Everything You Need to Know About Naked Cakes

It’s official, naked cakes are a trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While the idea behind them is the same (slice, serve and eat!) there’s a few important details that are different from a cake that’s frosted. We caught up with three cake bakers to get the scoop on everything you need to know before you order your naked cake!

Stick to natural elements like fruit, fresh flowers and edible garnishes for styling.

Naked cakes tend to have a more natural and organic feel, which means that ornate sugar or gum paste flowers won’t exactly mesh. An easy alternative are fresh flowers. “Typically couples who choose a naked cake incorporate natural elements like succulents, rosemary or lavender instead of big romantic peonies and roses,” says Molly Lawson of d’lish discriminating desserts. Momofuku Milk Bar‘s signature style is to accent with garnish that’s included in the flavor of the cake like flavored crumbs, chocolate chips and even pretzels! Brooklyn-based baker Alana Jones-Mann loves to style her naked cakes with seasonal fruit and preserves. “Sugar flowers don’t pop as much on a naked cake as rich and colorful fresh fruit do.”

You have to choose your flavors and fillings carefully.

Cake by Momofuku Milk Bar

Unlike with a traditional frosted cake, the flavors and fillings that you choose are going to determine what your cake looks like. If you’re looking for a style that’s cohesive, you’ll want to stick to flavors in a similar color profile which is something you don’t have to think about with a buttercream or fondant cake. Molly suggests, “It’s up to your personal preference, but naturally colored cakes look the best, like vanilla, carrot cake or hummingbird (a cake spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon) instead of food coloring dyed cakes like red velvet.” As far as fillings go Christina Tosi baker at Momofuku Milk Bar says, “Make sure all of your frostings and fillings make sense when eaten as a whole. Every filling should be a sliceable consistency when cold or room temperature. A layer of fondant hides a runny curd or jam or jelly layer, but there’s no hiding fillings or underset layers with a naked cake!”

If you’re thinking something simple, you can totally DIY!

Cake by Edith Meyer Wedding Cakes

If you want a simple naked cake for your bridal shower or engagement party then making it yourself is totally doable (really!). “With frosted and fondant cakes there are so many things that could go wrong and you need to have a lot of skill to pull it off,” says Alana, but that’s not the case when it comes to a naked cake, “It’s really hard to go wrong, as long as you bake your cake evenly and have good buttercream.” Momofuku hosts classes at their shops in NYC and Toronto or you can buy their cookbook and read up on how to make your own!

Naked cakes shouldn’t be stacked too far ahead of time. 

Cake by Alice’s Tea Cup

Make sure to ask your cake baker how far in advance they’re going to stack your naked cake. Here’s why, “Naked cakes are exposed instead of being covered so they’re going to dry out faster,” Molly says. “24-hours before it’s going to be served is the max [time] that you’d want for a naked cake to be stacked.”

Smooth lines make the cake.

Cake by Momofuku Milk Bar

Clean smooth edges are what sets a great naked cake apart from the rest. “It doesn’t matter what cake flavor you bake, the outside edge is going to be darker than the rest of the layer. Trimming off the edge is going to bring out the color of the cake as well as make it look cleaner,” says Christina. The bakers at Momofuku pull it off by making their cakes in a ring lined with acetate for “picture perfect clean lines.”

Want more? Of course you do!

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> 7 naked wedding cakes

> 8 cakes that are (almost) too pretty to eat