Frances Quinn’s Summer’s day wedding cake

Frances Quinn’s Summer’s day wedding cake

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(6 ratings)

Prep: 2 hrs, 40 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins plus 5 hrs steeping (Cook times: 1 hr for bottom tier, 50 mins-1 hr for middle tier, 30 mins for top tier)

A challenge

Serves 65
Frances creates her own version of the latest bridal trend - the 'naked' cake. She skips the traditional fondant icing for mascarpone seasonal berries.

Nutrition and extra info

  • sponges only

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal571
  • fat36g
  • saturates22g
  • carbs55g
  • sugars38g
  • fibre2g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.6g


    For the lemon cakes

    • 1.375kg slightly salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing (buy 6 x 250g packs)



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 1.375kg golden caster sugar
    • 21 large eggs
    • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 1.375kg self-raising flour
    • 210g ground almond
    • zest 21 large lemons, plus 10 tbsp lemon juice



      Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

    For the lemon & mint syrup

    • 600g golden caster sugar
    • 700ml lemon juice (use the lemons from the cake mixture)
    • large bunch fresh mint, leaves torn



      There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…

    For the filling

    • 2kg mascarpone
    • 2 x 325 jars good-quality lemon curd

    For the decoration

    • 1kg raspberries
    • icing sugar, for dusting
    • roughly 1.2kg mixed berries and cherries (we used strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries and redcurrants)
    • a few mint leaves



      There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…

    • assortment of unsprayed flowers (see tip, below)

    You'll also need

    • 30cm deep cake tin
    • 20cm deep cake tin
    • 10cm deep cake tin
    • sewing cotton, for cutting cake
    • 20cm and 10cm thin cake boards
    • cake paddle (optional, but very useful)
    • about 20 plastic straws
    • 2 large wire racks
    • large cake stand or board
    • flower tape or kitchen foil


    1. To make the cakes. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. For the bottom tier, grease a deep 30cm cake tin with butter, then line the base and sides with a double layer of baking parchment.

    2. Using an electric whisk, cream 400g of the butter with 400g of caster sugar. Whisk 6 eggs in a jug with ½ tbsp of the vanilla, then gradually add to the creamed butter, beating between additions. Once combined, sift in 400g of the flour, and mix in 60g of ground almonds and add the zest of 6 lemons. Gently stir in 3 tbsp of the lemon juice.

    3. Scrape into the prepared cake tin and level the top with a spatula. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hr. Don’t worry if the top looks a little dark, as this will become the base. The cake is ready when the surface feels springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the tin for 30 mins, then turn out on to a large wire rack, or use 2 smaller wire racks pushed together.

    4. To make a middle tier, line a deep 20cm cake tin as before, and make the cake following the method in step 2, using 4 eggs and 250g each of sugar, flour and butter. Add the zest of 4 lemons, 40g ground almonds, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1½ tbsp of lemon juice. Bake for 50 mins, testing as before.

    5. For the top tier, use a deep 10cm cake tin and make the cake following the method as before, using 1 egg, 75g each of sugar, flour and butter, 10g ground almonds, the zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp vanilla and ½ tsp lemon juice. Bake for 30 mins.

    6. Repeat steps 1-4 so you have 2 bottom tiers, 2 middle tiers and 1 top tier. Leave until all the cakes are completely cool. Once cooled, the cakes can be wrapped in a double layer of cling film and kept in a cool place for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. To defrost, leave the cakes at room temperature overnight.

    7. To make the syrup. Put the sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Simmer for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, stir through the mint, then allow to cool and steep for up to 5 hrs. Sieve into a jug or bowl, then cover with cling film and chill until ready to use. The syrup will now keep for up to 1 week.

    8. To make the mascarpone cream. Empty the mascarpone into a large bowl. Beat with an electric whisk to soften slightly, then fold through 300ml of the cooled Lemon & mint syrup until fully combined (save the remaining syrup for assembling). Chill until ready to use, but leave at room temperature for 20 mins to soften before using. Can be made 1 day ahead of assembling.

