Using any soft/light cake recipe of your choice, you can create a delicious fresh berry cream cake. I recommend using my white cake recipe below or you could even try chocolate, pistachio, or a 6 inch cake instead. This minimally decorated naked-style cake is layered between fresh and fluffy whipped cream and piled high with juicy berries.
Channeling my strawberry shortcake cake with this one!
Tell Me About This Fresh Berry Cream Cake
Using practically any soft/light cake recipe of your choice, you can create a naked-style cake with three lovely layers of whipped cream and fresh berries. If decorating layer cakes makes you nervous, this cake is FOR YOU; no complicated decorating involved!
I chose my vanilla flavored white cake because it’s ultra soft and sponge-like, which pairs beautifully with light whipped cream and summer berries. Heavier cakes would make this difficult to cut and serve. I have a list of other cake flavors you can use below.
This cake is:
- Towering tall with whipped cream and berries
- Light, fresh, and naked-style
- Very easy to decorate– less is more!
- Celebrating the season’s fresh flavors
- Adaptable to many cake flavors
Use Any Cake You Love
Let’s talk cake flavors. As I mentioned above, I use my white cake recipe. I divide the batter between 3 round cake pans. I used 8-inch cake pans for the pictured cake. Three 9-inch pans work too, but the cake layers will be pretty thin. I love using this white cake recipe because it’s soft, moist, and doesn’t overpower the delicate whipped cream or fresh berries. It’s made with cake flour, egg whites, and sour cream to guarantee the softest crumb. Highly recommended! If white cake isn’t your ideal choice, I have a few other flavor ideas. Most are actually adapted from my white cake recipe:
You Could Also Make a 6 Inch Cake
Don’t want to make such a large cake? You can use this exact decorating technique on a 6 inch cake. I have plenty of 6 inch cake flavor ideas in my 6 Inch Cake Recipes post. (Use any cupcake batter!) Simply halve the amount of whipped cream and berries.
Prepare the Cake Pans
No matter which size round cake pans you use, I always recommend lining them with parchment paper rounds. Cakes release seamlessly from the pans this way:
- Make a parchment paper round. Trace the bottom of the cake pans on a large piece of parchment paper. Cut out the parchment circles.
- Very lightly grease the baking pans.
- Place the parchment round inside.
- Grease the parchment round too. Using butter or nonstick spray, I grease the pan AND the parchment. This promises an ultra non-stick environment for your cake. Never any sticking.
Garnishes for Fresh Berry Cream Cake
- Whipped Cream: I recommend the whipped cream recipe below, which yields plenty for a 3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake. (See recipe note about a 6 inch cake.) It’s a slightly scaled up version of my vanilla whipped cream. I add a little almond extract for extra flavor, but that’s optional. You know what would be equally tasty? The mocha whipped cream from my flourless chocolate cake— double that whipped cream to ensure you have enough for a 3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake. Interested in chocolate whipped cream? Add 3 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 extra Tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar to the recipe below. You could also flavor the whipped cream with various extracts such as lemon extract, orange extract, coconut extract, etc. Leave out the almond extract, replace with 1/2 teaspoon of your desired flavor, taste the finished whipped cream, then fold in more extract if desired.
- Fresh Berries: Layer fresh berries into the cake on top of the layers of whipped cream. You can use blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or even fresh sliced cherries.
- Florals: Use edible flowers or flowers that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. Avoid strong-smelling flowers as the smell may linger on the cake.
3 Final Success Tips
- Level your cakes. Level off the top of each cake layer so both sides are flat. This is important because flat and even layers add stability to your finished cake. You can use a cake leveler or large serrated knife. I always use a serrated knife.
- Keep it simple. Make it easy on yourself! I’ve seen many naked cake recipes that call for a soak in simple syrup to prevent it from drying out. You can absolutely take this route, but I don’t find it necessary if your cake is moist to begin with (like the white cake below or any others listed above).
- The refrigerator is your friend. Chill this assembled cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving. Why? This stabilizes all of your hard work! It helps the whipped cream adhere to the cake layers and ensures a neater slice.
Video Tutorial: Decorating the Cake
This minimally decorated naked-style cake is layered between fresh and fluffy whipped cream and piled high with juicy berries.
