The old saying, "It's what's on the inside that counts," certainly applies to the naked wedding cake trend. No, you don't have to blush at the sound of this dessert. This is one aspect of your wedding day where it's totally acceptable to be in the buff. Instead of frosting the outside of the cake with layers upon layers of fondant or buttercream, many bakers are increasing the filling between layers and leaving cakes completely or semi-exposed for a fresh (and delicious) look.
What Is a Naked Wedding Cake?
The naked cake is a cake style that omits the majority of frosting you would typically see on the exterior of a cake. Cake layers are baked and stacked with plenty of filling to add flavor and moisture to the cake and served without an outer layer of frosting.
Naked cakes rose to popularity in 2013 as more bakers began to offer these creative confections. But this style has been refined and completely elevated over time to present a look that is definitely deserving of a place on your wedding dessert table.
"Most of our clients choose a naked or semi-naked design simply because they love the look, and it fits the rustic or sometimes industrial theme of their venue and wedding reception," Ashley Lattier of Ashley Cakes says.
A semi-naked cake follows the same style, with a bit more frosting on the cake. For this style, the baker typically adds a very thin layer of frosting to the cake, scraping the edges to let the cake layers show through.
With just as many ways to customize naked wedding cakes as their fully frosted counterparts, you'll be able to work with your baker to achieve a look that reflects your wedding style, whether you're planning a rustic barn wedding, a garden-inspired dinner, or a modern soirée.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to naked wedding cakes is the potential for the cake layers to dry out before serving. While it doesn't happen often, it's best to double-check with your baker if they can bake and assemble your cake the day of your wedding to prevent any potential for drying.
But, matching your wedding style isn't the only benefit of this cake design. According to Lattier, it may also be the perfect option for those who aren't huge fans of sweets or for the couple looking to cut down on overall cake costs. "We have had clients go with this style because they may not have a big sweet tooth, and obviously with this style of cake, there is less icing," Lattier says. "Pricing is another benefit to this style in a lot of cases. Without having to ice the cake to a smooth finish, your baker will have less time involved in the decoration, which may save some cost."
Ready for some major naked cake inspiration? Here are 30 of our favorites.
Meet the Expert
Ashley Lattier is the owner of Ashley Cakes, a boutique wedding cake studio based in North Carolina.
Chocolate Drip Semi-Naked Cake
This unfrosted cake is dripping with a chocolate glaze and dotted with lush pink flowers and figs. It would be such a lovely addition to a late summer wedding—the perfect cake for the couple wanting something completely out of the ordinary.
Simple and Sweet Summer Naked Cake
This naked cake with fluffy white filling is topped with a bundle of pink-hued blooms and rosy-red strawberries. This is such a gorgeous option for a low-key outdoor wedding. Snag this concept and swap out the florals and fruits to fit any season.
Bright Fall-Inspired Semi-Naked Cake
According to Lattier, one of the best ways to design a naked cake for a wedding is to view the cake as a blank canvas. "There are so many ways to tailor the finished cake to each individual client’s wedding style," she says. "One way we like to do this is by playing with the color palette or arrangement of the florals. I love adding fresh flowers to a cake, and it’s a great way to incorporate the cake into your reception design." With semi-naked layers, flecks of gold, a colored drip, and beautiful florals, this is the perfect cake for an early fall wedding.
Rustic Semi-Naked Cake With Florals
This classic-yet-rustic cake comes lightly frosted with white buttercream and garnished with fresh flowers and succulents. Place it on a wooden server, as it's shown here, for a picture-perfect boho vibe.
Cascading Blooms on a Semi-Naked Cake
A trail of white roses and vines transforms this four-tier semi-naked cake into a jaw-dropping display. With monochromatic hues, this sugary treat will give your celebration a timeless feel, and it's versatile enough for any aesthetic. Complete your confection with a personalized cake topper, and you'll really wow your guests.
Indulgent Berry Naked Cake
This cake style is perfect for the couple wanting to stray from tradition. The rustic hazelnut cake is filled with mascarpone cream and blackberries throughout the layers, with additional berries and greenery to top it off. We love the idea of serving this confection at a backyard wedding or pairing it with other sweets to create a dessert table display.
Fruity Semi-Naked Cake
Topping your cake with fresh fruit is a fun way to complement a summer wedding. "Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries add so much color, and make the cake look extra fresh and delicious," Lattier says.
Colorful Semi-Naked Confection
One of the best ways to elevate any cake is a streak of color. This three-tier semi-naked cake seems to burst with vitality, thanks to a cascade of exotic blooms in pink and orange tones with a touch of blue. The white base offers a beautiful contrast and accentuates the vibrant shades even more.
All-Chocolate Naked Cake
A naked chocolate cake featuring berries and figs is perfect for a whimsical, wooded wedding. We love the simplicity of this chocolate confection, complete with the sweetest cake topper.
Sweet Pink Ombré Semi-Naked Cake
This pink ombré confection is a subtle way to use the trend, and it has a more classic feel thanks to the pink tulips that are standing on top. This would be the perfect addition to a late spring wedding or a garden-inspired soirée. You could even mix up the ombré color to match any palette.
