BEWARE THE “EASY LOOK” NAKED WEDDING CAKE!

January 19, 2017

Getting married? Think a naked wedding cake looks easy? Think again!

There are always areas where you want to save as a bride. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’d be a doddle to put a naked cake together (hey, there’s no icing). You’d also be forgiven for asking a kind friend who bakes yummy cakes to make your wedding cake (after all, you’d be saving some £££).

Stop right there! If said kind friend has never made a naked wedding cake, she’ll need some practise, and it’ll be a whole lot easier with the following step-by-step guide on how to get it right.

But let’s look at the top 7 wrongs first…

THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID
runny jamMistake Number 1: Runny Jam
So you decided to make your own jam (yum!). Then it didn’t set properly but you thought you’d use it anyway. And then it ran down the cake.

No-one wants to see the cake crying with jammy despair. Just remember to boil your jam for long enough.

messy buttercreamMistake Number 2: Messy Buttercream
Watch where your buttercream goes! You may think you’ve been precise when spreading it onto the cake but don’t forget that 9 cakes on top of one another create a certain amount of pressure and it’s easy for icing to be squeezed out.

cracked topMistake Number 3: Cracked Top
So you put the cake too high up in the oven. Or the temperature was too hot. Or you shut the oven door sharply. Whatever the cause, a crack of earthquake proportions doesn’t look good on top of a cake. And as you can see, powdered sugar doesn’t cover it.

cake board on showMistake Number 4: Cake Board On Show
For an iced wedding cake you need the same size cake board as the cake that goes on top. But don’t make this error with a naked cake!

Choose a board that’s 1 inch smaller than your cake and it won’t poke out like a bad petticoat.

not levelMistake Number 5: Cake Not Level
5mm. Doesn’t seem like much, does it? Until you stack a cake that is. And then 5mm can be the difference between a level cake and one that’s rivalling the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Avoid this disaster by levelling all your cakes before you start. How? Get a cake leveller.

Still nervous?

Go to the VIDEOS section of TBB for a full explanation on how to do it properly.

one cake too bigMistake Number 6: One Cake Too Big
You needed 3 cake tins of the same size so you rummaged around in your cupboard and guestimated you’d got 3 that were the same. Oh dear. Even a half inch bigger is really noticeable.

Get a ruler & make sure all your tins are the same.

shovelling on sugarMistake Number 7: Shovelling On The Sugar
Just as makeup shouldn’t be applied with a trowel, sugar should be used sparingly. Although a sideways flinging effect will get more out of your shaker, be careful not to hide your cake completely. The whole point of a naked cake is that it doesn’t have icing. This is one cover up you’ll want to miss.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE PERFECT NAKED CAKE
Now you know what NOT to do, it’s time to see how to get it right.

Make sure your cake stand's in a corner if you can (it minimises the chances of a drunken guest sending it flying).
Make sure your cake stand’s in a corner if you can (it minimises the chances of a drunken guest sending it flying).

Centre your cake board & make sure it's 1 inch smaller than the cake that's going on top.
Centre your cake board & make sure it’s 1 inch smaller than the cake that’s going on top.

When putting on jam, always leave a half inch gap at the sides so it doesn't spill out. Some oozing looks good but don't forget the horrors of the 'crying' cake.
When putting on jam, always leave a half inch gap at the sides so it doesn’t spill out. Some oozing looks good but don’t forget the horrors of the ‘crying’ cake.

When you've assembled the cakes, add dowels that are just shy of the top of the cake. Ensure there are enough dowels to take the weight of the tiers above.
When you’ve assembled the cakes, add dowels that are just shy of the top of the cake. Ensure there are enough dowels to take the weight of the tiers above.

Get a spirit level & ensure the bubble really is in the centre.
Get a spirit level & ensure the bubble really is in the centre.

Do this from both sides of the cake (i.e. clock face 9 - 3 and 12 - 6).
Do this from both sides of the cake (i.e. clock face 9 – 3 and 12 – 6).

Centre a cake board on top (1 inch smaller than the next cake - don't forget).
Centre a cake board on top (1 inch smaller than the next cake – don’t forget).

Start layering your next tier. Be sparing with frosting so it doesn't spill out.
Start layering your next tier. Be sparing with frosting so it doesn’t spill out.

Dowel the cake & check with a spirit level...
Dowel the cake & check with a spirit level…

...on both sides! 
…on both sides!

Start layering your next tier. Don't forget to keep the jam away from the edge!
Start layering your next tier. Don’t forget to keep the jam away from the edge!

At this point you may feel you need to stand on something to reach the cake. Whatever you do, don’t grab the nearest chair with its starched cloth cover. Get a proper footstool and remember you’re off the ground. Be careful. You don’t want to ruin all your hard work by toppling over and taking the cake with you.
Now that you’ve finished layering your cake, it’s time to check it from all angles.
If jam or buttercream’s spilled out then you can trim it away with a knife.

That said, if it’s beginning to ooze but hasn’t actually started down the side of the cake, you may want to leave it as this looks rather inviting.

cake assembly 12
It’s now time to do the fun part – the decorating! This cake was decorated with icing (powdered) sugar and fresh fruit. Herein lies an important point: your fruit should be completely dry. If you wash it just before it goes on the cake then it’ll wet the sugar and ruin the overall effect. So wash the fruit the night before and dry it on paper towel.

cake assembly 13You can either dust the sugar over the cake with a sieve or, even better (and more portable), a sugar shaker. Whatever you choose, make sure it has a fine mesh so that lumps of sugar don’t slip through.

Finally, add the fruit. This cake had a strawberry roughly every 3 inches with 2 raspberries and a blueberry in between. However, you may prefer a less precise approach, so use your artistic licence.

 

The final cake with a beautiful bunting topper.
The final cake with a beautiful bunting topper.

Have you made a naked wedding cake? How did it go? Do comment below!

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