How to Make a Naked Cake

Do you love cake but find yourself scraping off a lot of the frosting before eating it? Say hello to the naked cake! It wears a bit of frosting between the layers but the sides are bare. Cake designers have elevated the naked cake to a work of art and I feel they’re often prettier than their fully-frosted counterparts. You don’t have to be a pastry chef to create your own beautiful version of a naked cake. I actually think this style of cake is easier to decorate. Mine wears flowers from my garden.

How to Make a Naked Cake

Normally I prefer to bake my cakes from scratch, but this weekend I had a lot going on and decided to try an organic yellow cake mix from Fresh Market. You can use any of your favorite recipes. I used 2 mixes and baked 4 layers to give my cake a bit of height.

Baking Layers for a Naked Cake


This next part I hate because it involves cutting off the lopsided top of your cake. You want your layers to be even so the cake isn’t lopsided when it’s all stacked and finished. If you have kids, you can let them snack on the parts you cut off. I simply eye each cake layer straight on and shave off slivers until the top looks straight and even.

Cutting off the top of cake layers so your cake doesn't look lopsided


Make your frosting and then ice the first layer using a good icing spatula, spreading an even layer.

Frosting the layers of a naked cake


Add the second layer and push down slightly so the frosting oozes a bit out the sides.

Frosting the layers of a naked cake


Continue until all layers are assembled. You could leave the sides as is, but I like a slightly frosted look. Take the flat edge of your icing spatula and thinly spread the frosting that’s oozing around the perimeter of the cake.

How to frost and stack cake layers


If you have any dry spots, use a little bit of leftover frosting to apply a very thin layer. Spread it on and then scrape off any excess working carefully. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

How to frost a naked cake


Add a thin layer of frosting on the top of the cake and decorate as desired. I used pale green and white flowers from my cutting garden to decorate my vanilla naked cake.

Decorate a Naked Cake with Fresh Flowers


Zinnias crown the top of my cake while white cosmos dot the bottom. To serve, simply remove the flowers and smooth out the frosting if needed. You can add a flower to each person’s place for a special touch.

Decorate a Naked Cake with Fresh Flowers


View and follow my Naked Cakes board on Pinterest for more cake decorating inspiration!

Naked Cakes Pin Board


Or buy a cookbook dedicated to making the naked cake!

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  1. The cake is so pretty. I am like you and usually, prefer to bake from scratch but that cake not only being pretty but looks so good. I love how you added all of the pretty flowers.

  2. Hmmm, my experience with unfrosted cakes (sides) is that the edge gets tough and you
    can’t eat it (dries out in the air). I see by the pic that there is a thin layer of frosting still
    left on the sides from scraping. That might save it, am I right?