Move over glam cakes, there is trend on the rise. Fully iced cakes are out; it’s all about natural and naked now. But what is a naked cake exactly? Similar to wearing a simple layer of BB cream for a more natural makeup finish, most naked cakes bear only a thin layer of buttercream on the outside—called a crumb coat—exposing the rich color of the cake underneath. This layer usually just catches all the crumbs, thus providing a smooth surface for the next full layer, but for a naked cake, it’s all you need. So, these cakes are basically homage to simplicity, baring it all!
Naked is Beautiful
There are so so many different types of naked cakes. Some go almost completely naked, with no crumb coat and just filling between cake layers. Some are a little bit more covered up with some chocolate ganache dripped down the sides (yum!). The main point of these is to show of the many different styles of toppings and garnishes. So even though they are called “naked cakes, “ they aren’t really completely nude. They wear some majorly fancy hats, with tons of accessories. Some even feature beautiful edible flowers, lovely candied fruits, or other elaborate decoration. Looking up pictures for inspiration will show you a wide variety of looks; these cakes are wonderfully versatile.
Why Naked, Why Now?
So where did these stripped down cakes come from? Why are we seeing these half done cakes on the cover of foodie magazines? Here’s the thing, simplicity is in! Minimalism in decor, simplified make-up and hair styles? A large chunk of style and trend is on the move towards a natural aesthetic. While this is true, these cakes can be even more gaudy than normal because they leave so much room for crazy, (and I mean crazy, seriously look some up) embellishments. We’re also in an age of natural tastes. A lot of people are moving away from the super sugary and overly sweet. Some people just plain don’t care for frosting (who are these monsters?). From a taste perspective, the nakedness of the cake itself leaves more room on the palate to taste the other elements.
Speaking of Elements
Let’s talk about that top layer some more. The reason people are loving these cakes is not about what the cakes don’t have, it’s about what the nakedness does for the overall aesthetic. The cakes create a stark contrast between the bare bottom layers and the heavily decorated top. This allowance for focus on one area is what makes them so appealing. Your eye immediately takes in the splendor of the accoutrements! With all the carefully placed additions the cake suddenly goes from a naked, half-frosted sponge to a beautifully coifed minimal masterpiece.
It doesn’t seem to be a definite rule, but these cakes tend to feature natural elements. Most of them have decorations like flowers, feathers, and nuts and fruits. I’ve even seen some that serve as a kind of vase for a huge bouquet! Definitely impressive. There are even naked cakes now with succulents and piped on designs and cakes with colored layers and even gold flakes.
Are These Cakes For You?
What do you think of this new trend? Are they a bastardization or genius new fashion? They are basically just a crumb coat with some flowers or sugary accessories on the top.
Now, should you have a naked cake at your wedding or at your wedding shower? Maybe, maybe not. Often, these cake can come across as more informal, so it depends on the setting and the surrounding décor. These cakes would do well at an outdoor, rustic wedding, for instance. The natural scenery would seriously compliment the nakedness of the cake.
Some would argue that the cake’s nakedness actually makes them more fancy looking. With the addition of accessories like the aforementioned gold foil, it would be hard to call these cakes plain; that’s for sure. These cakes are a major breakaway from a traditional fondant layered cake that can sometimes look beautiful and taste questionable depending on the type of fondant used. Perhaps the point of these cakes is that they are the perfect balance between taste and looks. Without having to use fondant, the cakes can focus on beautiful flavors while still looking fab with the addition of embellishments. If these cakes are done right, they can be absolutely breathtaking!
Like something out of a Jane Austen novel, naked cakes herald back to a time when simplicity was key and cakes were naturally decorated with fruits, flowers, and powdered sugar. It’s ultimately up to you whether you want to feature this kind of dessert at your wedding. To go with the trend or not to go with the trend, that is the question! Is this trend here to stay or will it die off like the wedding dresses of the 80s with big puffy sleeves. That’s the problem with trends, you never really know!