This Is the Most Hated Wedding Cake Trend Right Now
It all started with this Instagram.
AfterCountry Livingposted it last week, the comments started flowing in. Followers called it "unfinished," "sloppy" and a "horrible fad." Another commented that it looked like they ran out of frosting. These readers aren't alone—Brides.com included naked cakes in their roundup of the worst wedding trends according to planners earlier in 2019. And I totally agree with them all.
But let's back up a little bit here—what exactly is a naked cake? If you've haven't planned a wedding in the last few years you might not know what I'm talking about. Naked cakes are layer cakes that are served with little to no frosting on their sides—and they're probably one of the biggest weddings trends of the 2010s. There are nearly half a million photos on Instagram using the hashtag #nakedcake and over 17 million (!!!) results on Google for it.
But if they're so popular, why the cake hate?
When Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar started making naked cakes back in 2007 they were a refreshing alternative to big white wedding cakes. But their uniqueness has worn off a bit in the last decade. I'm not asking for the fondant-covered behemoths of decades past to make a comeback, but it's time for a new trend to make an appearance.
Naked cakes can also look really sloppy if not done well. Not even a few strategically placed fresh flowers can save a cake from looking like your six-year-old nephew decorated it. (Which if he did, that's adorable. But you're probably not paying him hundreds of dollars.) While, admittedly, this slightly undone look can fit right in at a rustic barn wedding, it can look totally out of place at a formal event.
But my biggest gripe about naked cakes is they areso dry. Without frosting to seal in the moisture, the cake layers dry out quickly. If you're not the biggest fan of frosting (gasp!) and are going to serve a cake within a few hours of baking it, go ahead and leave your cake bare. But wedding cakes typically need to be made and refrigerated several days before to make sure there's enough time for them to be delivered to the venue, which is a lot of time for your unfrosted cake to get stale.
You can prevent some of this dryness by opting for the "nearly-nude" version that has a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake. This is typically called the "crumb coat" so that bits of cake don't end up in the final layer of frosting. While this kind of naked cake is less likely to dry out since there is a little bit of buttercream holding in the moisture, it often comes out looking unfinished.
But before I go on, I have a confession: I'm a total hypocrite. When the Milk Bar cookbook came out in late 2011, I couldn't stop baking naked cakes. I brought them to several birthday parties and even made one for my sister's bridal shower. In fact, my third Instagram photo ever (a.k.a. back when cell phone cameras were terrible) was of the Milk Bar carrot cake, featuring (you guessed it!): Frosting-free sides.
And I haven't stopped either. There was this nearly-nude pink ombre cake.
And most importantly, the cinnamon roll-topped naked cake.
So why do I keep baking these if I'm so against naked cakes? Let's just say, I'm guilty of doing it for the 'gram. Even though that pink ombre cake wouldn't have dried out if I had given the whole thing another layer of buttercream, I wanted everyone to see the shades of pink cake peeking through the sides. And when you top a funfetti cake with a layer of funfetti cinnamon rolls, you're already so far past the point of making rational baking decisions that it doesn't even matter whether or not there's frosting on your cake.
So, I guess my point is, if you like the look of naked cakes then go for it. It's your wedding and ultimately your decision—do what makes you happy! Just don't be disappointed when that perfectly imperfect cake you've been eying on Pinterest ends up being kind of stale by the time you cut your cake.
Video: The Worst Cake Boss Fail EVER | Cake Boss
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