If you've been keeping up on cake trends lately, then you have no doubt noticed that there has been a move towards simple, rustic feeling cakes. When I started decorating almost 10 years ago, I was working with a lot of fondant cakes and people wanted ornate, very finished looking cakes. Now, there's been a reversal and many of my clients are opting for more soft, textured, less-finished looking cakes. Even though these cakes are more homey feeling, they are still sophisticated and work really well for so many different styles of wedding.
In some ways, it was a natural progression to move from these rustic buttercream cakes to the popular "Naked Cake" design. This is a design that has been on the upswing lately. In fact, a very large percentage of my recent brides have asked for some variation of the naked cake. What is a naked cake? Well, in its simplest form, it is a cake without icing, simply exposed sides which allow you to see the layers cake and fillings.
I've noticed a few variations of the cake exist. The first, simply involves slicing and layering the cake with filings, then you allow the filings to sort of ooze out of the sides of the cake. This is a fun look, which highlights the use of fresh fruits or really delicious fillings. The next option starts out like the first version, then you smooth the filings along the sides of the cake, giving the cake a slightly more finished look and a straighter edge. The last version, starts off like the first two, but then you give it what I call a "skim coat" of icing, which still allows the guest to see through to the cake in several places, but otherwise seals in the layers and helps keep the cake from drying out.
Depending on your desired aesthetic and some more structural factors (like how hot will it be, how big is the cake, how loose is the filling) you may be better suited by one of the slightly iced versions. Your decorator should guide you to a design that will be beautiful and will hold up throughout your wedding. You probably don't want you cake concept to be so de-constructed that it falls apart during your wedding!
I've asked myself a few times lately, why have these cakes become so popular lately? The theory that I've come up with is that in this day and age, people are really interested in having their food be "authentic" and "delicious" as well as beautiful. The naked cake implies a home-made quality. It's a step away from the rigid, dry, not so tasty cakes that we have, unfortunately, come to associate with weddings. It is simple, but still really beautiful. It compliments a relaxed wedding and lends the dessert table a DIY quality. Consider trying out a naked cake for your next gathering!