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This moist and light vanilla naked cake is iced with tangy cream cheese icing and topped with sugared blueberries. It’s rustic, sweet and simply delicious.
Hot summer days call for stripping down. Stripped down cakes that is. Have you gotten on board the naked cake train yet? It’s a simple, rustic icing technique that leaves the sides of the cake bare save for the smoothed icing between the layers. It can be frosted very simply on top and left as is or garnished with berries, sprinkles, flowers or icing decorations.
Icing a cake can be a daunting prospect. Not everyone has pastry bags and decorating tips in their arsenal. And not everyone has the patience and time for icing ruffles and swirls. But simplifying the decorating doesn’t have to mean boring. In fact, a naked cake is one of my most favorite designs. I love the rustic, imperfect look. And it looks equally gorgeous on a cake stand or the wood or slate board you use to create a cheese plate.
Because you’re leaving the sides exposed, you have to take extra care to make sure the cake layers stay moist. Over the years I’ve learned to wrap the baked cake layers in plastic wrap while it’s still warm, locking in the moisture. If you’re icing the same day, just be sure to let the cake cool completely before you start frosting. You can also bake the cake a couple of days ahead, wrap the layers tightly and then store in the freezer. Let the frozen cake warm to room temperature before icing.
Now that you have all this extra time on your hands that you’ve saved with this simple technique, maybe you can whip up a topping or garnish to dress up your cake. Since we’re knee deep in berry season, why not give these sugared blueberries a try? They’re dipped in beaten egg whites and then tossed into sugar to create a icy, sugary crust. I love the bit of crunch and sparkle they add to the cake. They store nicely in the frig so I make an extra handful or two to sprinkle over ice cream or to garnish a summer fruit salad.
So as the days heat up, I hope you’ll give this stripped down cake a try. It’s sure to impress your guests with its simple beauty and sweet charm. And if you love blueberries as much as I do, check back next week for a boozy blueberry lemonade cocktail. Cake and cocktails? Yep, this is how to celebrate summer berries. Enjoy your weekend!
- Vanilla Cake
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 oz unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 egg whites room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Cream Cheese Icing
- 12 oz cream cheese softened
- 6 oz unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 lbs confectioners sugar
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- Sugared Blueberries
- 1 egg white
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 1 cup superfine sugar
Vanilla Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and cut out two parchment rounds to line the bottom of the pans. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Beat the butter with an electric mixture on high. Gradually add in sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 mins.
Add the egg whites and beat until well blended, about 2 mins, then add in the sour cream and beat until combined.
Add in one third of the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Add one half of the milk, mix until combined. Continue with the flour, milk and finish with the flour. Don’t overmix.
Stir in the vanilla.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pans for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan, peel off the parchment rounds and finish cooling on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Icing: Beat the butter and cream cheese together. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and beat until fluffy.
Mix in the vanilla.
Sugared Blueberries:Beat one egg white on high until stiff peaks form.
Toss in the blueberries. Remove the blueberries a few at a time and toss in the sugar.
Place the blueberries on a parchment lined sheet tray to dry. They should be hardened and ready in a couple of hours.
Putting it all together: Slice the top off of each cake to create a nice, flat surface.
Divide each cake in half to create four layers.
Place one layer (save your best for the top layer) on a cake plate and top with one fourth of the cream cheese icing.
Repeat two more times and finally top with the last cake layer. Run a large offset spatula around the cake to smooth. It should look rustic and not too perfect.
Ice the top of the cake with the remaining icing and top with the sugared blueberries (you will probably have a handful or two left over.)