Vanilla and Fresh Berry Naked Cake
We still have 28 days until the 4th of July.. but it’s already been all red, white and blue in my kitchen for the past 2 weeks! I’m in full on 4th of July mode, think containers of 4th of july sprinkles, tons of berries, and massive amounts of red, white and blue buttercream.. but every time I check the calendar, it’s like “Oh yeah, we still have a couple of weeks!”
I have some great friends and neighbors who have been helping us eat everything I’ve been making, but every time I bring a 4th of july dessert to share, I feel like I have to preface it with an apology.. “Sorry, I know it’s not 4th of July, but I hope you like it!”
And the worst part? By the time 4th of July rolls around, I’ll be all tuckered out from stars and stripes that I probably won’t make anything red, white, or blue. I keep reminding Ryan to enjoy it now because on the 4th I’ll probably be stocking up on canned pumpkin. Just kidding. Or.. maybe I’m not kidding :)
This vanilla and fresh berry naked cake is relatively easy to make. You don’t need any kind of buttercream decorating skills (perfect for you, Mom! Just teasing!). But I have a few tips for you.
#1 – Buy more berries than you think you’ll need. It takes A TON of berries to decorate the top of the cake, especially if you want it to look full. If you see the BIG containers of strawberries at your grocery store, buy 2 of those and that should be plenty. I’d buy 3 containers of blueberries.
#2 – Invest in bake even strips. This isn’t just a naked cake thing, bake even strips will help all of your cakes bake evenly, meaning you won’t be throwing away as much cake when you go to level them. You can buy bake even strips at places like BB&B or Amazon. You can also make your own at home. Cut up an old towel into strips. Soak the strips in water before each use, making sure to wring out any dripping water. Then secure them around your cake pans using safety pins.
Vanilla and Fresh Berry Naked Cake
Vanilla Cake (make this recipe 4 times, once for each layer, if you want a 4 layer cake)
- 1 ½ sticks butter, room temperature (3/4 cup)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- 1 ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 sticks butter, room temperature (1 cup)
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4.5-6 cups powdered sugar
- Sliced strawberries, for inside the cake
- Whole strawberries, to top the cake
- Blueberries, for inside and to top the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch round cake pan or springform pan and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper. To ensure even baking, place a bake even strip around the pan. You can make your own homemade bake even strip by cutting a towel or shirt to fit the size of your pan. Get the fabric really wet, then squeeze out the dripping water but do not squeeze it too dry. Secure the fabric around the pan with a safety pin.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, lightly beating after each one.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, gently mix with a spoon. Gradually add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, do not dump it in, rather take spoonfuls of the flour mixture and gently shake it over the wet ingredients, as if you were sifting in the flour. Fold in the mixture until no flour remains. Repeat with the other half of the flour, folding it in and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, using a spatula to evenly spread it out.
- Bake for 22-27 minutes. Using a bake even strip will slow down the baking time, so if your cake is still wobbly in the center, allow it to bake longer.
- Once the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully remove the cake from the pan. If using a springform pan, remove the sides and bottom. Allow the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, remove the parchment paper round from the bottom of the cake. If you need to level the top of your cake, do so now using either a cake lever or knife. Wrap the cake really good in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator, which is good for up to one week.
- 30 minutes to 1 hour before you plan to assemble the cake, place the cake layers in the freezer. This will make them easier to frost.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and vegetable shortening, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and gently mix by hand with a spatula. Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 2 cups at a time, mixing by hand. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting no longer looks wet and tastes good to you. Then I use my electric mixer once last time to make sure the powdered sugar is really incorporated and ready to go.
To assemble the cake
- I like to assemble my cakes on a turntable. Spread a small amount of buttercream on a 8 inch round cardboard circle. Place your first layer of cake on top of the cardboard. Put buttercream on top of the layer and spread it as even as possible with an offset spatula.
- Fill a piping bag set with a large round piping tip with buttercream. Pipe a border of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
- Place sliced strawberries and berries on top of the buttercream, evenly distributing.
- Add the second layer of cake. Repeat the steps of spreading on the buttercream, piping on a buttercream border and filling the cake with fresh fruit. Repeat until all of the layers are on the cake.
- On the very top layer, spread on some buttercream and pipe a buttercream border if desired. Top the cake with lots of fruit. I used an entire container of strawberries and half a container of blueberries.
- Naked cakes are best served on the day they are made.
No need to apologize I am sure because no one in their right mind would refuse a slice of this cake! It looks perfect and I am wiping the drool off my chin!
