When it comes to the latest trend in the world of baking, you could say it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Introducing the naked cake. While this type of cake first marched on the scene for weddings and bridal showers a couple of years ago, it’s now exploded to honor birthdays, anniversaries and now, the holidays.
What’s a naked cake? Instead of piling on the buttercream or fondant to dress up the layers, bakers are increasing the filling between the layers to leave the sides of the cake ‘naked’, exposing the delicious mix of flavors that can be layered inside.
“I like the rawness of naked cakes. They are extremely simple and are decorated with flowers or berries,” says Antonia Craighill of Velvet Cravings bakery in downtown Billings. Over the past three years, she’s created her share of these layered bits of sweet perfection.
“I think it appeals to the cake lovers in people versus those who are frosting lovers. Very seldom do you love both. This kind of cake appeals to the cake lover in most with just that little bit of that sweet buttercream inside.”
While Antonia has done all kinds of naked cakes, she has her favorites. “My favorite has to be the vanilla bean cake with mint icing. It was a green icing and I decorated the top with pink hydrangeas. It was beautiful.”
With the naked cake, it’s the top of the cake that is the showpiece which allows bakers to truly let their creativity flow. While we used a store-bought red velvet cake mix for this signature sweet, we let it shine with a homemade cream cheese frosting. After the layers were aligned to perfection, the topper was crafted after hitting up the Christmas décor aisle at a local craft store. We used a mix of sparkling berry, pine cone and bell laden Christmas floral picks with an ornament as the centerpiece. For just a few bucks, we created a custom look that is sure to impress your holiday guests.
~from the kitchen of Lovely Cutler
¼ c. heavy whipping cream
1 8 ounce brick of cream cheese
1 c. butter, softened to room temperature
1t. Almond extract
32-ounce bag of powdered sugar
DIRECTIONS: Whip the ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream and set aside. Mix cream cheeses, butter and almond extract. Slowly add powdered sugar, blending well. Slowly fold in whipped cream, being careful not to make the frosting runny. Fold in gradually until you have reached a dense, yet fluffy consistency. Want to add a little extra pop of holiday pizazz? Try accenting the layers with crushed candy cane.
* Fill a piping bag equipped with a large round tip with a heavy dose of frosting.
* Carefully and evenly cut the cake rounds into half
* Add the bottom layer of cake to a cake plate or stand. Using the piping bag, carefully pipe frosting flush with the edge of the cake, as if to outline the edge.
* Use a frosting spatula to move the filling so that the next layer will lay evenly on top.
* Add layer of cake and repeat the piping process. Using the piping bag will help keep the outside of your layers looking even and consistent.
* Once you’ve added all your layers, pipe frosting on the top, smooth with the spatula and add whatever decorations you like. Try fresh or sugared berries, holiday décor, or even fresh flowers.