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 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
- Like a fruit pizza in cake form
- Adaptable to many cake flavors
What a beautiful choice for Memorial Day recipes!
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:
- Pistachio Cake
- Coconut Cake
- Lemon Cake
- Chocolate Cake (spongey and delicious!)
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 my vanilla cupcakes batter or 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.
If it’s helpful, see this parchment paper rounds for cakes video & post.
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. The pictured white flowers here are called kalanchoe flowers.
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.
See Your Fresh Berry Cakes!
Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂Print
Fresh Berry Cream Cake
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes (includes cooling and chilling)
- Yield: 12 servings
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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 (285g) cake flour (spooned & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (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, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans. (If it’s helpful, see this parchment paper rounds for cakes video & post.) 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, uncovered, 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. If chilling for longer than a few hours, you can carefully cover it with plastic wrap or use a cake carrier for storing in the refrigerator (what I always store my cakes in!). *Note that the berries could begin to release their juices if kept in the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours. For cutting, I recommend using your sharpest knife and cutting slowly.
- 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.
- 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
Like pound cake with fresh berries and cream, but much lighter!
Reader Comments & Reviews
I need a vanilla naked cake no fruit which recipe is best ?
Hi Diane, try this vanilla naked cake.
Perfect light dessert.
The cake was moist, spongy, and not dry. Not overly sweet.
Loved the almond extract in the whipped cream.
Rave reviews from friends!
Would definitely make again
I made a little different but all of your tips are super helpful and right on point. Thank you for making this process so much easier!
Hello. Could I decorate the outside with buttercream? If yes, which one would you recommend?
Hi Brigita, absolutely! You could use more whipped cream, or one of our vanilla frostings would also be great: vanilla buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, cream cheese frosting, or whipped frosting.
How many cups of batter does this make? (I need about 2 1/2 cups)
Hi Barbara, the batter recipe yields a little over 6 volume cups.
I was gifted a brownie bowl pan, but would love to use it to make a berry bowl. Would this recipe be appropriate for that? Or would another recipe from this site work better with that type of pan? (a pound cake, maybe? IDK). If this recipe is appropriate, any suggestions on oven temp & timing? This is for a birthday party & I’d hate to mess it up.
Hi Barbara, we haven’t baked with a brownie bowl pan before, so we’re really unsure how a cake would work with it. How about using our recipe for white chocolate brownies instead? Let us know if you try it!
Alas, I’ve made brownies in this pan before and and we found the bowls make too big a portion size for that kind of rich/heavy dessert. I just used Sally’s vanilla cupcake recipe to make individual berry bowls, and that (lighter) recipe proved perfect.
I did this cake using the suggested chocolate cake instead the white cake in a two layer version, for my son’s birthday, it was amazingly good, easy to make and incredibly beautiful. Thanks for this excellent recipe!!!
I’m embarrassed that it has taken me this long to rate the recipe I use more than any other. This is a perfect white cake, simple to make and with consistent results every time. I add sprinkles and clear vanilla extract for making a Milk Bar birthday confetti cake, lemon zest and curd for a lemon layer cake, almond extract and layers of jam for a simple white cake. My point is, make this cake. I’ve tried it in cupcakes as well and those were successful. One of my favorite recipes of Sally’s, and that’s saying something.
I’m so glad you love this cake. It’s absolutely one of my favorites and, yes, makes a great base for other flavors!
Good recipe, almost identical to the birthday cakes I make my sons. The only difference is that I purée about half the strawberries and fold it into the whipped cream before spreading it on the cake. The whipped cream becomes a pretty pink color.
How do you think it would taste if I paired it with your Not So Sweet Whipped Frosting?
Hi Martha, We’re sure it would be great! Enjoy.
Can’t wait to make this. 5 large egg whites is about how much In cups. I have a carton of egg whites
Hi Mel, there are approximately 8 large egg whites in 1 cup of liquid egg whites.
So excited to make this for a friend’s birthday this weekend! Can I add a little bit of food coloring to the whipped frosting? No worries if not, I’m relatively new to baking 🙂
A drop or 2 of gel food coloring would be just fine. Hope everyone enjoys!
Hi there. Making this cake for my sisters birthday and I’m very excited as all other recipes I have followed from your site have been amazing. However she requested jam between the layers, is it possible with this cake or would it get too slippery? And if so, how much jam would you recommend? Thank you xxxx
Hi Sarah, we haven’t tested this cake with jam filling, but see no reason it wouldn’t work. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out!
Hi! Love all your recipes, would love to try this one except with modifications for an egg allergy. I have an egg free vanilla cake recipe already but its a slightly dense cake. Would that be acceptable for a recipe like this or is it supposed to be light and fluffy? Thank you for everything!
Hi Jenny! Without trying your cake ourselves it is hard to say for certain, but this recipe works best with a lighter cake. If the cake layers are too heavy and dense, it could cause the whipped cream and berries to spill out the sides. You could, however, do a single layer of cake + whipped cream + berries like we do with this strawberry shortcake cake recipe.
This cake was delicious and very good for summer – I also made lemon curd with my yolks and it was so tasty. I would say that the cake itself was a little heavy and I would prefer a lighter mix.
I would definitely use the tip for all purpose + cornflour instead of cake flour. Firstly because I’m in the UK and we don’t have cake flour, but secondly because cake flour is bleached which is not good for your health (it’s not available in most countries because it’s illegal to bleach food funnily enough…). In the past I’ve always just used plain flour as I hadn’t heard of the cornflour thing. I’m sure it makes a difference but it’s always been a tasty end result regardless!
Am I able to make this with all purpose flour? And if so are the measurements the same?
Hi Charlotte, this cake would taste very heavy with the use of all-purpose flour. However, you can use all-purpose flour + cornstarch to make your own cake flour. We’d recommend doing that for best results!
Thank you so much!!
Hello, i’ve seen your recipe for vanilla cake and it doesnt have a sour cream? what is the difference of the recipe with and without sour cream? thank you! 🙂
Hi Bet, our vanilla cake yields a larger cake with a more dense crumb and a a strong vanilla flavor. This recipe uses our white cake, which is smaller with a lighter crumb. It simply depends on what you’re looking for!
Hi! I am thinking about baking this cake, WIll the whipped cream stay stabilized after I frost it?
It’s a little loose, but the cake won’t completely fall apart especially if it’s chilled. You could also try this whipped frosting— it’s a little sturdier.
Hello! This sounds perfect for my friends birthday celebration. How can I convert this to a single layer 9 inch square pan? And if that’s not a good idea, how about a sheet cake pan? thank you!
Hi Linda, This batter fits into a 9×13 inch pan. Simply pour the batter into a greased and lightly floured 9×13 pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Can I make only 2 8 inch layers with the same amount of batter? I want thicker layers but don’t want 3 layers. How would i alter the bake time?
Hi Kate! See recipe notes for details on baking a two layer cake.
Hello! Do you have measurements that would allow for a full 9 inch layer cake, since you mentioned that 9 inches may be thin?
Hi Emily, You can use this three layer Vanilla Cake for slightly thicker layers. Enjoy!
Thank you! Will the texture and taste still be the same between the naked cake and vanilla cake recipe, since they have slightly different ingredients?
WOW! I have baked at least 20 recipes from this site and this was in the top 3. Delicious and simple. Sally always makes it easy by walking you through the steps. It really does make a difference to have room temperature ingredients and also I recommend weighing your flour vs using a measuring cup.
Also that little bit of almond extract really elevates the whipped cream.
Make this! You won’t be disappointed.