Pop of Pink on a Semi-Naked Cake
A cluster of pink peonies, baby's breath, and bunny tails gives this three-tier semi-naked cake a romantic touch. Instead of engulfing the entire cake in blooms, decorating the second tier will make an impact without concealing the exposed layers. Position your floral design in the center to draw all eyes there.
Chocolate Semi-Naked Cake With Caramel Drizzle
Adding a drizzle of caramel or chocolate is such a great way to make a semi-naked cake that much more irresistible. According to Lattier, this is an excellent style to put on display in an industrial venue with exposed brick, concrete, or wood beams. "I find the unfinished and exposed texture of the semi-naked style to fit them perfectly," she says.
While naked cakes omit frosting, don't be afraid to bring other components into the mix to add flavor and moisture. Check with your baker on the potential for adding a drizzle of chocolate, a raspberry sauce, or a flavored caramel, such as bourbon or vanilla.
Towering Tall Naked Cake
This three-tier vanilla cake with fresh flowers and delicious buttercream is a showstopper that's ready to be put on full display at a preppy, nautical wedding. We can't get over the way the separation of the tiers truly makes a statement.
Island-Ready Semi-Naked Cake
This semi-naked three-tier wedding cake is adorned with wildflower-like blooms that make it look ready for a tropical destination wedding on an island. We love the simplicity of this look.
One-Tier Semi-Naked Cake With Muted Foliage
Topping your dessert off with a variety of foliage is the best way to enhance a single-tier cake. With bunny tails, vines, and blooms in muted hues, this cake is bursting with texture. We love how the light pink and white tones coordinate perfectly with the dusting of icing.
Rustic Semi-Naked Cake With Piped Borders
The thin rows of piped frosting dress this naked cake up. It's gorgeous on the outside, but inside, this vanilla cake has alternating layers of rose-raspberry buttercream and salted caramel filling to make it all the more special.
Elegant Semi-Naked Cake With Purple Florals
While naked cakes are typically found in more rustic settings, it's absolutely possible to bring the look into a more elegant wedding. This cake features just a hint of the naked look to give texture and contrast to the cake, paired with stunning purple blooms.
Tall Tiered Semi-Naked Cake
Who says all of the tiers of your naked cake need to be the same? "Changing the height or shape of the individual tiers is another great way to change up the look," Lattier notes. This stunner utilizes a tall bottom tier with a two-layer top tier to create contrast, paired with beautiful florals and greenery to pull the look together.
Flower-Covered Semi-Naked Cake
You can barely tell this naked cake is in the buff because of a big bouquet of roses and greenery on the side. Ditching the frosting that would normally be along the edges helps the flowers really shine, giving off a romantic feel.
Short Layered Semi-Naked Cake
This semi-naked wedding cake is dotted with white blooms and sprigs of greenery. With a natural feel, this naked cake could fit into any wedding theme.
Desert-Inspired Semi-Naked Cake
If you're getting married in the desert, ditch the flowers and opt for a bare look that mirrors the surrounding landscape. Go almost completely naked on the sides. Then, top your cake with a cactus for a chic nod to your location.
Sweet Peach Semi-Naked Cake
This peach-colored cake is a romantic dessert made of barely-there frosting and lush blooms. This would be the sweetest cake to display for a spring or summer garden party wedding.
Bold Florals Semi-Naked Cake
This semi-naked cake is topped with sprawling flowers and lush greenery, making it a true stunner for a romantic wedding. We love how the soft hues and various textures bring this confection to life.
Bright Pink Peony Naked Cake
Sometimes, a simple pink peony is all you need to dress up a naked cake for your backyard wedding. With simple layers of vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream, this cake is truly pretty in pink.
Dotted-Edge Naked Cake
This is simplicity at its best. We love the way tall layers of vanilla cake are paired with frosting to make a statement. With dotted piping on the layers, it adds a sweet touch of innocence to a spring or summer wedding.
Bright White Floral Semi-Naked Cake
We love the bright white color palette of this cake and the simplicity of the design paired with greenery. Can you picture this confection at a garden-inspired wedding? "Adding beautiful floral and greenery cascades just give the cake a natural, organic style that fits the outside garden setting so well," Lattier shares.
Fig and Chocolate Drizzle Naked Cake
Naked cakes can offer the ability to cut back on the sweetness of a cake, but they also have the potential to do just the opposite, depending on your décor. This decadent confection integrates layers of chocolate cake and frosting with chocolate ganache, figs, and berries for a divine look, perfect for a winter wedding.
Figs and Greenery Semi-Naked Cake
There are so many ways to add elements of elegance to a naked cake display, and completely frosting one of the tiers is one way to pull it off. This stunning cake screams European elegance with a tall bottom tier and a small semi-naked tier on top, paired with greenery and figs to complete the design.
Single Layer Semi-Naked Cake
Planning a more intimate wedding? No need to include multiple tiers. Naked cakes can be the perfect option for a mini cake display.
Semi-Naked Cake With White Chocolate Drizzle
Don't be afraid to switch up the design for each tier of your naked cake. Opt to include one semi-naked tier, along with one fully frosted for a contrasted look. With a drizzle on top, complete with berries and greenery, this look is truly show-stopping.