No better way to start a Monday then with drool on your chin! :)
What a wonderful creation, Beth! This cake is beautiful! How come I have never heard of bake even strips? I need to check those out!
They are amazing, definitely get some!
This looks beyond amazing! I would say simplicity at its best, but I’m not sure if you can truly call this stunning four layer cake simple at all! :)
Hahaha! I’m right there with you on making all sorts of red, white, and blue treats! So far no complaints from my testers…but I’m sure I’ll be over that color combo by the time the 4th rolls around. This cake is all sorts of amazingness! Love the fruit, the frosting, and the naked edges! So pretty and so easy to do!!!
Yes! By 4th of july we really might be moving onto…. pumpkin :)
You’ve got some lucky neighbors and friends who have been getting to eat all of these delicious desserts! This cake is beautiful and I love all those fresh berries piled high on it!
That’s my favorite part too, the berries!
Ok, so this cake is RIGHT up my alley since I have ZERO cake decorating skills. I so envy your skills. This is beautiful, Beth! Pinned
Teach me how to make that pimento dip of yours and I’ll teach you how to pipe frosting!
So pretty! The perfect summer dessert!
This cake is gorgeous Beth!! Love the freshness and that frosting is spot on. I’ve also never heard of bake even strips. Genius and I need to get them now. Cake’s kinda of intimidate me, so I need to hurdle that bridge. This looks and sounds delicious. I don’t blame you for being burnt out of fourth of July stuff either. I would be too. I need to get on that too, thanks for the reminder. :) Pinned!
Cakes used to scare me too but one day I decided to conquer my fear and I’m so glad I did!
This cake is gorgeous! I love all the berries you stacked on top! And I haven’t even started thinking about 4th of July. (food blogger fail). I need to get on that!
You still have some time Mariah! :)
This looks truly magical Beth – you have outdone yourself!
Not only does this cake look amazing, but I love how the berries are layered in the slice as well. YUM!
NAKED CAKES!!!! I’m obsessed! This is GORG!
naked cakes are so fun! :)
How is it almost July 4th already??? Gorgeous cake, Beth (as usual). I definitely need to invest in buying some cake strips. I tried doing a DIY one with strips of fabric once and it totally did not work.
I love my DIY ones! Did you use a safety pin to secure them?
this looks wonderfull!
Oh my gosh. Only 28 days until 4th of July?! Seriously that kinda stresses me out…but I think Im just gonna turn to this cake to soothe my feelings!
I’m sure you’ll come up with a sorts of red, white and blue ideas!
Dear Beth, what a stunning dessert. This cake is a showstopper- perfect for any special occasion. A perfect summer cake. xo, Catherine
Thanks for your sweet comment Catherine!
I made the cake for Mother´s Day. Perfect and Yummy!!!
This cake looks amazing! What kind of flour do you use?
This is a truly beautiful cake! I decided to use your recipes for cake and frosting to make my own. The recipes are really delicious and will be a new go-to for baking! Thanks for posting this :)
Thanks for your sweet comment Heather!!
Are there any ingredients missing from this recipe?
When I made it, (I’ve made it twice now, because I thought I screwed the first one up) the batter was the consistency of cookie dough, and it seems that it was so heavy that the cake collapsed in the center.
It almost seems like it needs more liquid…
Hi Charlie! I’m so sorry to hear it didn’t turn out well. My first tip, be sure that you didn’t over mix the cake batter and didn’t over bake the cake. Our cake batters are thick. Did you make it exactly as described or did you use a different sized pan, etc?
Beth, the picture of the cake looks like the layers are slices. How many actual 8 inch cakes did you bake for that photo? Mary-K
Hi I have to make the cake in advance would it be ok
for a couple days in the fridge ?
Yep! Wrap each layer individually with plastic wrap really well and place them in the fridge!
Hi, Beth! This looks great! How many people would this recipe serve? Thanks!
Hi Kara! A lot! Like 12+ people
Your cake looks beautiful! Tried making it with my daughter and it flopped, the middle ended up falling in so it turned into a bunt cake ????( we only made 1 layer). But on the plus side the buttercream came out great and delicious!
Hey! I started making the cake, can I frost it a day before serving? and keep in the fridge?
I am not much of a baker but like naked cakes because they use less frosting and are not so sweet. I found this recipe on Pinterest and am so glad I did – I have never heard of baking strips. SO ingenious! They seem like the perfect solution for crowning. Thanks so much for sharing that secret.
Bake even strips are amazing!
I made a miniature version of this recipe for mother’s day and it came out amazing !! But I added a little milk to tone down the sweetness in the frosting. It came out light and fluffy and gorgeous !