Wedding cakes are typically about more: more tiers, more tradition and definitely more frosting.
Now the latest trend is the naked cake . Ever since Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York City originated this idea by stripping off the outer layer of frosting, couples have been asking bakers for this rustic-chic style.
Here's my 10-step guide to making your own frosting-optional wedding cake.
1. Bake the day before
With most wedding cakes, cake designers might bake three to four days ahead of the event to leave plenty of decorating time. They can do this because frosting seals in moisture, keeping the cake fresh. But with a naked cake, you want to bake as close to the wedding day as possible — ideally, the day before.
2. Prep your pans
Grease up those pans so they're nice and slick. You won't have frosting or fondant to cover up any baking imperfections, so you'll need the cakes to slide out of their pans in one piece.
3. Distribute batter evenly
This is something most pros do already, but it's especially important with a naked cake. Your layers will be on display, with no frosting to hide behind. Measuring batter carefully ahead of time will make your job easier when it's time to cut and fill.
4. Measure twice, cut once
Measure your layers multiple times before cutting. Even layers don't only look beautiful, they also add stability to your finished cake.
5. Take a soak
To keep the cake from drying out, brush on a little simple syrup or get creative with liquors, coffee, tea or another soak. Just be sure to use a light touch or your cake will get mushy.
6. Choose firm fillings
Swiss meringue buttercream, ganache and American buttercream all make for great filings that firm up nicely. Steer clear of a softer French buttercream or cream-cheese frosting to prevent any oozing or shifting once the cake is assembled. The weight of a tiered cake may be too much for a squishy filling.
7. Grab a piping bag
Using a piping bag fitted with a large round tip to apply filling will help keep the filling layers nice and even. Piping a dam of buttercream around the edges of each layer is essential if you plan on adding another softer filling like jam or mousse inside. Leave a little lip (about 1/4-inch) of open space around the edge of the layer as you pipe, to allow the filling to spread slightly when the other cake layers are set down.
8. Chill out
Letting your cake chill until the fillings are completely set will help keep it stable as it comes to room temperature at the party.
9. Use a center dowel
Crumb coats and fondant finishes add shape and stability to a tiered cake. With a naked cake, a center dowel can add an extra level of support and prevent any slip-sliding .
10. Show off that naked beauty!
Decorate the top of your cake with things like fresh flowers, sugar flower blooms or fruit, but let the unfrosted sides stand mostly on their own except for maybe a dramatic drizzle of chocolate, caramel or fruit sauce.