With the glorious Great British Bake Off’s return to our screens imminent, we’ve definitely got baking on the brain. Naked cakes have been served up at weddings all season, so we’re predicting they’ll be a strong presence in the Bake Off tent this year. You can just imagine Mary and Paul being presented with showstoppers the likes of these, can’t you?
But if, like us, you find these beauties a little daunting, why not start small? Hannah Miles’ latest book Naked Cakes is full of bakes of all sizes, styles and flavours so there really is something for everyone here. So we thought we'd share a recipe with you, by way of an introduction to naked baking! And if you’re taking part in your own bake off, we reckon you’d be onto a winner with these mini Victorias. So pretty.
Mini Victoria layer cakes
One of my favourite cakes is a classic sandwich cake. In fact, I don’t know anyone who will refuse a slice of Victoria sponge! These cakes are my mini version, and are elegantly topped with rose buds and sandwiched together with cream and jam. You can replace the cream with classic buttercream if you prefer, although I find fresh cream gives a lighter, less-sweet finish to these little cakes. The rose buds are for decoration only and should not be eaten. If you want to serve an edible decoration, top with crystallized rose petals instead.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
115 g butter, softened
115 g caster sugar
115 g self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon buttermilk or sour cream
300 ml double cream
4 tablespoons raspberry jam
icing sugar, for dusting
8 food-safe, pesticide-free mini rose buds
8 x 6.5-cm/2½-inch cake rings, greased and placed on a greased baking sheet
2 piping bags fitted with large round nozzles
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Use an electric whisk to mix the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Add the eggs and whisk again. Fold in the flour, baking powder and buttermilk or sour cream using a spatula, until incorporated. Use as directed in your recipe.
Fold the vanilla into the cake batter and divide the mixture equally between the prepared cake rings. You can do this either by spooning the batter in, or by putting the batter in a piping bag and piping it in neatly. Bake in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and spring back to the touch. Leave the cakes to cool in the rings for a few minutes, then remove by sliding a sharp knife around the inside of each ring. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
When you are ready to serve, whip the cream to stiff peaks using a whisk. Spoon the cream into the piping bag with a round nozzle/tip. Cut each cake into thirds horizontally using a large serrated knife. Spoon a little jam onto the bottom third of each cake and then pipe a swirl of cream on top. Top each with the middle slice of cake and a little more jam and cream. Finish each cake with the cake top and dust with icing sugar. Pipe a little cream on the top of each cake in the middle and fix a rose in place. The flowers are for decorative purposes only and should be removed as you cut the cake. Never eat floral decorations unless you are certain it is safe to do so.
Serve straight away or store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. As these cakes contain fresh cream, they are best eaten on the day they are made, although they will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Naked Cakes by Hannah Miles is available here.