    9. To assemble the cake. Split the two 30cm cakes and the two 20cm cakes in half through the centre, and the 10cm cake into 4 layers. Use the cake paddle or a large chopping board to help move the sponges and flip one of the largest layers onto a serving plate or cake stand, so that the top of the cake now becomes the bottom. Spoon over a little of the reserved syrup, then spread with some of the lemon mascarpone filling using a small offset spatula or knife. Drizzle over some of the lemon curd, then scatter with raspberries. Now top with the remaining layer, so the bottom of the cake now becomes the top, realigning the cocktail sticks to ensure the cake is level. Then layer more syrup, mascarpone, lemon curd and raspberries with the remaining 30cm sponges.

    10. Push 6 straws into the middle of the cake in a circle formation, no wider than 20cm in diameter – these will support the next tier. Snip the straws where they protrude from the cake, so that they are flush with the top. Repeat the assembly with the two 20cm cakes, placing these onto thin cake boards before sitting on top of the larger cakes, then poke in more straws to support the top tie. Finally, assemble the top layer using the same method. Spread any remaining mascarpone on top, then dust the tiers lightly with icing sugar. Decorate with an assortment of mixed berries, mint sprigs and flowers (see tip, left).

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    27th Oct, 2019
    My niece asked me to bake her wedding cake and was interested in an un-iced naked cake. After researching a few options I tried this recipe. The syrup kept the cake moist and the finished result was a big success. It was delicious, I watched guests go back for second helpings!
    30th Apr, 2018
    Wow. What a cake. I did not want a boring fruit cake for my wedding. This is indeed a challenge. Top tip split the cakes before you freeze them and cling wrap each split bit separately. But my goodness it was good. Rustic yes. At one point it was doing a leaning tower of Pisa impression. But it was tasty and oh so pretty. Looked quite hideous until it was dressed. Everyone took photos of this cake.
    3rd Sep, 2016
    Made this cake for my daughters wedding. Because it was a large wedding I increased the quantities and made four tiers (12, 9, 6 & 4 inch tins). I'm a keen cook but never really bake. This turned out really well though for a novice baker like myself and by using all the syrup it was beautifully moist. My only mistake was not putting the bottom layer on the cake board when assembling and then it was very tricky to lift that assembled tier onto the board! It was certainly a showstopper wedding cake.
    30th Aug, 2016
    I made a smaller version this of this for my friend's birthday, very well received! It looks good, and tastes fresh and light, not too sweet at all with all the lemon juice. Perfect for summer, and so indulgent with the mascarpone filling! To make it birthday-sized I only made the two middle tiers and cut off the edges so it would still be nicely tiered, and I made a quarter of the syrup and mascarpone. I have syrup and filling left over, so could probably use even less!
    19th Jul, 2015
    This cake is a show stopper and looked fab at a summer garden wedding in Jersey. I found the cake mass dense and so please ensure all the syrup is used to add flavour & moisture to the cake. The suggest total cooking time is incorrect.
    Star baker's picture
    Star baker
    18th Oct, 2014
    It is a very exiting cake. It is very big. Well, at least big eanuf for a wedding!
    7th Sep, 2014
    This cake is absolutely delicious & is a showstopper! The syrup ensures the cake stays moist and we enjoyed this cake for 4 days.
    13th Aug, 2014
    my son made a smaller version of this as a birthday cake for me - it looked and tasted amazing, and kept for several days without spoiling except for the flowers and some of the fruit.
    24th Jul, 2014
    This recipe is 5/5. I halved this recipe for my mothers birthday. I had made blackcurrant curd with her own blackcurrants and successfully substituted for the lemon. The visual impact was incredible, the flavours refreshing and summery. There was nothing left the following day! I will do again!
    13th Jul, 2015
    Wondering if this recipe would work with fresh whipped cream instead of mascarpone cream? I'm making this cake for a wedding on Saturday.
    Lynn Fraser
    20th Jun, 2015
    If freezing and defrosting, is it best to leave the cakes wrapped overnight or leave them open to the air ( worried about them drying out)? Also I will be transporting these cakes to Sheffield from the Lake District on the Thursday and cakes wont be eaten till the Saturday evening. If I take them out the freezer Thursday morning, could they be transported wrapped and frozen? Many thanks.
    greens of devon
    14th Jul, 2015
    use fresh edible flowers instead of floristry ones, then you can eat them safely too!
    greens of devon
    13th Jul, 2015
    for beautiful fresh edible flowers to decorate naked cakes like this one, go to for a fantastic range - no need to worry about the blooms touching the cake as they are all meticulously researched and grown by experts for culinary use!
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