Happily Ever After

A Naked Cake for Your Wedding Could Be All the Rage

Mar 20, 2017
Courtesy of: The Big Apple Bakery

It probably wouldn’t be a shock to know that many brides and grooms get naked after their wedding. But for them to get naked at any point during their wedding reception might be a little freaky and, for the most part, socially unacceptable. After all, you really don’t want to send grandma to the emergency room with heart issues.

However, it’s not a bad idea to bring a naked cake to the reception. In fact, that trend has become quite popular in recent years.

“The naked cake trend may have started about five years ago,” said Jess Bartlett, owner of Cake That! on East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin. “Ron Ben-Israel may have started it in New York City, and it’s slowly been trickling down to this area the past few years.

“We have a lot of transient brides from the New York area. They have weddings here, on or near Long Beach Island, and they bring many of those ideas that start up there with them. And, so, naked cakes are starting to become a bigger thing around here.”

George and Maureen Snyder, the owners of Moester’s Bakery – located in the Lakeside Village shopping plaza on North Main Street in Manahawkin – had never heard of a naked cake until a few years ago, when a man showed them a picture of one and asked if they’d make one for his daughter’s upcoming wedding.

“The girl’s father had worked in a large hotel up in New York, and he had moved down here to be a chef locally,” said George, who has made about a dozen naked cakes for various weddings the past few years. “He showed me a picture of one and asked if I could do it. I looked at it and said, ‘Well, it’s a cake. I’ll make it however you want it.’ It didn’t matter to me if it was some new thing. I liked the idea of doing something new and different.”

Joseph Urciuoli, owner of The Big Apple Bakery, located in the Manahawkin Center shopping plaza nestled between East Bay Avenue and Mill Creek Road next to the Acme supermarket, said the first time he saw a naked cake was when a bride-to-be walked in with a Pinterest post.

“It was different, that’s for sure,” he said. “We’re more of an old-school, traditional bakery, and this cake was totally out of the ordinary. It was kind of strange doing that first one.”

So, what is a naked cake, exactly? It’s actually very simple to describe.

“Basically, it’s a cake without icing,” George Snyder said. “You have your cake layers, with the filling in between, and that’s it.”

And that really is it, except during recent years naked cakes have been taking on a character of their own. After all, it’s still a cake, and its decorative options truly are no less than the traditional, butter-cream-iced wedding cake.

In fact, because there’s no icing to “hide” what’s underneath – that is, the actual cake and filling – naked cakes allow for the possibility of additional experimentation with regard to color and external decoration.

For instance, there’s the “ombre” style of cake, which essentially has a darker base color, and it can be designed to get lighter as it ascends the cake. Snyder said creating such a design can be done with the cake layers, just as it can be done with icing on a standard cake.

“If you have three layers, you can start on the bottom with a chocolate cake and have each layer above it with less chocolate mix so it’s lighter,” he said. “Or you color white cake and start with a darker base color and make the colors lighter as it ascends. We once did a smaller cake that was colored like a rainbow. With naked cakes, there are all kinds of options.”

Additionally, if you’re really not interested in going totally naked with your wedding cake, you may opt for a “semi-naked” or what Snyder called a “wet” naked cake. The semi-naked design is one on which a layer of icing initially is put on the cake and then mostly scraped away so that it maintains an almost tufted look. A “wet” naked variety has an almost glassy look to a very thin layer of icing along the cake.

Of course, decorating beyond its base colors can go just about anywhere with the naked cake – from using fresh flowers and fresh fruit to cascading chocolate and even spices to accent certain areas.

“Every cake has its character, and the naked cake is no different,” Bartlett said. “The naked caked can be edgy. It can be elegant. It can be full of whatever character you want. And I think they’re really fun to do.”

But for some, such as one of The Big Apple’s designers, Denise Zarrillo, it takes a bit of getting used to because what seems to be the imperfection of a naked cake is the perfection of it, she said.

“When you have no icing on a cake, it almost seems like it’s not finished, even though it is,” Zarrillo said. “The first time I did one, I looked at it and thought, ‘Is this really what they want?’ But by the third time, it wasn’t a big deal. We had gotten a lot of positive feedback on the ones we did before it, so the shock wore off.”

However, if you’re going to go with a naked cake, Snyder said to be sure not to shock your guests with anything gaudy.

“Fresh fruit on a naked cake is gorgeous, and the more color the better,” he said. “Fresh flowers are great. My dream naked cake would have a massive amount of strawberries in each layer and chocolate cascading down the sides. But whatever you do, don’t do ribbons or bling. That kind of stuff would look awful on a naked cake. It would be like putting a silk hat on a pig.”

David Biggy

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