This Naked Strawberry Layer Cake is made with fresh Strawberry Meringue Buttercream and fluffy vanilla cake layers. Finished with a white chocolate ganache drip around the edges, this cake is a great centerpiece for every special occasion!
This Semi-Naked Strawberry Layer Cake is a perfect summer cake!
Chocolate and Strawberries are one of my favorite flavor combinations and together they make this cake super delicious. The meringue buttercream is made with fresh strawberry puree and the cake is topped with a white chocolate ganache drip.
It looks fancy but actually, the drip on the cake is easy to accomplish. Your ganache just has to have the right temperature – not too runny but not too thick. The hardest part is to be patient while waiting for the white chocolate ganache to cool down!
It’s also important that your cake is chilled. Put it in the fridge after you finished assembling it and smooth the buttercream on the sides so you have a good base for your drip magic.
The easiest way is to take a teaspoon and start with a little bit of chocolate around the edge of the cake.
Work your way around and then fill the center of the cake. You have to keep an eye on the consistency of the chocolate. If it gets too thick reheat it a bit to make it easier to work with.
The cake needs to go back to the fridge after decorating it. I recommend keeping the cake in the fridge until you serve it especially on hot days.
Some cakes get dense in the fridge but the great thing about the vanilla cake I used as a base for this cake is that it stays fluffy even when it’s chilled.
Naked Strawberry Layer Cake
For the vanilla cake:
- ½ cup butter, room temperature, 115g
- 1 cup granulated sugar, 200g
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, 60g
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk, 120 ml
- ½ cup vegetable oil, 120 ml
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 185g
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
For the strawberry puree:
- 8 medium strawberries
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
For the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream:
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp strawberry puree
For the White Chocolate Ganache:
- 5 ½ ounces white chocolate, chopped, 150g
- ¼ cup heavy cream, 60ml
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease five 6-inch cake pans.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar on medium-high for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs and mix for 3 minutes at the same speed.
- Set the speed to low and slowly stream in vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix for 6 minutes. The mixture should be white and fluffy.
- In a small bowl combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the mixture and mix for 1 minute until just combined and no lumps are remaining.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Tap the cake pans on the countertop to even out the layer and release air bubbles.
- Bake the cakes for 25 minutes. Rotate the pans after 15 minutes. The cakes will remain slightly buttery and dense but the center should no longer be jiggly.
- Take the cakes out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.
- Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Strawberry Meringue Buttercream:
- You need a perfectly clean bowl to make Meringue Buttercream otherwise the egg whites won’t get stiff. Place sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk until combined. Place the bowl over a hot water bath on the stove. Heat the egg mixture while whisking constantly for about 3 minutes until a candy thermometer registers between 150 to 160°F (65-70°C) and the mixture is no longer grainy to the touch.
- Return the mixing bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix the egg mixture on medium-high for about 5 - 10 minutes until the meringue is stiff and cooled. You want glossy peaks to appear.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and lower the speed to medium-low. Slowly add the cubed butter, one tablespoon at a time. Mix until smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract and whip until smooth. Add the strawberry puree one tablespoon at a time. Don’t force too much liquid into the buttercream. The buttercream may look like it's curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
White Chocolate Ganache:
- Place the heavy cream into a microwave-safe container and heat for 20-30 second, until it just starts to boil.
- Pour the cream over the white chocolate, making sure that most of the chocolate is covered. Don’t stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes stir until the white chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth.Set aside to cool completely before using on cake.
- Place on layer of the cake on a cake stand. Top with meringue buttercream and spread evenly. Repeat with remaining layers and finish with buttercream on top. To make the cake semi-naked, smear buttercream on the cake. Once all of the sides are covered, use a scraper and run it around the cake. Clean the scraper each time you loose contact with the cake. Scrap until you have a light covering of buttercream on the surface of the cake and a smooth finish. Chill for 40 minutes.
- Use a teaspoon to drip the white chocolate ganache along the top edges then fill in the rest of the top with ganache.
The recipe for the vanilla cake is adapted from Milkbar and the Strawberry Meringue Buttercream from Style Sweet CA.