Chic boho naked cakes are all the rage right now and I couldn’t resist making a special one for my daughter’s birthday. Since she loves all things lemon, I started with that as the base idea, then just had fun playing with additional flavors and design. Simply put, I created a naked lemon strawberry cake. The result: a stunning, sophisticated birthday cake fit for stunning, sophisticated young lady’s chic boho soirée.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy
Essentially, this is a lemon cake with strawberry filling. YUM! But there are a few special tricks that made this simply divine. First, I made a slightly dense lemon cake so it would support the strawberry filling.
The recipe, which I adapted from bake or break, is fairly straightforward and comes out perfect every time. Secondly, I opted for a Russian Buttercream frosting from the Cupcake Project (wait until you taste this decadent concoction!) because it’s not as sweet as regular buttercream. And there are only two basic ingredients! Butter and sweetened condensed milk. Because the strawberry filling is quite sweet and the cake dense and zesty, this light buttercream was the perfect way to bring it all together. And it fit the theme and flavor profiles of the party perfectly. Rustic and substantial with an elegant twist. A boho masterpiece!
Tastefully Simple Chic
The best thing about a naked cake is that not only is it elegant, it’s a lot less time-consuming. Because I chose to decorate with flowers and fruit that made it even more simple. Further, I opted for a straightforward basic cake batter recipe and super simple icing. Best of all I used this easy and delicious strawberry jam recipe which simplified the process even further. I made the icing and the cakes the day before so all that was left was to assemble everything about an hour before the party: a real bonus since I was a decorating fiend the morning of the party.
How to Make Boho Birthday Cake
The recipe for this naked strawberry lemon scratch birthday cake is almost as easy as using a box cake. Furthermore, you get a much denser crumb and you can control the flavors better. You simply mix together the dry ingredients with the zest of one lemon. After creaming the butter, sugar, and eggs together, you add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The final step is alternating adding in the dry ingredients with a cup of milk. It only takes about 10 minutes to make the batter. That’s a win for sure.
I wanted a tall cake so I made two separate batches, but I probably should have just doubled the recipe. After they had cooled, I wrapped them and put them in the freezer overnight. Working with frozen cake is a little easier and I wanted to assemble the cake right before the event because I was using fresh flowers and fruit as decorations.
Delicious Russian Buttercream
I’ve been seeing this trendy recipe all over and have been dying to try it, and I wasn’t disappointed. I did make some modifications to the basic recipe, and I think I’ll be trying all sorts of variations out because it is so easy. As I said, it’s basically a cup of butter and a can of sweetened condensed milk. But there are some caveats to producing the best product.
1) Take the butter out of the fridge 1 hour before making the frosting. Don’t let it get too warm or it will separate and not hold its shape.
2) Beat it for the entire 8-10 minutes. Don’t rush it. You are whipping in air and the butter will actually look whitish. Scrape down the sides often.
3) Be patient adding in the sweetened condensed milk. Two to three tablespoons at a time to achieve the best result. Keep scraping down so everything is incorporated well. At this point you could leave well enough alone, but I added 1\4 tsp sweet Meyer lemon flavoring, a 1/4 tsp. champagne flavoring, and a pinch of salt (a trick my Grandma Helen taught us to enhance the flavor of any buttercream.) This moved the flavors up a notch. Because I needed a stable icing to keep the strawberry filling contained, I also added 1\3 cup of powdered sugar to thicken the mixture and help it hold its shape. I’d skip this step if you only intend to frost and not pipe. Understated sweetness is better for this flavor profile. To further stabilize the icing, I put it in the fridge overnight.
Putting It All Together
Assembly time! To create this delicious naked strawberry lemon cake, put down a sheet of waxed paper on your cake stand to catch any drips and slips. I recommend putting the first cake layer down on a cardboard cake round so it’s easy to slip out the waxed paper when you’re done icing. Add a thin film of icing to the cake layer and then pipe around the perimeter. This keeps the jam from soaking into the cake or seeping out the sides.
Stir the jam in a separate bowl to get rid of big clumps and create a smoother consistency. Spread a layer of jam carefully inside the frosting ring.
Repeat the process for the remaining layers, but only frost the top layer.
Since it was warm in the house and I had some other things to finish up, I popped the cake back in the fridge for 1\2 hour before adding the flowers, fruit, and macaroons. And there you have it—a very fashionable boho cake that turned out to be the centerpiece of a rather chic celebration.
- Lemon Cream Cake
- 2 c. all-purpose or cake flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- zest of 1 medium lemon
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1-1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- juice of 1 medium lemon
- 1 c. milk
- Strawberry Filling
- 1-1/2 c. strawberry jam, stirred smooth
- Lemon Russian Buttercream Frosting
- 1 c. unsalted high-quality butter, removed from refrigerator 1 hour before mixing
- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 tsp. fresh Meyer lemon flavoring
- 1/4 tsp. champagne flavoring
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 c. powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 round cake tine (8-9 inches) by buttering, lining with parchment paper rounds, and buttering again.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until completely incorporated. Mix in the lemon juice.
- Reduce mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three stages alternating with the milk. Mix until just well combined. Do not overbeat or the cake will be tough.
- Divide the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans. Rotate the pans gently back and forth to even out the batter.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes and then invert onto cooling rack.
- Cakes must be completely cool before proceeding to the next steps. It is recommended that the cakes be wrapped and either refrigerated or frozen for several hours.
- To create the buttercream frosting, place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat on high for 8-10 minutes, scraping down frequently. If the butter becomes too warm and starts to separate, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and rewhip.
- Add sweetened condensed milk gradually about 3 Tablespoons at a time making sure the sweetened condensed milk is completely incorporated before adding the next round. When all of the sweetened condensed milk is incorporated, add the flavorings, pinch of salt and the powdered sugar. Place the buttercream in the refrigerator for several hours before assembling.
- To assemble the cake, spread a thin layer of the buttercream across the bottom layer then pipe a ring of frosting around the upper perimeter of the cake. Spread about 1/2 c. strawberry jam inside the frosting ring. Repeat the process with each layer except for the top layer which is only frosted and decorated.
- Store leftover cake in the refrigerator.
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