WA Weddings

Take in these photos of beautiful naked cakes before the backlash starts

The naked cake trend took the traditional expectations of a wedding cake and flipped it on its head. Instead of coating the cake in a layer of buttercream frosting, a naked cake leaves the layers either fully, or partially exposed so that all the wonderful cake textures and colours are on display.

Semi-naked cake / Photo: Emanuel Rudnicki Photography

Naked cakes first made their appearance sometime in 2013, with their invention, or at least their newfound popularity, credited to Christina Tosi, of the Momofuku Milk Bar, a popular New York Bakery. Christina started the bakery in 2008 and quickly became known for quirky, playful desserts. She explains the thinking behind the naked cake:

I asked myself why was I hiding the colourful, textural parts of being in the kitchen behind a wall of décor? Why not challenge the norm? Let the stars be the cakes themselves.

Instead of icing, as Erin Migdol writes, the “layers of cake and filling are topped with fruit, fresh flowers, or nothing at all, allowing the beauty and simplicity of the confection to shine through.

The popularity of the naked cake has grown rapidly over the last decade, in particular taking off in Western Australia throughout 2015:

As food blogger Martin Eade explains our sweet tooth has started to change with Perth going from cupcakes to naked cakes to salted caramel to matcha everything. “I doubt many of us were lusting after a naked drizzle birthday cake five years ago,”

Now, as Megan Splawn from kitchn, writes “naked cakes have moved from verified trend to bakery staple.”

Photo Credit: Verity Edgecombe Photography

Monica Kim, writing in Vogue, considers naked cakes to have one huge advantage: taste:

…fondant, though perfectly lovely and smooth, tastes about as good as sugared Play-Doh. It should surprise absolutely no one, then, that in the past year, a new breed of cool-girl bride has turned instead to the unfrosted beauty of a naked cake, which looks good enough to actually eat.

The risk however, is that without any icing, the cakes dry out much faster and need to be baked much closer to the wedding day itself. Baking 3-4 days prior to the day, as is normal for traditionally iced cakes, leaves plenty of time for the cake to go stale.

#nakedcake #nakedweddingcake #cake #alittlecake

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Just because naked cakes have stripped back the icing, don’t get the idea that they are easier to bake and make. A cake without icing means that there is nothing to hide the flaws of a dodgy sponge—it has to be perfect, as baker Cynthia Stroud points out:

More time is spent in the baking of a naked cake. The sponge should not go too brown or rise too much. Else it goes into the bin. Details are key to the baking process. The sponge has to be cooled a certain way, turned upside down for an even finish. Often cakes crumble, are discarded and you start all over again.

This perhaps, along with the problem of staleness, is why the ‘naked cake’ has largely evolved into the ‘semi-naked’ cake, with partially applied layers of icing and buttercream. These are currently much more popular then the complete nude cakes of early years.

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As with all trends, there is also a backlash, or cake hate if you like. Naked cakes made it onto a recent list of ‘Worst Wedding Pinterest Trends According to Planners‘. Lyndsey Matthews points out some of the flaws:

Naked cakes can also look really sloppy if not done well. Not even a few strategically placed fresh flowers can save a cake from looking like your six-year-old nephew decorated it. (Which if he did, that’s adorable. But you’re probably not paying him hundreds of dollars.) While, admittedly, this slightly undone look can fit right in at a rustic barn wedding, it can look totally out of place at a formal event.

Cake Wrecks has some of examples of some not-so-Instagram-friendly naked cakes gone wrong.

In spite of that, Caroline Duncan from Put a Ring on it points out that “there are ways to keep a naked cake moist, and this is one of those reasons why you should use a reputable, experienced baker if you want to successfully pull off the naked cake at your wedding.” After all, there are obviously pros and cons with every choice and you can’t please everyone.

By WA Weddings

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