Naked or ‘semi-naked’ cakes are by no means a new trend, but they are simple, pretty and ideal for spring and summer. I’ve been enjoying experimenting with the style recently so thought I’d share some tips and tricks I use to make fresh looking layer cakes for gatherings and special birthdays (I made this orange and passion fruit cake last week for an Easter get together!).
TIP ONE : WHERE TO BUY EDIBLE FLOWERS
Pinterest is flooded with beautiful cakes smothered in edible flowers, and up to now I have been at a loss as to where I can buy them; scour the shops and you are unlikely to find any and look online and you are faced with tiny boxes of pre-cut flower heads for upwards of £4.99 plus shipping (well out of my budget for a perishable cake decoration!).
I’d almost given up on looking for affordable edible flowers when I stumbled upon a section of violas in my local garden centre. They had a huge range on offer with pots for only £1.50 each. I bought a selection and now have a steady supply of flowers when I need them, as when I cut the heads off, they re-bud!
Next time you’re in the market for some edible flowers, take a trip to a garden centre and see if you can find a better value option than the online boxes- just make sure they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals before you buy them!
(Note: the white flowers on this cake (gypsophila) are not edible, I just love their bohemian look).
TIP TWO: THE IMPORTANCE OF FROSTING
When you frost your cake, make sure your icing has a slightly loose but still spreadable consistency so you can make the edges as smooth as possible. I find that cream cheese frosting works a little better than buttercream for this.
My basic cream cheese frosting consists of: 200g cream cheese, 100g butter, 600g icing sugar and a few drops of milk
When I frosted this cake, I used a palette knife to spread a very thin layer around the edges to seal off the crumbs (a ‘crumb layer’), then chilled for 10 minutes until firm before spreading one more thin layer over the top to finish.
TIP THREE: GREAT COLOUR POP INGREDIENTS
I like to keep fruity spring cakes as natural as possible when it comes to the toppers and there are two particular ingredients I find really useful in giving a pop of colour without resorting to sprinkles etc.
Pistachios- I like to chop up pistachios roughly and sprinkle them in a half moon shape around the surface of cakes as a base on which to place flowers and other decorations. Vibrant green looks great on white and gives a really summery feel.
Pomegranate seeds- A classic middle eastern ingredient, ruby red pomegranate seeds are brilliant for bringing a fairly dull looking cake to life (or main courses and beige dips too!). When paired with pistachios they look bold and eye catching.
TIP FOUR: PINEAPPLE CRISP DECORATIONS
If you look at the above photo you will see the orange flower-like crisps I have angled to give some height to the decoration. I made these crisps using pineapple and think they make for really pretty and quite impressive cake toppers.
All you need to make them is a pineapple. Simply heat your oven to 100c and slice a pineapple with a mandolin (or very sharp knife) as thinly as possible.
Dry out thoroughly on kitchen paper then place the pineapple rounds in a muffin tray and leave to harden in the oven for 2 hours. After that time just turn the pineapple over and return to the oven for another half an hour to fully dry the bottoms, then leave out to cool and harden fully. Use as required!
I hope these little tips help in your cake decorating endeavours and that you like the look of my orange and passionfruit creation!