A flower-adorned Lemon and Raspberry Naked Layer Cake! I made this delightfully pretty tower for a recent pot-luck dinner, after dreaming about its creation for a few months. Layers of light and zesty lemon cake are enveloped in slatherings of raspberry cream cheese frosting; the combination of sweet and zingy flavours is so simple but absolutely foolproof. And yum. Very yum. I also love naked cakes. They’re so unassuming and modest, sitting delicately in their light coat of frosting, giving admiring passers-by a peek at the beauty of their concealed layers. They also lend themselves wonderfully to decoration, and I had such fun arranging these seasonal blooms from my local florist atop the cake’s surface!
I promise this cake is very easy to put together. Although I usually prefer to use swiss meringue buttercream for its stability, I do love the tangy undertones of a good cream cheese frosting. Especially when its marbled with raspberries! Its only pitfall is that it can get a little sloppy at room temperature, so make sure to store this cake in the fridge up until half an hour before serving. If you’re struggling with the consistency of your frosting, add more and more icing sugar until it stiffens up. I once tried a cream cheese frosting on a 40°C day to serve to a large crowd of people at my Aunty’s 50th, and had to use a monstrous amount of icing sugar to get the frosting to hold in the heat… so have faith in that powdery white magic! Have fun 🙂
Lemon and Raspberry Naked Layer Cake
Preparation Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, plus an additional 30 minutes at room temperature prior to serving
Lemon Cake, adapted from this Better Homes and Gardens recipe
- 4 eggs
- 350 g white sugar
- 500 g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 300 mL olive oil
- 240 mL buttermilk
- 250 mL lemon juice (4 lemons)
- 40 g finely grated lemon peel (4 lemons)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- 150 g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 300 g cream cheese
- 850 g pure icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (1 lemons)
- 200 g raspberries (fresh, or thawed from frozen)
- fresh flowers, cut to have a 1-2 cm stalk
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F fan-forced. Grease and line two 18 cm/7 inch cake tins.
- Beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed in an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until creamy and pale.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, gently whisk the olive oil, buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla together for a few minutes.
- Turn the electric beater to low speed, and alternate between adding 1/3 of the dry ingredients and then 1/3 of the wet to the egg mixture, beating gently between each addition until just incorporated. Do not over beat. After you add the last of the wet ingredients, turn the beater off and use a hand-whisker to gently work the batter until just smooth.
- Pour the mixture evenly into the two tins. Bang the cakes on the counter a couple of times to remove any large air bubbles. Bake the cakes on a central rack for 30-35 minutes, rotating them after 20-25 minutes to ensure even baking. The cakes are cooked when a metal skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean but moist.
- Allow the cakes to cool in their tins on a metal rack for 15 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely. Use a sharp serrated knife to slice off the domed tops, and halve the cakes to form 4 layers. Brush off any loose crumbs. If you have time, refrigerate the cooled cakes for half an hour or so before slicing them. This will make your life a lot easier!
Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- Prepare the frosting while the cakes are baking. Beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 5-10 minutes until pale, thick and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly.
- Turn the beater to low speed, and gradually add the icing sugar spoonful at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the lime zest and then beat on high speed for 5 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until the cakes have completely cooled and are ready to frost. You may have to give the refrigerated frosting another whip to get it back to a spreadable consistency before use.
- Dollop a spoonful of frosting on your cake board or serving plate, and secure the first cake layer upside down. Dollop 1 generous cup of frosting onto the first layer, then spread evenly right up to 1 cm from the edge using a butterknife or small offset spatula. Sprinkle 1/4 of the raspberries over the frosting. Place the second cake layer down, pressing gently from the centre outwards to spread the frosting to the edges. Repeat the layering process with the frosting, raspberries and remaining cake layers.
- Add the last 1/4 of the raspberries to the remaining frosting, and very gently and briefly swirl them through to marble the frosting. Frost a light coat over the entire cake. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour, until frosting is firm to touch.
- Use a clean metal spatula, butterknife or benchscraper to scrape back the surfaces of the cake, until the layers just show through the frosting. Practice arranging your flowers on a round plate, and once you’re happy with your design use a wooden skewer to poke holes in the surface of the cake for the larger flowers. Gently poke them in via their stalks, then arrange the smaller flowers around them. Voila!
Store the cake in the refrigerator. Decorate with flowers as close to serving as possible. Make sure the cake has been out of the fridge for at least half an hour before serving, to ensure the cake is soft and at room temperature.
Store the cake covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days, but best served within 1-2 days of baking.
Note: The cakes can be made up to 2 days in advance, and stored in an airtight container. Make the frosting on or before the day of serving, and store covered and refrigerated.