When naked wedding cakes started gaining popularity a few years ago, I thought they would be like many trends – popular for a while but soon overtaken by the next big thing.
How wrong was I? Because six years on they’re still going strong and one of the most popular choices for couples on their big day.
I must admit there is something particularly moorish and indulgent about them. Whilst I appreciate the aesthetic beauty of fully iced and hand-piped cakes, naked wedding cakes just want to make you bury your face in them.
I think it’s the slightly homespun, thrown together with a casual dose of insouciance look, that does it for me. Plus, the fact that naked wedding cakes, because they are naked are normally made really close to the event and are generally really flipping fresh.
However, even in the world of naked cakes evolution has taken place and the creations have become a little more whimsical, dreamy and blousy.
The trend for fresh flowers
Flowers on a wedding cake have always been popular and they look particular good on naked wedding cakes. They lend a cake that rustic, homespun, grown in your garden feel. They look perennially pretty and can tie together the cake as well as emulate any colour scheme you’ve chosen.
For a while now however, there has been a move away from the odd flower dotted here and there to whole sprays of flowers cascading down the front of the cake or big blousy blooms spilling from the top. The flowers are more ruffled, whimsical and downright gorgeous.
Of course, you need to be careful to wrap the stems and keep them separate from the actual cake as well as make sure none of them is poisonous. There are plenty of flowers which work really well and hold up out of water but equally there are those you should avoid at all costs. Find out more about which ones here.
Check out Maddocks Farm Organics for some truly beautiful and reasonably priced edible flowers for your cakes.
Mixing up the fruits
When we’ve done naked wedding cakes in the past we have generally stuck to a mixture of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries with the odd blackberry thrown into the mix. However, it’s nice to mix it up a bit and increasingly we have been experimenting with all sorts of other fruits too.
Red currants look lovely hanging off the cake russet apples and Chinese lantern fruit are perfect for an autumnal feel. We’ve even used figs in winter and where we can, slices of candied lemon and orange. I’m hoping someone soon will ask for more exotic fruits because that will be a lot of fun!
To top or not to top
It’s a question we ask our couples all the time – do they want a cake topper or not? Some definitely do, others prefer the natural look through and through. If you opt for a topper in your design, there are limitless options out there for what you can have. Bunting is still really popular, and you can get personalised banners made with your names on. The wired or wooden cake toppers also fit well with the theme and again can be personalised.
Other options people have used in the past include Lego characters, Fimo turtles, the happy couple knitted by the groom’s sister and a pair of ceramic intertwined doves. The point is you generally have whatever you want that makes it personal to you.
Keeping it fresh
It’s a question we get asked a lot – how can you make sure they don’t dry out on the day? That is the one tricky part of a naked cake but there are various things that we do, or that you can do if you’re baking one, to keep as perfect as you can for the big day.
- Bake it the day before – We bake our naked wedding cakes the day before the wedding to ensure maximum freshness. We’ve even been known to bake the actual morning if there is time to allow for cooling and filling. However, if you’re planning on doing it yourself we recommend baking in advance, wrapping well in clingfilm as soon as the cakes are cooled and freezing until the day before.
- Test your recipes – Make sure the recipes you’re using are moist ones to begin with. If your cake is dry after it’s come out of the oven, then you’re going to be fighting a losing battle from the start.
- Use sugar syrup – Sugar syrup is a mixture of water and sugar at a ratio of 1:1 which you boil until the sugar has dissolved (so basically not for very long). You can brush the edges of your cake with the syrup to help keep them moist while they are sitting out. This is actually a great way to add further flavour to your cake if you want – replace water with lemon or orange for a citrus syrup or alcohol for a more adult one. One of our favourites is a raspberry Chambord syrup which gives it a nice kick.
- Set up as close to the reception time as poss – If you’re a cake maker, then liaise with the venue to make sure you can get in there and get it sorted just before the guests arrive. If you’re doing it yourself, try and do the same or get a friend to do it for you while you’re getting ready, married etc. You don’t really want it sitting out for hours on end, especially if it’s a hot day, so as close to the celebration time as possible is ideal. Setting up the night before with a naked cake is an absolute no no – the flowers will wilt and the fruit will quite frankly look shit by then. Not to mention the edges will be crusty and getting tougher than an old leather boot.
- Don’t stick it in direct sunlight – Buttercream goes soft at room temperature. In direct sunlight it will be become a sloppy, puddly mess and not what you want with your cake. Yet it still amazes me the number of venues where they put the cake stand right in front of a window with the sun blazing through. Have a word with the organisers and make sure your cake is a little bit shaded, or better still, if it’s a really hot day, have them bring the cake out a little later on when it’s cooler.