the budget to experiment at the moment. I was wondering if you’d be able to give me a tip on how to make it smoother?
try using cookie paddles instead of whisks, sounds like your beating too much air into the frosting
When I make buttercream icing, I cover the mixer with a towel and use a paddle beater too and mix for 20 minutes. This keeps the heat in and comes out very smooth.
nice! I like to use the paddles over whisk to get it smooth too
Virginie @ That Cute Little Cake
Hi Ashlee !
I love this cake but I am wondering how you get your buttercream so white ??? My go to recipe is always a slightly yellow due to the butter… maybe you use a whiter butter ?
I don’t use butter, shortening only with butter extract, butter based buttercream is too soft and won’t hold the cake up (at least american buttercream, you could also make a swiss meringue and it would be more white and still have butter)
You are a wonderful photographer as well. What type of camera and lens did you use?
I use a nikon D610 with a 50 prime lens
Will the buttercream made with shortening hold up in southern summer heat?
not outside – that’s why fondant was created – for summer weddings. There is Hi Temp shortening that holds up even better than regular shortening – BUT still with summer heat in the south even that doesn’t stand a chance.
Can I make this a day ahead of time and leave it in room temperature or refrigerate?
Please let me know.
I never refrigerate cakes – it dries them out. and yes buttercream is just fine on the counter as long as your air conditioner is working – you don’t want it to melt it.
Love this! Question. What size is the cake stand and what size is the cake pan?
it’s a 10 inch cake stand and a 8 inch cake
CAn you leave sugared berries out overnight, wasn’t sure with raw egg whites. I am going to be making an naked angel food cake for a nieces wedding (hes diabetic) with sugared berries.. any suggestions would be wonderful
you can use pasteurized eggs, but I would probably do it the morning of
By the way your work is beautiful. Quick question for you, how do you prep your fruit before placing them on the cake & dipping them in the sugar?
here is the post on the sugared berries http://ashleemarie.com/sugared-berries/
Goodness i see this cake and fell in love… i need to make a cake for my son 1st Birthday but he can’t do dairy.. any suggestions on the frosting
I’d suggest making an american buttercream with shortening and butter emulsion for flavor.
Is sugaring the strawberries as well an option vs the candied?
of course! and they’ll last longer
I am making an semi-naked cake for a friend’s wedding. I really need a good vanilla cake recipe. I know you don’t share your own personal recipes but could you point me in the direction of a good vanilla cake that will hold up to the Scraping of making a semi-naked cake? Really desperate here because I tried one that taste floury and more like a sugar cookie that I just can’t use.
here is my recipe https://ashleemarie.com/easter-egg-pinata-cake-with-chocolate-nest-recipe-and-video/
Looks lovely, I plan to make it for a friends birthday. How did you manage to get the frosting and strawberry layers to look exactly the same depth as the cake layers?Thanks!
the frosting isn’t as thick as the cake layers, but first I did a thin layer of frosting, then added the cut in half strawberries. I used a piping bag to add frosting around the strawberries, then smoothed it with a spatula. then added the next layer, the strawberries help hold the height of the filling.
also…just so i dont screw this up – you mean take your white cake recipe double up all the ingredients then split that mix between 3 cake pans – is that right???
yup – I use 3-4 inch tall pans to handle taller layers. Just a personal preference.
Hello Ashlee….thank you for sharing your talents. I am making a 3 tiered semi-naked cake with sugared berries…the berries are what’s worrying me. I’m afraid they will bleed into the white buttercream. I’ve rinses, patted dry, let them come to room temp, brushed each very, very thinly with egg whites and ran them through the sugar. I’m just worried that I did this too early (4 hours prior to wedding delivery). So, my question is how far in advance can you sugar the berries? What’s the best process? Thanks for your time.
honestly I decorated the cake and served it right away. And it’s been years since I made this cake so I don’t remember if the berries bled.
Hi! I’m having trouble finding the recipe for this, is there anyway you can send me a link? I’m making it for my best friends birthday and I would really like to make for her, thank you!
here is my vanilla cake recipe https://ashleemarie.com/easter-egg-pinata-cake-with-chocolate-nest-recipe-and-video/
Hi, how long do the sugared berries last? I’m thinking of using them as a cake topper for a birthday cake. Don’t want them to go gooey and run!