I fell in love with this recipe a few months ago!
I made it for a friend’s birthday and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Last time I made it, I iced the entire cake with coffee buttercream. After tasting it, I realized it didn’t need all of that so I went for the “naked” look.
I love cake, I love the endless possibilities and combinations and I love the balance of cake. When thinking up a new cake, balance is key, I love to have a moist cake layer, a light whipped cream filling of sorts, some fruit to add texture and freshness and icing to lock in all that goodness. If you have a heavy flavor, lighten it up with the fill or icing, etc so you can eat slice after slice. That is the goal isn’t it? And every cake I make represents me, so I want to make sure its the best!
Have you heard “naked” cakes? If you haven’t, pinterest has got you covered. If you know me, you probably know I’m not a fan of naked cakes. Naked cakes are basically cakes with no outer icing. Their close cousin is the partially iced cake where you can still see the layers of cake through the icing, I like to call those cakes “crumb coat” cakes. When people come to me about their wedding cakes I have two rules. No “naked” cakes and no fondant, well no fondant covered cakes, I am cool with some fondant decor once in a while. Why? Here’s why!
Reasons why I don’t like naked cakes for weddings:
- You are limited to flavors and fillings (nothing perishable, like whipped cream, etc) it ends up being buttercream and cake and I feel that cake can be so much more! Balance remember?!
- Naked cakes aren’t as stable.
- You have to bake the cake in a pan to achieve the darker edges (darker edges will help keep the moisture in and the edges won’t dry out as much) Which means you need the exact size pan. I bake my layers in sheets and cut out my layers for each cake so pans aren’t necessary. And I think you get the best part of the cake every time, the middle.
Reasons why I don’t like fondant in general:
- It tastes bad. (So I limit it to decorative pieces, that I know will be removed before consumption)
Anyways, I know I just threw a lot of shade at naked cakes just now, don’t get me wrong, I do feel like there is a time and place for naked cakes to shine. And this is that time. When done right, I think that naked cakes can be just as great as a regular cake. This cake had the right texture and moisture to make a great naked cake. I added in some coarsely chopped walnuts to give it a bit more texture and soaked the layers with simple syrup and coffee. This cake is perfect when paired with a hot cup of coffee. Eating this cake almost made me reconsider naked cakes for weddings.. almost
No need to refrigerate this cake, but if you do, be sure to let it come to room temp before serving, that buttercream needs to be soft and silky so it’ll melt right as you take a bite.
- ¼ cup walnut pieces
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, rm temp
- ½+1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk, rm temp, more if needed
- 1.4 C coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1# butter, rm temp
- 6 oz egg whites
- 12 oz sugar
- ½- 1/4 C Espresso
- Simple Syrup:
- ¼ C gran sugar
- ¼ C boiling water
- ½ tsp instant coffee
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 6-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper
- In food processor, combine ¼ cup walnut pieces and sugar
- Process to a fine powder, place in a large bowl
- Process butter, flour, baking powder, salt and eggs until smooth, add it to the sugar mixture
- Add 2 tablespoons milk and ¼ C coarsely chopped walnuts, mix to combine
- Mixture should be just soft enough to drop from a spoon, if not, add more milk
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until cake springs back to the touch and toothpick comes out clean
- Cool for ten minutes and depan on to a rack
- Cool completely, slice cake into three and lightly soak with simple syrup
- Place egg whites and sugar in a kitchen aid mixing bowl, whisk to combine
- Place over a bain marie (double boiler) and heat until you can no longer feel sugar granules
- Once it is warm enough, place it on the mixer and whip until the bowl is no longer warm to the touch
- Add in the room temperature butter a little at a time
- Once all the butter is in, scrape the bowl well and slowly add the coffee with the mixer running
- The coffee will get emulsified in, amount will vary and you can taste it to get it to where you like
- Simple Syrup:
- Combine all ingredients and mix until dissolved