In the world of wedding cakes, a naked cake is the equivalent of the 'natural' make-up look: you need to spend hours on it to make it look like you've spent no time at all.
So while naked cakes are great for nailing that casual "Oh, this old thing? We just threw it together!" vibe of a boho wedding, we're here to tell you that it's not quite as simple as that. Because the inside is on the outside, they require much more thought about the actual cake, unlike their marzipan-covered counterparts of days gone by. And if you're going to serve it as dessert, it needs to taste pretty great, too. Here, we round up seven different types to help you, err, get naked (not like that!)
While you might associate fruit cake with old-fashioned fondant and marzipan icing, it also makes a great base for naked cakes. There's a reason it has endured as one of the most popular wedding cake flavours of all time - and it's not just because mums can be very persistent in their 'friendly suggestions' that "your nan would really love it if you had fruit cake" (although there's that too). If you want to do the whole eating-your-wedding-cake-on-your-first-anniversary thing, it's really gotta be fruit cake, as few other types have enough sugar and alcohol in them to survive 12 months in the freezer. As one of the most dense types of cake out there, it's also sturdy enough to allow you to construct multiple tiers that won't collapse before your cutting-of-the-cake photos. So if you're envisioning some kind of flour-and-butter-filled installation that's taller than your 6'4" hubby-to-be, fruit cake is your friend.
Ever since Carrie Bradshaw first bit into that red velvet cupcake from New York's famous Magnolia Bakery, the world has had an ongoing love affair with this cake that doesn't appear to be ending any time soon. Getting its distinctive colour from beetroot or red food colouring, a red velvet naked cake makes a striking addition to any wedding reception - not to mention a completely delicious one. Keep it classic with white buttercream icing and icing sugar, or add flowers and berries for a 'fruits of the forest' theme.
There are a lot of reasons we love chocolate cake (a lot), but one of the big ones is its versatility. Chocolate wedding cakes have evolved past the standard mud to incorporate new flavours like choc orange, choc mint and choc caramel. The chocolate family also includes delicious cousins like Black Forest, several layers of chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries between each, and Sacher Torte, a dense chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam on top, coated in dark chocolate icing. If you're worried about your chocolate naked cake looking a little too brown, coloured icing to match your theme will help lift it.
It's hard to believe, but not everyone likes chocolate (who are these people?), so a traditional sponge is a pretty safe crowd-pleaser if you and your hubby-to-be aren't particularly fussed on flavour. Unlike red velvet and chocolate, it's also a blank canvas colour-wise, enabling you to decorate it in a myriad of ways to match your reception theme. Try the simple-but-effective strawberries and cream (perfect for an afternoon garden wedding), or cover it with fresh flowers to match those in your bouquet.
Forget the ho-hum citrus cakes of your office morning teas, it's hard to go past a well-made lemon and poppyseed cake (or its orange cousin). Firstly, it's an option that your guests probably won't have had at every other wedding they've attended this year. Secondly, these fresh citrus flavours are perfect for summer weddings, and they're often much lighter than most chocolate and red velvet varieties. They may not last as long though, so make sure you send all your guests home with a slice - or face having to eat it all yourself before you head to the airport for your honeymoon (also not a bad option).
The only thing we like more than (OK, as much as) cake is cheese and, judging by the popularity of cheese towers as wedding cakes these days, we're not the only ones. Cheese cakes are not only great for couples who aren't big sweet-tooths, but also double as an awesome centrepiece for rustic or country weddings. Many cheese suppliers and caterers will also provide crackers, chutneys and other accompaniments, so you can serve it as a separate cheese course or as part of dessert - even though this will mean having to share all that delicious fromage with your guests!
Can't decide which flavour to go with? Get them all! We can't stop Instagram-stalking Andy Bowdy, the alter ego of Sydney pastry chef Andrew Bowden. Andy's creations take wedding cakes next level with works of art like the Damo (banana cake, peanut butter, salted caramel, passionfruit and caramelised popcorn) and the Tony, a combo of malted milk crumb, choc chip cookie, raspberry mousse, baked cheesecake, salted caramel, lemon jam and torched meringue (pictured above). Just a word of warning - if you go down this path, expect a LOT of cake shots on your wedding hashtag!
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