Naked White Layer Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A naked cake is a bare bones cake without a covering of frosting or fondant. You can choose to fill the inside layers with a frosting and filling of your choice, letting the frosting simply peak out between the layers. Or, after filling and frosting the inside layers apply a thin crumb coat to seal in the crumbs but let the cake show through. Either way is simple, rustic, and beautiful.

I used a delicious white cake recipe, Perfect Ermine Buttercream for the frosting and crumb coat, and Blueberry Sauce for a fruit filling. I also used Gumpaste Roses for a simple decoration, or you can decorate the cake with edible fresh flowers such as fresh roses or fresh fruit if you prefer.
Recipe type: Dessert | Butter Layer Cake | Naked Cake
Serves: 10 to 12 servings
Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pans
Cake Batter:
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
Blueberry Sauce
Perfect Ermine Buttercream:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside. Tip: It is important to pre-sift the flour 2 or 3 times before measuring, otherwise the flour will be compacted and you will have too much flour in the recipe. After sifting lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir the milk and vanilla together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color.
  4. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the milk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and milk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended. Set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer just until stiff peaks form and the egg whites are still shiny. Using a balloon type wire whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter, and then fold in the remaining egg whites.
  7. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon. Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
  8. Assembly: Cut tops of cakes with a serrated kitchen knife so they are level. Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Pipe an even layer of buttercream on the bottom layer making sure buttercream is spread out to the edges. Tip: if you want to add a fruit filling first build up the outer edges of buttercream a bit higher than the middle. Spread about ½ cup of fruit filling over the middle, then spread a bit more buttercream over the fruit filling to make the same height as the outer edges.
  9. Place a second layer on top, press down a bit on the cake to make everything is level, and fill as you did for the bottom layer.
  10. Place the last cake layer on top, upside down so the flat bottom of the cake is facing up to make a nice flat top.
  11. If desired, crumb coat the cake by covering the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream; smooth with an offset spatula, removing excess buttercream. The cake should show through the crumb coat for the naked cake look. Let the cake sit, or refrigerate, until the crumb coat is dried to the touch. At this point you can cover the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate to firm the layers, about one hour or overnight.
  12. Garnish: When the crumb coat is set, decorate with Gumpaste Roses, or use fresh fruit or fresh edible flowers
Source: Walter, Carole, Great Cakes, Random House, New York, 1991; Beranbaum, Rose Levy, The Cake Bible, William Morrow and Company Inc., New York, 1988; Baking Illustrated, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, 2004
Recipe Notes
Pan: Three 8" Round Layers Pan Prep: Greased and floured Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and refrigerate

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Perfect Ermine Buttercream, Blueberry Sauce, Gumpaste Roses

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