I was back at the stunning Westenhanger Castle on Thursday to set up Aaron and Natalie's wedding cake. Natalie contacted me a few months ago after finding me on Bridebook. They wanted something to fit with their raspberry pink colour scheme and the picturesque surroundings of the venue and she loved the current trend of naked and semi naked cakes.
I think a lot of people probably see naked and semi naked cakes as being a bit of a passing fad but I really believe that this is one trend that is here to stay. Rustic and natural styling is very popular at the moment and has been for the last couple of years with no sign of it passing anytime soon. I see a lot of wood, bunting, pastel pinks and blues and farm house style venues and room dressing and a naked cake fits so perfectly with all of that. When done well, it is a theme that screams Summer which is perfect for a May - August wedding.
Naked and semi naked cakes are also more versatile than most people think. You can do so much with them! They don't need to be boring and impersonal, and they can be every bit as eye catching and beautiful as a traditional sugarpaste covered cake. You can change the sizes and flavours of the cakes, the space between the tiers, the types, colours, sizes and variety of fruits you include (although strawberries are always a fantastic and popular choice) you can add fresh, silk, sugar or even paper flowers, you can have an acrylic, mirrored or glitter topper (check out Sarah at Laserhill Creations, she makes all of my toppers and offers a huge range of designs, colours and finishes - link at the bottom!) and that's before you look at how the cake is displayed. Wooden logs are always a good option and many venues now have their own but milk stands like the ones by Mosser also work well or you could use a wooden crate or even a barrel. You can have the cakes left bare or with a dusting of icing sugar, a scraping of buttercream (I always recommend ganache for weddings in the height of Summer because of the heat and especially for marquee weddings) or piped rosettes, the buttercream or ganache can be coloured to match your colour scheme. You can even have a sugarpaste base tier and then naked cakes on top. The possibilities for switching them up and creating something just that little bit different are endless.
For Natalie and Aaron's wedding cake we decided to work in their raspberry pink colour scheme by colouring the white chocolate ganache covering on the base and middle tiers, the top tier was a black forest cake so I covered it in a scraping of delicious milk chocolate ganache which added a creamy texture and richness alongside the chocolate buttercream and black cherry compote filling. The middle tier was lemon cake with a lemon curd and vanilla buttercream filling and the bottom tier was vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream and raspberry conserve. We continued with their colour scheme by adding fresh raspberries around the sides and base of the cake and then I added strawberries, cherries and blueberries just for a pop of colour. The beautiful flowers were provided by Lucy from Wild Bloom (link at the bottom!) I cut and wrapped each stem, added them to posy picks to make them food safe and then added to the cake as a finishing touch. They really helped to bring the full colours of the room to the cake and tied everything together so beautifully. You honestly can not beat good quality fresh flowers for a cake like this!
Naked and semi naked cakes are labour intensive, I bake them the day before the wedding to ensure maximum freshness and minimise the risk of the cake drying out (especially in the mega hot weather we have had recently!) and the set up on the day of the wedding can some times take nearly as long as the baking. The cakes have to be stacked, any buttercream or ganache added, the fruit put on one at a time and the flowers alone can be very time consuming but no matter how long it takes, every time I add the last piece of fruit or the final flower and I take a step back, I always smile. Always! Naked cakes look so stunning, they are simplistic in their styling and design but there is so much more to them. And you just know they taste as good as they look!
Sarah - Laserhill Creations
Lucy - Wild Bloom