- 2 and 1/2 cups (250g) sifted cake flour* (spoon & leveled – sift before measuring)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature*
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (yes, Tbsp!)
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, at room temperature*
Whipped Cream & Berries
- 2 cups (480ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup (5 Tablespoons; 40g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 2 cups fresh berries (any berry or mix of berries)
- optional: dusting of confectioners’ sugar and/or fresh florals
- Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease three 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper rounds (see #6 in Cake Baking Tips), then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans. I recommend using nonstick spray for greasing. I also recommend 8 inch cake pans as the 9 inch cakes will be pretty thin.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites. Beat on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 22-24 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 assembling.
- Make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for decorating cakes. Use immediately or cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Yields about 4 cups.
- Assemble cake: If cooled cakes are domed on top, use a large serrated knife to slice a thin layer off the tops to create a flat surface. This is called “leveling” the cakes. (Discard thin layer or crumble over ice cream.) Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly spread 1 heaping cup of whipped cream on top. I always use an icing spatula to spread. Arrange a single layer of mixed berries on top. Top with 2nd cake layer. Spread another 1 heaping cup of whipped cream on top, then a single layer of berries. Top with 3rd cake layer. Spread remaining whipped cream on top and garnish with fresh berries. Add a dusting of confectioners’ sugar on the berries, if desired, and/or garnish with fresh florals.
- Chill the assembled cake for at least 2 hours (and up to 1 day) before slicing and serving. This time in the refrigerator helps the whipped cream thicken and makes cutting neater and easier. Note that the berries could begin to release their juices if kept in the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cake through step 4. Wrap the individual baked and cooled cake layers tightly and keep at room temperature for 1 day or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature (if frozen) then continue with step 5. See How to Freeze Cakes if desired. Whipped cream can also be made 1 day ahead of time. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. If it’s too stiff after refrigerating, stir in 1 extra Tablespoon of heavy cream or even milk to help thin out. I don’t recommend freezing the assembled cake as the whipped cream and berries won’t thaw very nicely. However, you can wrap and freeze leftover individual slices for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before enjoying.
- Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this 3x, then remove 1/2 cup since you need 2 and 1/2 cups in this recipe.
- Leftover Egg Yolks: Make some lemon curd! You can add thin layers of it between the cake layers on top of the whipped cream and under the berries. Here are other recipes where you can use leftover egg yolks.
- Whole milk and sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cake may not be as light. Same goes with a lower fat milk.
- Other Flavor Cakes: See above for alternative flavor ideas. Each cake listed yields a 3 layer 9-inch cake. If you want a 3 layer 8 inch cake instead, add about 2 minutes of bake time to its recipe. If using chocolate cake, see those recipe notes about turning into a 3 layer cake.
- 2 Layer Cake: I highly recommend sticking to a 3 layer cake for this look. A 2 layer cake would be pretty short. If desired, though, use this white cake recipe (which is 2 layers) or turn any 3 layer cakes listed above into a 2 layer 9-inch cakes by extending the bake time. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Halving the whipped cream should leave you with plenty for a 2 layer cake. Use a heaping 1 cup of fresh berries.
- 6 Inch Cake: You can use this exact decorating technique on a smaller 6 inch cake. I have plenty of 6 inch cake flavor ideas in my 6 Inch Cake Recipes post. Halve the ingredients in the whipped cream recipe and use only about 1 cup of berries.
Keywords: naked cake, fresh berry cake, whipped cream
How to Join Sally’s Baking Challenge
Make the fresh berry cream cake using the recipe above or any alternative cake flavor or size. If you’re not into this recipe, here is the alternate July Baking Challenge:
After you make the fresh berry cream cake or the alternate recipe, email me your recipe photo. Feel free to also share it on social media using #sallysbakingchallenge. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below!
By emailing your photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge for the $250 Amazon gift card prize. We keep track of your photos and randomly select 1 winner at the end of the month. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on July 30th 2020 at 5pm ET. The winner will be selected at random and posted in the August Baking Challenge blog post on July 31st 2020.
Visit the Sally’s Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions about my baking challenges!
Like pound cake with fresh berries and cream, but much lighter!