The naked cake
( MAKES 1 )
This special berry-topped naked cake comes from The Great New Zealand Birthday Cake Book. To make a four-layered cake as shown here you will have to use two 15cm round cake tins. Please note that the quantities shown and instructions below are for one 15cm cake only. You will need to double these quantities to make two cakes.
|½ tsp||Cream of tartar|
|1 large||Egg, approx. 75g, you may need to use 2 eggs if they are smaller; lightly beaten|
|¾ tsp||Vanilla extract|
|135 g||Plain flour|
|50 g||Cocoa powder|
|215 g||Caster sugar|
|¾ tsp||Baking soda|
|½ tsp||Baking powder|
|75 ml||Hot water|
Sugar syrup and decoration
|1 cup||Caster sugar, for the syrup|
|1 cup||Water, for the syrup|
|1 cup||Caster sugar, for frosting berries|
|200 g||Mixed berries|
|1||Cake scraper, or palette knife|
- Heat the oven to 180C on standard bake (160C fan bake, but avoid using fan bake as it causes excessive peaking during baking). Prepare 15cm round cake tin by spraying liberally with oil spray (or use two 15cm tins if you are doubling the quantities to make a four-layer cake).
- Place milk and cream of tartar in a small glass, stir and set aside for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, place oil, eggs and vanilla extract, and stir to combine.
- Into a large mixing bowl, sift flour, cocoa, caster sugar, baking soda and baking powder.
- Scrape all the milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a hand mixer, mix to combine, then slowly add hot water and mix well until you have a smooth batter.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes, checking the cake regularly during the last quarter of cooking time, or until a cake skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake. If you know your baking isn’t cooked through but it’s looking crusty on top, carefully place a sheet of tinfoil on top of the cake. This will stop it from getting any darker on top but will allow the cake to continue cooking until it’s fully done.
- Cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Once fully cool, wrap the cake in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container if you plan to decorate it the following day, or wrap it in tinfoil, followed by plastic wrap and then freeze it.
Sugar syrup for coating berries
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Lightly beaten egg whites can be used in place of sugar syrup if desired.
Make on the day you plan to serve the cake. First, tip the caster sugar on to a large plate. Using a pastry brush, lightly cover each berry with the cooled sugar syrup then roll it in caster sugar. Place the berries on a piece of baking paper to dry.
Start with room-temperature butter (not melted) and beat butter in an electric mixer, using a paddle attachment, until the butter lightens in colour. Slowly add icing sugar in small batches (so it doesn’t fly out of the mixing bowl), beating in between until combined. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Buttercream can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, but bring it back to room temperature and beat again before using so it is as light, fluffy and soft as possible.
Level the cakes, using a cake leveller if possible. See how to do it, here. Turn cakes over. Cut both cakes in half horizontally to create 4 layers. Place the bottom layer of cake on a serving plate, then fill and stack the cakes with buttercream, using a generous amount of buttercream between each layer. Cover the cake with buttercream to a smooth finish on top.
Using a palette knife or cake scraper, scrape off the buttercream around the sides of the cake so it is barely covered and the cake underneath shows through. Arrange the sugared berries on top of the cake just before serving.