Fourth of July Naked Cake

Naked cakes are such a huge trend right now, but they don’t have to be reserved for weddings only. I thought a patriotic naked cake would be a perfect dessert for an outdoor BBQ gathering. With less frosting, it is a lighter dessert that can still be enjoyed in the warmer weather. The strawberry compote in between each layer is so delicious and refreshing and the juices are just soaked up by each cake layer, making them more moist than usual.

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Ingredients

Buttermilk Cake

  • 4 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups (297 ml) buttermilk, shaken
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract OR Princess Bakery Emulsion
  • 3 cups (345 g) cake flour, sifted
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (17 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (4 g) salt
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small even pieces
  • Red and Blue food coloring
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment round, butter the rounds and dust with flour.
  2. In a large measuring cup with a spout, lightly whisk the eggs, yolks, 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and the vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer set to low speed, add the cold butter one piece at a time, about 10 seconds apart. Continue mixing on low speed until all of the butter has been blended and there are no clumps. Mixture should have a fine crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
  4. Add the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture; once the mixture has been added, increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute, but no more. Gently fold batter once or twice (but no more) to ensure the egg mixture has all been incorporated.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the 3 bowls and add red color to one, blue to another, and leave the third plain. Mix well and then add batter to 3 prepared pans (use a kitchen scale to ensure 3 even layers). Place two of the cake pans on a baking sheet and bake until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs but no batter, about 28 minutes. Repeat with the final layer. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then loosen sides with thin metal spatula or knife, and carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel of the paper liners, and let cool completely. Trim the outsides of the cake to reveal a more vibrant coloring on the inside.

Strawberry Compote

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • Pinch of salt
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, lavender and salt until the berries start to break down, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer until compote coats a spoon, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool down slightly. Using an immersion blender (carefully) and pulse a few times, or use a handheld masher. Stir in remaining fresh strawberries. Keep covered and chilled for up to 3 days. (Be sure it has completely chilled before using to fill cake.)

Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3 – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
  1. Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  3. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
  4. Add milk, heavy cream or half-and-half until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time.

 Topping

  • Fresh berries of your choice

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With your buttercream, make a dam around the cake so when you put your filling in, it doesn’t spill out. This is also so you can get the ‘naked’ effect and see the inside of the cake layers. Go ahead and make a dam and add the filling in the middle of each layer until you have placed the last cake on top!

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The great thing about naked cakes is that you do not have to be excellent at frosting cakes to make them! After you have assembled the cake with the dams and the filling, add some more buttercream in the creases around the cake so you can take a spatula and smooth it out to give it a full look.

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Add some easy finishing touches on top by sprinkling some powdered sugar on top of your assembled cake.
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Now another fun part – berry assembly! Fill up the top of your cake with as many berries you can squeeze on that baby. The more berries, the more decorative and festive it looks (and more delicious too!)
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BAM. Look at that beautiful baby! So easy, so quick, SO delicious!!

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Enjoy!!

xo, Jessica

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