Last weekend my lovely sister and niece travelled up from London for our joint birthday parties. It was all a bit last minute but I was determined to pull a celebration cake out of the bag (box!) and came up with this ridiculously easy vanilla naked cake that is mostly from a box mix with super simple buttercream icing.
Absolutely no baking skills are required for this one but I guarantee you’ll end up with an amazing showstopper.
I’m busy, like super busy. And I’m sure most of you reading this are too. If you or I wanted to make an incredible cake from scratch then we could, right? Baking a masterpiece is a skill, it’s fulfilling and enjoyable, but sometimes you want to take the easy option and that’s ok too.
This vanilla (semi) naked cake is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time because the favourite part of my job – other than baking and eating delicious food – is photographing it.
And I knew it would look really pretty.
I already had a couple of small boxes of meringue drops stashed away in my kitchen cupboard so it was just a case of mixing up the cake batter and making a quick batch of vanilla buttercream.
And voila, swipe the icing around pop some fresh fruit and a few meringues on top and it’s done.
What Is A Naked Cake?
There are two different types of naked cakes. One is a semi-naked cake or half-dressed, just like this one. The other is where the cake is iced on top and in-between the layers but not all over the outside.
The cake I’m showing you how to make today looks a lot like a cake that has had a crumb coat which is the layer that seals in all the crumbs before the cake is fully iced.
Naked cakes are minimal and rustic, they are super simple to do and you can use any variety of cake you fancy.
Naked cakes or semi-naked cakes make a make a beautiful centrepiece at weddings, christenings, baby showers or birthday parties.
Naked Cake Flavour Ideas
- Lemon Cake
- Red Velvet Cake
- Victoria Sponge Cake
- Ginger Cake
- Chocolate Cake
- Banana Cake
- Strawberry Cake
- Carrot Cake
- Butterscotch Cake
- Coconut Cake
Naked Cake Frosting Ideas
- Vanilla Buttercream (recipe below)
- Strawberry Buttercream
- Chocolate Buttercream
- Lemon Buttercream
- Nutella Buttercream
- Baileys Buttercream
- Peanut Butter Buttercream
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Lavender Frosting
- Chai Spiced Frosting
My Top Tips for Baking a Naked Cake
- Decide how many layers your cake will have and make sure you have at least two tins to speed up baking time.
- Use a simple box cake mix to save time or try one of the naked cake flavour ideas listed above.
- Once you’ve decided what flavour cake to make find a complimentary frosting. Use the list above to help you.
- Bake the cakes in advance and freeze them. Remember to take them out to defrost 1-2 hours before you add the frosting.
- If you don’t make the cakes in advance make sure they are completely cool before you attempt to ice them.
- Even the cakes by taking a serrated knife and slicing the tops off until they are flat. This will stop the cakes toppling over when you stack them.
- Decide in advance what you’ll be using to decorate your cakes. There are decoration ideas below.
Naked Cake Decoration Ideas
- Fresh fruit such as berries and figs.
- Seasonal or edible flowers. Find out more about edible flowers here.
- Mini meringues – drops or kisses.
- Macarons – super easy recipe tutorial here.
- Edible glitter and sprinkles.
- Sweets, small cookies, individual chocolates or truffles.
- And of course, if it’s a birthday cake: candles!
To Refrigerate or Not?
Sponge cake should NOT be kept in the fridge however you can freeze it before you add the buttercream. If you were to put the finished cake into the fridge it would dry it. As for the buttercream icing, it does not need to go in the fridge, there is a lot of sugar in it which makes it stable. Your finished cake will keep in a covered container for about 3 days.
Be creative, have fun and don’t feel guilty if you make your naked cake the easy way like me, no one will be any the wiser!
Vanilla Naked Cake
- 425 g Betty Crocker Velvety Vanilla Cake Mix I used two boxes to make four layers
- 6 eggs medium
- 12 tbsp vegetable oil
- 360 ml water
- 1/2 jar strawberry jam
For the buttercream
- 300 g butter unsalted
- 600 g icing sugar
- dash vanilla extract
- meringue drops
- blackberries, cherries, strawberries, figs
- sprigs of lavender
- Grease and line 2 x 10" cake tins
- Preheat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan/Gas Mark 4
- Mix the eggs, oil, water and cake mix together and whisk for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy
- Pour the cake mixture evenly into your two greased cake tins
- Bake in the centre of the oven for between 22-27 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean
To make the buttercream
- Beat the butter until creamy then beat in the icing sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time. Beat in the vanilla extract then check the consistency. If it's too thin add more icing sugar if it's too thick add a little milk.
- Once the cakes are completely cooled even them out my slicing off the tops to make sure they're flat. Add jam to the tops of two of the cakes and buttercream to the other two then sandwich them together. Use a spatula to spread as much or as little buttercream as you want to the outside of the cakes.
- Top with fresh fruit and meringue drops
If you make this, let me know. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag me @amytreasureblog and use #AmyTreasureRecipes on Instagram so I can see it!