Published 28 Sep 2017
Today I interviewed Leigh Smith who is a cake designer in Glenfarg, Perthshire. Her cakes look stunning, and taste very yummie. But I had a question for her which I have been itching to ask for a while. Over the past few years, I have seen a few naked or - what I learnt today: semi-naked - wedding cakes at weddings I photographed. They look really cool, and I can totally understand the charm these cakes represent. However, there are a few things to bear in mind.
At the end of this article you will know what a naked or semi-naked wedding cake is and how to look after the cake on the wedding day so that you and most importantly your guests will enjoy it when it is finally getting cut and served to your guests in the evening.
Naked wedding cakes are sponge cakes that are usually stacked in at least three tiers and the decoration is a thick coating of butter cream between the layers. You can see the cream filling between each layer. Sometimes there is a thick scraping of butter cream on the outside cake.
The main feature of a naked cake is that you can see the outside of the cake through the cream which is usally vanilla butter cream. The cakes are often decorated with fresh flowers, fresh fruit or a combination of both.
They are very fashionable at the moment, and have been trendy for about five years.
Another option similar to naked cakes are semi-naked cakes. Semi-naked wedding cakes have a bit more buttercream on the outside, but you still see the bare sponge in places. Leigh thinks that "the only reason why semi-naked cakes appeared is because people realised that toally naked cakes run the risk of drying out within a few hours, and a thin layer of butter cream will postpone the drying out a bit longer".
Cake makers are divided as to whether they like them or not. Some cake designers refuse to take orders for them, and here are the main reasons for that:
Most weddings I photograph, I am normally at the venue well before the wedding ceremony. The cake is usually delivered between one to two hours before the ceremony and is out for display until the cake is being cut in the evening. In Scotland, traditionally the cake is being cut before the first dance which is often around 8 pm. So if the cake is delivered at 12 pm, it will have been on display for 8 hours, hence the cake maker would be worried that the cake is still at its best when its served to the guests in the evening.
A traditional wedding cake will not dry out during that time because it’s protected with the icing. Most cake makers use fondant icing or buttercream coating for wedding cakes. The royal icing is not used by many cake makers anymore because it’s too hard to cut and not pleasant eat.
Another thing to bear in mind is if the cake is dressed with fresh flowers, the cake maker should also research which flowers are toxic and could potentially cause irritations.
For any wedding cake display, you should make sure that the room is not too warm and that the cake is not exposed to direct sunlight, or light sources that emit heat directly onto the cake.
I can see the attraction naked cakes have and I must admit I love the look of them. If you have organised a naked cake, make sure to discuss with your wedding venue that the cake should be refrigerated until after the ceremony in order to shorten the time the cake is exposed before it's being cut.
Wedding cakes evolve all the time and brides and grooms and cake designers keep coming up with new ideas regularly. Here are a few things I have come across:
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