One of the best cake trends of all time the NAKED CAKE! Considered to be an easy alternative to buttercream and fondant cakes, but are they? The naked cake trend became popular let’s say 3-4 years ago and is still just as popular today! It is often preferred because of its natural look and minimalistic sugary taste in regards to the lack of fondant etc. The naked cake began as humble layers of cake sandwiched between a frosting of some sort and left as is without any additional smear of icing around the outer edge. BUT! Yet again, cakers have found a way to make the humble naked cake BIGGER, BETTER AND SUGARIER! But who’s complaining…Not me! These days you will see naked cakes adorned with fresh or sugar florals, covered in buttercream or ganache, layered with ganache or caramel drips and even the LOADED naked cake full of chocolates, chocolate shards, fairy floss, you name it! So what about assembly? Are these cakes as easy as just layering cakes and frosting? Of course not! What part of cakes is EASY? My philosophy is that if it’s too easy it isn’t enough! In my opinion, the challenge of new techniques and perfecting them is what drives me to continue, and even though naked cakes seem simple they are still nothing short of perfection, especially when someone says “I want a 4 tier naked cake for my wedding…IN SUMMER” um…ok NO PRESSURE. I agree they are easier and take less time but there are still a few tweaks and issues you may run into. Here’s a few…
- You’ve stacked it up, and it’s on an angle.
- The cakes dried out
- Your buttercream on the outside isn’t smooth
- You used a dark filling and a white frosting on the outside
- You forgot to dam your edges…The caramel seeped out!
- You added fresh florals…WITHOUT FLORAL TAPE AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT
There are a range of unique issues, however I’m going to share my tips and tricks to achieving a clean looking naked cake which I hope you enjoy and they help you with your next naked cake creation!
- When making a naked cake ensure that you aren’t assembling them 4 days prior…for fondant cakes It’s a process, you bake, layer, ganache etc but for naked cakes they don’t have the same protective seal and so you should assemble them the day/night before and if you have time, do it the day of. Add your florals on the day of as well as other perishables like fairy floss. Lollipops should also stay wrapped until the day of.
- If you have the fear of dry cakes, add simple syrup to your layers, naked cakes really benefit from this.
- The best type of frosting to use is…whatever you like! If you like ganache, American, Italian, swiss buttercream, use it! I would however recommend adding a dam layer (layer of thick frosting like an American buttercream around the edges) around the edge of your layers if you are using filling layers like mousse, lemon curd, caramel… (See previous buttercream blog for more).
- If you are wanting to create a semi naked cake, you would need to ensure your cakes are the same size in diameter and of course smooth around the edges, you can also trim your cakes a bit around the edges if you want to ensure this. I would highly recommend using a metal scraper or an acrylic, something with a sharp edge and preferably something that is the same height as your cake.
- If you want to have a NAKED cake without the semi frosted look, but you still want to achieve a neat trim and not a squished frosting seeping out of the sides, create an even dam layer around the edges using a round piping tip of your choice, add your filling layer but do not scrape the dam layer into the filling layer. Refrigerate your cake and once refrigerated and set go around the edges with a little sharp knife and trim the frosting so it is flush with the cake!
- To ensure your cake results in an even level and aren’t lop sided and on an angle, trim your cakes to size, what I like to do is use a soft tape measure and make sure each level of cake is perfectly level with each other so that each level of cake is the same in height, use a piping bag to pipe your filling layers and give it a quick smooth with a scraper, to smooth it off if you aren’t confident enough to use a spatula (no shame! I use a piping bag too!) get down to eye level, it always helps. I also use a leveller, bought from my local hardware store, they are the best!
Now adding fresh florals can be a bit of a nightmare, you have to make sure your flowers match the theme, are fresh, properly secured and attached to the cake using appropriate safety techniques such as floral tape, wire and floral picks. I have also used bubble straws and added the flowers into it (after floral tape had been added).
Some cake makers refuse to add fresh florals and leave it to the professionals to add them on which is also a great alternative! You can also add sugar flowers.
Here are a few variations made by me…
Get in your kitchen and get NAKED! No, not that kind haha! Feel free to message or comment with any questions you may have!
Love, Nelle xox