Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake


Someone once said “A celebration without cake is just a meeting.” How right they were. Whether it is birthdays, weddings, christenings, or any other form of celebration, cakes almost always feature.  Hawkshead Relish recently won Small Business Of The Year 2017. After reviewing and using their delicious jams, chutneys and more recently spreads, I am absolutely thrilled for them. To celebrate their award I offered to make a cake featuring their best selling Raspberry and Vanilla Jam. Here is the Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake made in celebration of such an amazing achievement.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake.

Three layers of light, vanilla sponge, sandwiched together with vanilla bean buttercream and raspberry vanilla jam. Covered lightly, yet incompletely with the same buttercream. Most of all, giving a very ‘on trend’ semi-naked finish to the cake. Finished with edible garden flowers, from my garden, that reflect the geographic location of Hawkshead Relish, situated in the historic village of Hawkshead within the English Lake District.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake in the sunshine.

Embellish with relish

Using locally sourced ingredients Hawkshead Relish do not use any artificial additives or preservatives. Completely free from nuts, their range is also suitable for vegetarians. Holding 50 Great Taste awards, each product is made in small batches using traditional methods. Resulting in outstanding taste and quality, from a family run business.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake layered with buttercream and the very best jam.

Using the Hawkshead Relish motto “Embellish with Relish,” I’ve enjoyed creating recipes using their products. Especially when including them as ingredients in their own right. When creating my Red Onion Sausage Plait, using their Red Onion Marmalade is a vital to the flavour of the finished bake. So unique are the flavours of their chutneys and sauces, they deserve more than to be spooned on to the side of a plate. Since including relish within recipes, a whole world of flavour combinations became unlocked.

Recipe: Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake serves 14-16

  • To make the 3 cake sponges:
  • 275g/10oz Unsalted Butter + 100g/4oz both at room temperature
  • 275g/10oz Caster Sugar + 100g/4oz
  • 3tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey
  • 1/4tsp + 1/8tsp Sea Salt  – I use Maldon
  • 6 Large Free Range Eggs + an additional 3
  • 275g/10oz Plain White Flour + 100g/4oz
  • 2.5tsp Baking Powder + 1tsp
  • To make the buttercream:
  • 500g/12oz Icing Sugar
  • 250g/9oz Unsalted Butter softened to room temperature
  • 2tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2  Jars Raspberry and Vanilla Jam from – Hawkshead Relish
  • 2-3tbsp Very Hot Water from a recently boiled kettle
  • To decorate the cake:
  • A selection of organic, pesticide free edible flowers. Both mint and lavender flowers were sourced from our garden.

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F

Making and baking the cake:

You will need 3 x 18cm/7″ approx 7cm/2.5″ deep, loose bottom sponge tins. Since most people own only 2 tins, this method is written with that taken into account. Therefore, two separate bakes are included. First of all, making the batter and baking two sponges. Followed by making the batter and baking one sponge. Finally, if you own and have oven space for three sponges to be made and baked together, simply follow the steps, using the total ingredients.

  • First of all, lightly butter the baking tins. Cover the base in baking parchment.
  • Into a large bowl add the first amount of sugar, butter and salt.
  • Whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Next add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 6 whole eggs.
  • Whisk everything together until combined.
  • Follow by sieving in the flour and baking powder.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until combined. Always take care not to over beat, or the resulting cake will be tough.
  • Divide the cake batter equally between 2 greased and lined tins. If using the entire mix divide between 3 tins.
  • Place the tins in the top and centre of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Preparing and baking the cake sponges.
  • When they have turned golden brown and spring back from a light touch the cakes are fully baked.
  • Remove from the oven, allowing each cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
  • Wash up one cake tin and follow the steps given to make a single sponge cake.
  • Make and bake as before. Each of the 3 sponges must be fully cooled before icing.

Building The Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake:

During the cake icing process, chilling of the iced cake in a fridge is required. Therefore a cake board, or flat plate is needed for transferring the cake. Also a cake decorating turntable is helpful for ensuring a smooth even finish to the buttercream. Alternatively use a cake stand large enough to accommodate the cake board/plate. A palette knife and large piping bag are also required.

