Before naked cakes became trendy, a naked cake would have been considered an unfinished cake project with only a crumb coat on. The popularity of naked cakes have been steadily growing, and we see them more and more at bakeries, magazines, and weddings. Besides being much easier to decorate compared to a traditional fully frosted cake, you might consider making a naked cake if you want to show off the flavours of the cake layers, did not make enough frosting (oops!), do not have time to frost a crumb coat and then the outer coat of frosting, or want a rustic look and feel for your cake — the cake will look just as beautiful, if not more.
There are two types of naked cakes — a “semi-naked” cake or a true naked cake. A semi-naked cake (see below) has minimal amount of frosting swiped around the sides while the sides of a true naked cakes are completely bare. Whether you are achieving the look of the former or the latter, here are some tips for making your perfect naked cake for any occasion.
1. Type of cake
When you are deciding what type of cake to bake (before you actually make the batter!) you want to consider what type of cake you are making. Naked cakes have less frosting to hold the cake together compared to a fully frosted cake, so you might want to steer away from choosing a cake with an extremely delicate crumb. If you do choose a more delicate cake, just handle it with great care, especially when you are taking the cake out of the pan and transferring it to be layered.
2. Greasing cake pans
The edges of the cake are going to be visible because there will only be a thin layer of frosting (if any) on the sides so any large tears or chunks missing will be extremely noticeable. To ensure your cakes come out of the cake pan nicely, grease your cake pans well and use parchment paper to line your pans. If your cake does get stuck or there is a small chunk missing, just give that spot a little extra love and care in the form of frosting. It is easier to hide these tears with the frosting colour is similar to the colour of the cake layers.
3. Choosing frosting type
Naked caked have less frosting to hold everything together so you want to choose a frosting that has more structure. American buttercream works really well and so does a Swiss meringue buttercream. Things like whipped cream will hold your cake together but when it sits for a longer period of time at room temperature, the whipped cream will soften and your cake might get a bit messy…and start slanting!
4. Letting cake layers cool
I know, I know. The cake smells so dang good when it is baking. It smells equally as good when you take it out of the oven and place it on the cooling rack. Do not be all sneaky and convince yourself that it will not make that much of a difference whether you level the cake layers now versus in an hour. It will make a big difference. When the cake is still hot/warm, the cake will have a much higher chance of crumbling when you cut it. Go watch some Netflix so your cake can chill. Come back in an hour or so.
5. Levelling cake layers
Use a sharp serrated knife. Or a cake levelling tool.
6. Using an ice cream scoop to portion out the frosting for in between each layer.
This ensures that you will have equal amounts of frosting in between each cake layer so the cake will look extra beautiful and clean when you slice it.
7. Saving the nicest layer for last
Choose the most perfect, least crumbly layer for the top, it will make your frosting job much easier and cleaner.
8. Using an offset spatula and bench scraper to smooth out any lumps and bumps. Offset spatulas and bench scrapers are very affordable and will make any cake decorating project much easier!
9. Naked cakes are great canvases for decorating. You can decorate them with fresh flowers, fruits, macarons, anything really. If you miss the piping that comes with fully frosted cakes, you can do some piping working on the tops or sides. It will still look great!
10. Since naked cakes have less frosting on the sides to seal in the moisture of the cakes, do store them inside a cake dome or an airtight container to prevent the cake from drying out.
Do you have any other tips for making the perfect naked cake? Let us know in the comments below, or tag us with your creations at #bakedtheblog and @baked_theblog.