I enjoy looking at a beautifully decorated cake just as much as the next baker, but I’ve had enough cakes to know that it is what is underneath all that icing that counts. A good cake is beautiful all on its own and, while it can be fun to go all out with buttercream frosting for a celebratory occasion, a cake doesn’t need frosting to be delicious. In Naked Cakes: Simply Stunning Cakes, we can celebrate cakes in all their glory – without all the icing. Instead, we can see the layers of cake and the fillings that hold those layers together, which give you a preview of what that cake is going to taste like in a way that a fondant-covered cake can’t.
book starts out with an introduction into the process of decorating “naked cakes”. Since there isn’t a lot of frosting to work with, making the most of what you have can be the difference between a good cake and a memorable one. The book recommends a variety of garnishes, from caramelized nuts to edible flowers, that will help take your cake ver-the-top. Most of the recipes in the book are based on simple sponge cake batters that are given towards the beginning of the book. The batters can be easily adapted to use a variety of different flavors and food colorings, as each recipe requires, and the tender sponge cakes are easy to work with when you are decorating. A lot of the flavor for each cake comes from the frostings and fillings – making them a much more important component of the cake than simply acting as “glue” to hold the layers together. The recipes cover an wide range of flavors and there is sure to be something for everyone.
Though these cakes are not frosted on the sides, none of them look incomplete. Some cakes use different colors of cake batter to create an ombre effect, while others incorporate fresh fruit into the fillings to tempt to you to take that first bite. No matter what the finish is on each one, they all look finished. The cakes seem more approachable to bakers who are intimidated by the idea of piping on row after row of tiny embellishments. They will also seem like big time savers to bakers who like to do a lot of decorating, but feel they don’t always have the time to completely frost every cake they bake. The book will give you a fresh outlook on how to finish a layer cake, and will likely inspire you to bake them just a bit more often.
If you want a head start while waiting for your book to arrive, check out my Cinnamon Layer Cake, a “naked cake” of my own design that is a great option for any occasion.