Naked Strawberry Almond Cake with Honey Rose Cream Cheese Frosting

My dad's birthday and Easter fell on the same weekend this year, so it called for a major cake.

This is my major cake. A big tall stack of cake goodness that looks as inviting and gorgeous as it tastes.

You start off with a simple almond cake. It's moist and rich with almond flavor thanks to the generous amount of almond paste (nearly a full pound!) in the batter. It bakes into two layers that you then split and layer with the good stuff.

First there is the tart curd. I used jarred lime curd, but lemon would be great, too. You can make it from scratch if you prefer, though a good quality jarred version is perfect here.

Then fresh strawberries, sliced thickly and layered so that they cover the entire cake.

And the frosting! A super creamy Honey and rosewater cream cheese frosting that is floral and sexy and tart and not too sweet. The secret? Yogurt! Instead of butter, we use greek yogurt, which makes it silky and combats the usual overwhelming sweetness of typical frosting recipes.

Everything is piled up a bit haphazardly. You want berries and dollops of frosting tosqueeze and slide down the sides. This is meant to be a big sexy mess of a cake.

A bit more frosting on top and then a pile of whole berries and sliced almonds. Just toss them on. Don't remove the stems. Add a little powdered sugar if you'd like (though it's not necessary).

Cutting this cake is a little bit tricky, but you just have to go for it. Dive in.  Ignore anyone who asks for "just a thin slice." Cut them all thick and generous and scoop up whatever falls over, then pass them around.

Smile and eat and laugh and lick frosting off your lips and enjoy.

Loved this recipe? Here are three other cake ideas you might like:

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Naked Strawberry Almond Cake with Honey Rose Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 1 8 or 9" square cake (serves about 12-14, generously)

For the cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
14 ounces almond paste (should be soft and pliable; if hard, grate with a box grater to break into smaller pieces)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 cup whole milk

For the frosting
16oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon rosewater
3 cups confectioner’s sugar

For the filling/topping

2 cups lime or lemon curd (jarred or homemade)
3 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/2 cups whole strawberries, rinsed with stems still on
1/2 cup sliced almonds

First, bake the cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line two 8-9” square pans with parchment paper on the bottom.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine the butter and sugar in the base of an electric mixer and beat for 5 minutes or until light and very fluffy. (Yes, 5 minutes!) Beat the eggs in 1 at a time, then add the almond paste, olive oil, lemon zest, and almond extract and beat until smooth. Add in the flour mixture in batches, alternating with the milk.

Divide the batter evenly in the pans and bake about 30 minutes, or until golden and baked through. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes, before transferring to racks to cool completely.

Make the frosting:
Beat the cream cheese and yogurt until smooth and creamy. Beat in the honey, rosewater, and salt, then the confectioner’s sugar. It should be silky and smooth and thinner than buttercream. Cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

Assemble the cake:
Slice each cake layer through the center to make 4 even square layers.

Start with one layer and top with 1/3 the lime curd. Layer thickly with 1/3 the sliced strawberries. Add 1/4 of the cream cheese frosting and spread nearly to the edges. Top with another layer of cake. Repeat until you come to the final layer of cake. Top with the final 1/4 of frosting and pile on the whole strawberries and sliced almonds.

NOTE: Will keep at cool room temperature for up to about 6 hours. If you need it longer, refrigerate, but pull out at least an hour before serving so it can warm up a bit. Because of the fresh berries, this cake is best eaten the day it is assembled, though the cake layers and frosting can be made a day in advance.

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