This has been a month of celebrating! On May 16, we had a shower celebration for our sweet babe, John and Kelly came and we celebrated Kelly’s birthday, and a few days ago we found out everything was in for the adoption to be finalized! Let’s all take a moment and cheer!
My new favorite way to celebrate is with the incredible naked cake. I first learned about naked cakes when I interviewed a local baker for Enjoy Magazine. (You can read the article here.) He explained that a naked cake is basically layers of delicious cake filled with beautiful cream and fruit and topped with powdered sugar, fresh fruit, and flowers. The outside of the cake is not iced at all, so it keeps this lovely rustic look.
In the last month then, I made eight of these cakes! One for fun, six for the shower, and one for Kelly’s birthday. I used my very favorite yellow cake recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and found a super simple cream cheese-whipped cream filling recipe. Some gorgeous in-season strawberries and fresh flowers made them look downright wedding worthy.
- 4 Large eggs
- 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
- 2 Teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/4 Cups Cake Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- 3/4 Teaspoons Salt
- 1/2 lb. Butter, softened and cut into 8 pieces.
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter and cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment. Grease parchment rounds and dust with flour, and tap out excess.
- Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla with fork in small bowl; measure out 1 cup of this mixture and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on lowest speed to blend, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running at lowest speed, add butter one piece at a time, mix until butter and flour begin to clump together and look sandy and pebbly, with pieces about the size of peas, 30-40 seconds after all butter is added. Add reserved 1 cup of egg mixture and mix at lowest speed until incorporated, 5-10 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add remaining egg mixture in slow steady stream, about 30 seconds. Stop mixture and scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat on medium-high until thoroughly combined and batter looks slightly curdled, about 15 seconds longer.
- Divide batter equally between prepared cake pans; spread to sides of pan and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until cake tops are light golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.
- After cakes have cooled completely, slice each cake in half lengthwise so that you end up with four thin cakes.
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer. Mis well until smooth.
- Slowly add in cold heavy cream and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Note: In addition to the cakes and filling, you also need powdered sugar and sliced strawberries.
- Once the cakes are completely cooled, slice the cakes so that you have four thin cakes.
- Place the first cake layer on a cake plate. Use a piping bag or a ziplock bag to pipe the edges, then fill in a nice thick layer, and top with sliced berries if desired.
- Continue this for the next two layers.
- Place the top layer on, then dust with powdered sugar and top with fresh fruit and flowers. (Tip: Plan where you want the flowers to go on a paper plate first!)
It really is one of those desserts that looks so difficult to make but is easily created. And there are so many variations – lemon cake with raspberries, chocolate cake with cream and chocolate curls, even a spicy gingerbread option. I love this so much and will make this the go-to dessert for my events this year.