Just like fashion, I’ve learned baking does tend to go through trends, particularly as it relates to cakes. And, as it goes naked cakes are having a moment. A ‘naked cake’ is one in which the only icing is within a cakes layers and not on the outside of the cake. Since it’s now officially summer and the temp only continues to increase, I figured since I myself am going to be wearing less clothing in the coming months it’s only natural my cakes should too.
Strawberries are also having a moment. We are entering upon peak strawberry season and I started planning this weekends baking adventure around them. There are few better combinations then strawberries + cream, and when you add light-as-air chiffon cake layers into that mix it’s a hot summer evenings best dessert.
The basil whipped cream is a unique touch and really helps cut through the sweetness. Helpful tip: I like to whip my cream with a hand mixer vs. my Kitchenaid. You have more control over the process. Cream, when whipped too much will hit it’s breaking point and start to turn into butter. This may or may not have happened to me before. But hey, we all make mistakes. Just ask my ex boyfriend.
Now, go forth and fill your Summer with nakedness. Cake form, or otherwise.
*Recipe from Layered . I halved it and made one 6″, 5 layer cake
Butter or nonstick cooking spray, for the pans
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grapes oil
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup whole milk
8 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 to 1 1/2 cups lightly packed, fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 quart fresh strawberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and set aside
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the oil and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, and mix for about 3 minutes. The mixture will increase in volume and be pale in color. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into a large bowl and set aside.
Clean the mixer bowl thoroughly and dry it well. In the clean bowl of these and mixer fit with the whisk attachment, whisk he egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Add the remaining two tablespoons of sugar and the cream of tartar and whisk on high until stiff peaks form.
Stop the mixer and carefully but deliberately fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let them rest on a wire rack until cook before running a paring knife or metal spatula around the edges of the cakes and removing them from their pans.
For the Basil Whipped Cream, slowly heat 2 cups of the cream in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until it begins to simmer.
Meanwhile, gently muddle the basil leaves with a mortar and pestle.
Once the cream begins to steam and simmer, remove the pan from the heat. Add the basil leaves,c over and let them steep for 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a container and refrigerate until cold.
Strain out the basil leaves. Remeasure the cream and top it off with more cream if necessary, so that you have a total of 2 cups.
Using a hand mixer, whisk the cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk on high until it forms medium peaks.
To assemble, hull and slice the fresh strawberries 1/4 inch thick until you have about 4 cups.
Once the cakes have cooled completely, halve them horizontally to create four even layers. Level the cakes and choose which layer will be the bottom. Place it on a cake plate or serving dish and spread on one-quarter of the basil whipped cream (about 1 cup) and 1 cup of the sliced berries. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.