Watch my step-by-step video tutorial to learn how to make my DIY Flower Cake & Cupcakes.
Vanilla "Naked" Cake
Urban Farm Girl's Vanilla "Naked" Cake is perfect for birthdays, baby showers, and weddings. Naked cakes, have zero to minimal frosting on the outside, and expose the cake layers and filling. They are simple and easily decorated for whatever the occasion. Dressed up or down this cake is perfect! This recipe can be used for cupcakes as well!
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9-inch cake pans.
Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On medium-high speed, add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix this batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick.
There is about 8 cups of batter total, so each layer will be 2 and 2/3 cups. Pour/spread batter evenly into prepared cake pans. If you're worried about uneven cake layers, you can use a kitchen scale and weigh the cake pans for accuracy. (The weight of just the batter in my cake pans was about 1 lb 6 ounces.)
Bake for around 25-26 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add 5 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 5 Tablespoons heavy cream, the vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin, 1 more Tablespoon cream if frosting is too thick, or a pinch more of salt if frosting is way too sweet. Yields about 4.5 cups of frosting.
Assemble and decorate the cake: Watch the video above for a tutorial on assembling and decorating this naked cake. First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand, a cake turntable, or serving plate. Spread 1 and 1/2 cups of frosting evenly on top. Top with 2nd cake layer and evenly cover the top with another 1 and 1/2 cups of frosting. Top with the third cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting on top and all around the sides using an icing spatula. Use a bench scraper to smooth out the frosting on the sides of the cake. If you're making a full naked cake, just spread the remaining frosting on top of the cake. If you have leftover frosting, you can freeze it for up to 3 months and thaw in the refrigerator for next time.
Decorate the cake with flowers. Watch the video for the tutorial!
Refrigerate the cake for 2-3 hours or up to 1 day before slicing and serving. If chilling for more than a few hours, loosely cover with plastic wrap after 1 hour of refrigeration. (The frosting will "set" after about 1 hour and the plastic wrap won't really ruin your frosting at that point.) And if you're chilling for more than a few hours, I suggest decorating with flowers right before serving (so the flowers will not wilt).
Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Sift flour before measuring. *If needed, you can use whole milk mixed with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice instead of buttermilk. All refrigerated items should be at room temperature to ensure the batter mixes together easily and evenly.