Naked cakes are best made (and eaten) on the day. If you are looking for the perfect afternoon tea delight try my vanilla cake recipe.
What you will need…
This cake is for an 8 inch (20cm) round cake tin. I bake 2 of these and then slice and stack them so my cakes are nice and tall.
250g butter (at room temp or zapped in the microwave for a teeny bit to soften)
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
185g plain flour
60g self-raising flour
2 tablespoons milk
Grease and line your tin so that the baking paper is sitting at least 5cms over the top of the tin. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (convection NOT fan forced).
Beat the vanilla, butter and sugar until light and fluffy and pale in colour. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each edition. Fold in the flours and then add the milk. Do not overmix – you just to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
Spoon the mixture into your baking tin and bake for around 1 hour and 20 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the fillings.
Top tips for a perfectly baked vanilla cake
Beat your eggs, butter and vanilla until the mixture is a beautiful pale light colour. This can take up to 10 mins on medium or high speed depending on your mixer. If you get this step right then you will have a beautiful, light, fluffy and soft cake.
Gently fold through the flour and milk ingredients so that the air bubbles creating from all the mixing do not disappear leaving you with a dense dry cake.
What you will need…
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
Freeze dried lemon powder (optional)
Sterilized jars for storing
Beat whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth. I use an electric mixer for this stage. Add this mixture to a heavy based saucepan and simmer over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and (lemon powder if using) and whisk continuously until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised jar. Lemon curd will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks but mine never lasts that long!
Use the lemon curd to spread between layers of the vanilla cake. Mix it up with buttercream and lemon curd for an even richer flavour.
What you will need…
1.5 cups frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1⁄4 cup sugar
In a small sauce pan Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy based saucepan and slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat (keep stirring until thickened). Let cool completely before spreading onto cake.
Use the raspberry filling between layers of vanilla cake or mix it up with buttercream.
My favourite fillings for fondant cakes
When working with a fondant cake which is made in advance of the event it’s best to stick to a filling that will hold its shape and does not contain too much moisture (such as jams or fresh fruit). Otherwise, you run the risk of spoiling the cake or it may lose its shape.
I prefer to use a ganache or buttercream as my basic filling and then build up the flavour. You can grab my ganache and buttercream recipes in my free cake decorating book here. My book also teaches you how to slice your cake into even layers too!
The best types of flavouring to add to ganache are oils. I like to use LorAnn Professional Kitchen Flavouring Oils. They come in so many flavours from coffee to pistachio! They are inexpensive and a few drops goes a long way because they are concentrated. You can find these flavours at your local cake decorating store. In the Inner West you can try Essential Ingredient Rozelle or Iced Affair in Camperdown. On the north side, I love Cake Decorating Solutions in Willoughby.
I absolutely love flavouring my buttercream with powdered flavouring as the flavours are so intense. Liquids or products with moisture (such as jams or curds) may cause the buttercream to curdle and the cake to lose its shape so avoid those in fondant cakes. My favourite flavour is freeze dried raspberry. It is available from Essential Ingredient Rozelle or on-line. I add this to my buttercream and combine it with my signature dark chocolate mud cake recipe. The combination of sweet and sour is incredible!
Image credits from Pinterest: Lemon Curd Dishmaps, Livforcake, Clockwork Lemon and Lemon Grove diaries