Vanilla Semi-Naked Cake with Cherry Filling

This rustic and chic cake presentation has been all the rage for the past few years, popping up everywhere on the wedding, baby shower, bridal shower, birthdays and party scenes.

There are 2 types of naked cakes. The cake in today’s photos is called a “semi-naked” or “half dressed” cake. There’s a minimal amount of frosting swiped around the sides. So in other words, a semi-naked cake is a crumb-coated cake. Or you can simplify the design even further with a true naked cake. This means the sides of the cake are bare. Both styles are simple, approachable, and beautiful.

I created a semi-naked cake for my sister's birthday this past weekend. This was my first time baking a cake, and to be honest I was terrified of taking on such task. But what I love about this cake is that you have creative control. You can decorate and style the naked cake in your own unique way, which makes this recipe 100x more fun.

For this cake you’ll need a layer cake. I have provided the recipes for the vanilla layer cake below. Two or three layer cakes provide enough height to work with. I created my sister's birthday cake with two layer cakes.


For the Vanilla Sponge

3 and 3/4 cups (431g) sifted all-purpose flour*

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 cups (400g) granulated sugar

5 large eggs (egg whites only)

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (yes, Tbsp!)

1 cup (237ml) sour cream

optional: cherry filling (or any other fillings)

For the Vanilla Buttercream

1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

5–6 cups (600-720g) confectioners’ sugar

5–6 Tablespoons (75-90ml) heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

finishing decorations (see post above for inspiration!)


For the vanilla sponge

1. Pre-heat your oven at 180°C / 350°F .

2. Put the softened butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric whip.

3. Add one by one and little by little, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract. Beat until fully incorporated.

4. Butter and flour two cake tins. Divide mixture equally between both tins. Put into the oven for 25 minutes.

5. Let out of the oven. Let cool for 25 minutes. Remove both sponges from their tins. Put on a rack and let cool.

For the Vanilla Buttercream

6. Mix in a large bowl softened butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Beat with an electric mixer until fully incorporated.

7. Set aside 1/4 of the mixture in a small bowl.

8. Cover the top of the first sponge with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream frosting. Add a layer of cherry filling (or any other filling of your choice or none at all) on top of that frosting . Put the other sponge atop. semi cover the cake with the buttercream frosting. Let set in the fridge for a few minutes.

9. decorate the cake with fresh flowers, berries, nuts, seeds and herbs. I kept it simple using florals and macarons, but you can go wild.

10. Cut yourself a slice, pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!


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