Making the vanilla buttercream:

  • Into a large bowl add the softened butter and vanilla bean paste.
  • Sieve the icing sugar into the same bowl.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of very hot water from the kettle and start whisking the ingredients on a low speed.
  • Continue whisking until the buttercream has turned very pale and has a light, creamy consistency.
  • Place the cake board on to the cake stand.
  • Next, put a small dollop of buttercream on to the centre of the board. Spread the icing so that it is slightly smaller than the diameter of a cake sponge.
  • Lay the first sponge, flat side uppermost on to the board. The buttercream anchors the cake to the board, providing a stable base.
  • Spread 4 generous tablespoons of jam on to the cake. Leave a 2cm gap between the jam and the edge of the cake.
  • Next, take a separate sponge and add a generous dollop/4tbsp of buttercream to the top.
  • Using a palette knife, spread the buttercream evenly so that it covers the sponge.
  • Carefully lift and flip the sponge, placing it on top of the jam sponge, buttercream side facing down. See the photos below for guidance.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Layering each sponge with jam and buttercream.
  • Repeat the last steps, with the remaining sponge. However, this time the sponge should be placed flat side down. Hence leaving the finished, stacked cake with a natural top.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
3 sponge cake layers stacked. Also covering the top in buttercream.

Creating a (semi) naked effect:

  • Spoon a generous amount/5tbsp of buttercream on to the top of the cake.
  • Again, using a palette knife, spread the buttercream so that it covers the top of the cake evenly.
  • Fill a large, disposable piping bag with the remaining buttercream. Snip the end of the bag to give a 1cm opening. A nozzle is not required.
Covering the side of the cake with buttercream.
  • The purpose of piping buttercream is to fill in any gaps. Similar to plastering, buttercream is added and then smoothed on to the cake sides. During this process buttercream will be added and then taken off. Resulting in a ‘naked cake’ finish.
  • Pipe the buttercream in between each layer of the cake, including the base and the cake board. Take care not to get jam mixed with the buttercream.
  • Holding a palette knife at a slight angle to the side of the cake, slowly turn the cake stand. As the buttercream spreads across the cake it will also accumulate on the palette knife. Scrape the palette knife against the side of the butter bowl to remove any excess.
  • Continue turning the cake, piping buttercream on to any bare spots, until the sides of the cake are roughly covered. See bottom left photo above.

Creating a smooth finish:

  • The next stage is creating a smooth, even finish across the entire cake.
  • Fill a jug with very hot water. Wipe any buttercream from the palette knife and then place it in the hot water. Since the heat of the knife melts buttercream, it is very helpful in creating the smoothest finish.
  • Remove the palette knife, wipe off any water and then hold it flat against the side of the cake. Rotate the cake slowly. When you start to feel a dragging sensation, turn the knife over and repeat. Creating a completely smooth cake requires a lot of repetition of these steps. Repeat until the sides of the cake are smooth.
  • Now use the same technique for smoothing the cake top. As soon as the cake top is smooth, run a hot palette knife around the outside of the top cake layer. Creating a smooth top and sides is the aim.
  • While it is tempting to keep going, there does come a point at which the cake is satisfactorily smoothed. Part of the beauty of naked cakes, is their imperfect finish.
  • Clean off any buttercream on the cake board.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake before and after smoothing with a hot palette knife.
  • Chill the cake, uncovered, in the fridge for an hour. Chilling sets the buttercream prior to decorating.

Decorating the cake using fresh, edible flowers:

  • If using fresh flowers it is important to decorate the cake on the day it is to be served.
  • While the cake is chilling prepare the flowers for decoration. Remove lower leaves on stalks and trim flowers so that they can sit on top, or to the side of the cake.
  • Decorate using your chosen flowers. It is important to consider the cake from every angle when adding the flowers.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Roses and herbs reflect the rural and natural products made by Hawkshead Relish.

Finally the Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake is ready to be served.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake.

Store any leftover cake, floral decorations removed, in an airtight container, ideally refrigerated and eat within 3 days.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Cake Decorated With Fresh Flowers

If you have enjoyed this Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake recipe, you may also like these:

Lemon Drizzle Whipped Cream Filled Giant Doughnut

Lemon Drizzle Whipped Cream Filled Giant Doughnut
Lemon Drizzle Whipped Cream Filled Giant Doughnut

Strawberries And Cream Cake

Strawberries and cream sponge cake
Strawberries And Cream Cake

Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake 

Chocolate honeycomb sponge cake decorated with milk chocolate Lindt mini eggs.
Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake

Celebrating a event, such as Hawhead Relish’s achievement, with cake, marks the occasion as special. Also, other desserts such as cheesecakes and pavlova’s can make an impressive alternative. Especially as different dietary requirements may need catering for. All the Pavlova recipes created for Feasting is Fun are specifically gluten free, for that very reason. Because, including as many people as possible in a celebration is so important to me.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun creating your feast.

Sammie xx

Hawkhead Relish kindly gifted me the jam used in this recipe. All opinions, views, content including photography are my own. No part of this post may be reproduced without the express written permission of its owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.


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Hi, I'm Sammie and I’m passionate about creating tasty recipes, both sweet and savoury that you can make at home. Every recipe is easy and fun to make and should taste like a feast without the fuss!

6 thoughts on “Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake”

  1. Beautiful summery cake that reflects the products used to perfection. I wish I could taste a slice!

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