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The naked truth about "rustic" wedding cakes

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

For those of you who may not know the difference between a naked, semi naked and buttercream cake let me explain. A naked cake means you can see all of the sponge and is sometimes dusted with icing sugar. A semi naked cake has a smearing of buttercream all around the outside with little bits of cake peaking through and a buttercream cake is fully covered with buttercream.

Naked, semi naked and buttercream wedding cakes, with their rustic and minimalist look, have been a popular trend in the wedding industry for the past few years. While they may look appealing to some, there are several reasons why you may want to reconsider having one for your special day.

A naked or semi naked wedding cake lacks the clean and polished presentation of a traditional wedding cake. While it may fit a certain theme or style like a rustic barn wedding, it can appear incomplete or unfinished to some guests. For us wedding cake designers it's also a little boring when we get asked to make one as it means we can't use much artistic flair especially when we get asked to put fruit or fresh flowers on it. When you choose a cake that has fondant the possibilities are endless.

Naked, semi naked and buttercream wedding cakes are also more susceptible to temperature changes. Heat can cause the cake to dry out, become stale, or even collapse before the reception begins. Just think about a cake in a super hot marquee in Summer - it's not going to last long or even inside a building without air conditioning! There is one particular venue in Dundee which I swear gets hotter than the centre of the earth because it's basically a green house! A cake covered in fondant and ganache will provide a layer of protection and keep the moisture in the cake - however even in said green house venue I'm not sure how long a fondant covered cake would last for if it's placed right in the window.

I was at a wedding last year and they had a 5 tier buttercream cake with fresh flowers on it and by the time it was cut it was so so dry! Luckily it hadn't melted as it was in September so it wasn't that hot but it had dried out so much that it wasn't pleasant to eat - I did not make it I hasten to add!

Fondant on a traditional wedding cake provides not only a protective layer but also adds to the overall flavour of the cake. Without it, the cake may taste bland or dry. A cake covered with ganache and fondant allows you to incorporate different flavours and textures that complement the cake itself.

A wedding cake covered in fondant provides a canvas for decorating with a variety of edible or non-edible elements. With a naked cake you are really limited to having fruit or fresh flowers which to us creatives is really just a bit dull, although it's always lovely when someone asks for some sugar flowers.

While naked wedding cakes may look appealing at first glance, they can present a variety of issues that detract from the overall experience of your wedding day. A wedding cake covered in fondant provides a clean and polished presentation, helps maintain freshness, adds flavour and allows for additional decoration which makes me super happy!

Top tip: When you’re designing your wedding cake with your cake maker and you want a buttercream or semi naked cake in the middle of July in a marquee or conservatory, please trust them when they say this is a BAD idea. Or if you are adamant that you need to have a rustic looking cake please understand that we really do know what we are talking about and we may have to change your design at the last minute for it to be ganache coated and fondant covered or even use dummy cakes just so your cake doesn’t end up in a big sloppy mess before you’ve even cut it.

So on one of the hottest weeks of the year so far I can say that I am 100% happy that I don't have any wedding cakes on this week of the buttercream, or fondant variety.

Have you booked your wedding cake designer yet? If you're getting married in Dundee, Edinburgh or indeed anywhere in Scotland, then please don't hesitate to get in contact with me and we can start designing you a real show stopper wedding cake for your big day.

Peace, love and buttercream. x

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