Semi-Homemade: Naked Red Velvet Cake

Last month we celebrated Brando’s first birthday with a farm-to-table foodie themed birthday party. Brando has ONE major interest right now and that is food, so the theme was super appropriate and really simple to pull off at my Grandmother’s property where they used to raise cattle in Plant City. I thought a naked red velvet layered cake would make the perfect dessert for this rustic party, and it turned out super delicious and was REALLY easy to put together.

While I really like taking my time and making things from scratch, I made EVERYTHING for this party, so I knew time wise, using a store bought cake mix would be much easier for me. While you can use any store bought mix, I prefer Duncan Hines for Red Velvet because the red color is much richer than other brands. I followed the directions on the box to prepare the cake, except I used chocolate milk when it called for water. This made the cake much more moist and enriched the cocoa flavor of the red velvet.

I used 2 boxes of cake mix which netted me 3 8in rounds, which I used for the main cake and 2 6 in rounds, which I used to make Brando’s smash cake.

Since cream cheese icing is very simple to make from scratch, I made that myself so that the cake did have that extra “made with love” feel to me. Here’s my easy recipe:


8 oz cream cheese

6 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 cup butter (softened slightly warmer than room temp)

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Beat together butter and cream cheese until perfectly smooth, make sure there are no clumps or lumps whatsoever.
  2. Add in vanilla extract and lemon juice
  3. Beat in confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, until smooth

Since this was a “Naked Cake”, I made sure to let my cakes cool extra long (overnight) to ensure that when they were leveled and iced there would be absolutely no crumbs showing. I was heavy handed with the icing in-between each layer to ensure that the icing:cake ratio was on point since I didn’t ice the sides of the cake. If you have a little pour over with your icing like I did, just use a butter knife to smooth it out, honestly I think it just adds to the homey feel of the cake, so don’t stress out if it isn’t perfection.

Finally to top each cake and flow with the farm-to-table theme, I sugared some berries to add to the top. This is super simple and fun way to top a cake. Simply dip berries in fruit juice of choice (I used lemon juice), then roll them in white sugar, then freeze for 1+ hrs. The longer you freeze them, the longer they will look nice and icey. Being in the FL heat my berries unfortunately didn’t hold their “glittery” look for long, but they still looked great.

This cake is great for any kind of occasion and if you’re not a red velvet fan you could also try this with a great spice cake or carrot cake for the fall. I’m really happy with how it turned out. So many people at Brando’s party came up to me to compliment the cake and couldn’t believe I made it myself. It’s a great way to impress your guests that’s for sure and Brando LOVED having the whole smash cake to himself!



All photos were take by Laura Davis Photo. She’s freakin’ amazing guys.


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