Naked Cake Tutorial: Elegant, Incredibly Easy

I'm not the biggest fan of icing.  I usually scrape most of mine off if I'm eating cake or cupcakes.  So I LOVE the trend of Naked Cakes.

And as an added bonus, they're incredibly easy to make!  No decorating skill required!

Think about it.  No smoothing icing to blemish-free perfection.  No fondant rolling, no gumpaste modeling.  A little icing, a little powdered sugar, a few flowers and/or fruit.

Start, of course, by baking your cake.  Torte the cake into as many layers as you'd like.

Now, there is one problem with naked cakes:  because they don't have a layer of icing around all the edges, they dry out a lot faster than completely iced cakes.  But a simple syrup soak, a trick my mom learned when she was in school to become a pasty chef, is the perfect, delicious, easy solution.

First, make a simple syrup solution (equal parts water and sugar, heated until the sugar dissolves).  Fil a squeeze bottle half with the simple syrup, half with some flavored liquid.  I used freshly squeezed lemon juice for this cake, but other juices and liqueurs are fantastic choices (chocolate cake with Baileys Irish Cream and simple syrup mixture is amazing).

Squirt the simple syrup on each layer of cake except for the top one.    Be generous.  The cake can really absorb way more than you'd guess.

Let the simple syrup solution soak in, then add your filling.  I was making a strawberry lemonade cake, so I used homemade strawberry jam, sliced strawberries, and lemon cream cheese icing.

By the second layer I figured out that it was easier to spread the icing first, and then add the jam and strawberries.  You're welcome for that stunningly obvious bit of advice that I managed to miss.

Without icing around the sides, naked cakes tend to be a little more slippy-slidey, so even though I wasn't stacking any more layers on this cake, I used straws to stabilize the layers.  Just push a straw in the cake, and trim it to the height of the top of the cake.

The straws also happen to make handy flower holders for some of the less sturdy flowers I used.  Bonus!

Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and top with fresh flowers and fruit.

I made this for a graduation party, but this would be absolutely perfect for Mother's Day this weekend!

What mom wouldn't love being presented with something like this?  And it's so simple, it's something older children (or a dad who isn't so handy in the kitchen) could pull off with ease.

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