300g| 10.5 oz fresh strawberries to fill and decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and flour 3 x 20 cm cake tins.
Put the hulled and quartered strawberries in a small saucepan with the sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain any liquid and reserve. Blitz the cooked strawberries in a food processor or mini chopper until you have a smooth purée.
Put all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, ground almonds, baking powder, soda & salt) in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix together using the paddle attachment on low speed.
Add the cubed butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well with each addition. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl a couple of times.
Mix the buttermilk with 100g (3.5oz) of strawberry purée.
Add buttermilk/strawberry mixture and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl. Mix on low then high speed for a couple of minutes.
Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is completely smooth and divide it equally into the prepared tins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.The cakes are ready when springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack and then gently tap the cakes out of the tins. Make sure they are completely cool before frosting. Cakes can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept, wrapped, at room temperature.
<b>To fill and decorate</b>
Put the icing sugar, vanilla, elderflower cordial and double cream in your stand mixer and whisk at high speed until you have firm peaks. Transfer the cream into a large bag fitted with a large round tip.
Brush the reserved strawberry liquid over the tops of the cakes.
Pipe a wide ring of whipped cream all around the edge of the bottom cake layer and a large dot in the middle.
Fill the space between the whipped cream with chopped strawberries. Repeat on second layer and top with the third.
Pipe some cream on top of the cake then smooth it down to create a flat surface. Push any excess cream down the sides of the cake.
Smooth the cream along the sides of the cake using a plain edge side scraper. You want to create a crumb coating but still be able to see the sponge underneath. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Decorate the top of the cake with whole strawberries (cut the top off so they lie down flat) and some edible flowers if you can find them.
Best eaten on day of decorating although it can be kept in the fridge for one day.
I love 'naked' cakes. Almost certainly the invention of a baker who had either run out of frosting or time (or both) they are a very easy way of frosting a cake without having to worry about perfection. If you want to frost the cake 'properly', make a little extra whipped cream and frost after the crumb coating sets in the fridge (step 6).