The New Naked Cake

  • Photos by Stephen Kent Johnson

Here's a new take on naked wedding cakes: These scantily clad yet elegant creations have piped accents, drizzled glazes, or other details that add allure—and leave a little something to the imagination.


A pretty buttercream border is like a string of pearls: ladylike, even if that's all you've got on. Here, blood-orange and passion-fruit curds hide between layers of tinted vanilla pound cake, with dotted buttercream providing chic cover. The cakes are baked slightly larger than the desired finished sizes so the browned edges can be trimmed, revealing the vibrant tiers.


Tip for Going Naked

For most un-iced wedding cakes, day-of assembly is a must; without a protective layer of buttercream or fondant, the exposed crumb can dry out fast. What's more, cheesecake, mousse fillings, and whipped cream need refrigeration until just before serving. Talk to your baker about the strategy for assembly so you get the big reveal you want—and your guests get their cake at its moist, delicious best.

Dark Magic

Dripping with decadence, this cake is a chocolate lover's dream. Layers are filled with buttercream, drizzled with caramel and chocolate ganache, then topped with glistening candied pecans. The cake gets moisture from butter, yogurt, and stout—though craft beer fans can customize with local chocolate-friendly brews. 

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Roll Play

Inspired by the patterned cake rolls popular in Japan, these individual sponge roulades can show off any personalized design or monogram—it gets baked right into the batter. Each is filled with luscious lemon-ginger mousse to suit the Asian-inspired cakes. 

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Hey, Honey

These luxurious petits fours—soaked in a brown sugar, butter, and honey glaze—would make a sunny focal point on a dessert buffet. We cut orange pound cake into hexagonal shapes for a honeycomb effect. The two-bite treats get topped with whipped cream and candied kumquat slices.

Cloud Nine

This no-bake white-chocolate-mousse cheesecake (left) makes a pristine canvas for painterly blooms (no oven time means no browning). Each beautifully bare tier is adorned solely with petals of edible pansies and dianthus, arranged in pleasing patterns.

And at right, an adorable pair of lambs atop an airy white pavlova layered with whipped cream will inspire oohs, aahs, and inevitably quite a few baas. The cute creatures stand in a "meadow" of pistachios and fennel blossoms. The bonus? It's all gluten-free.

The Details: Edible pansies and dianthus, starting at $6.75 for 25,; lamb figurines, $2.75 each,; fennel blossoms, $12.50 for 50,


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