Behind the Scenes: Semi Naked Wedding Cakes

Semi naked wedding cakes can look absolutely beautiful, but they’re also surprisingly time consuming and risky to make. Without icing to help secure everything together, the slightest adverse weather condition or bump in the road can be disastrous. On top of that, as they are made so close to the wedding, they are stressful and leave no room for error. So what is it really like to make a semi naked wedding cake? Let’s find out…

Preparing to Make a Semi Naked Wedding Cake

In the weeks leading up to a semi naked cake, everything is the same as making a normal cake. I’ll be confirming final arrangements with the couple like setup time at the venue, and the time the cake will be cut. This is really important because semi naked wedding cakes can’t be left out indefinitely like their fondant or buttercream relatives. I need to find the sweet spot between setting up at a quiet time (preferably no guests, room free) and not leaving the cake out for too long before cutting time. As well as confirming details with the couple, I’ll also be ordering in the ingredients, boards, and decorations like the organic edible flowers from Maddocks Farm Organics. Finally, I’ll be drafting handover guides for the venue, and preparing a central dowel and holes in my boards (if I’m using that method).

5 Days Before the Wedding

So we have officially jumped forward in time by about 2-3 weeks! At the beginning of the week (assuming a Friday/Saturday/Sunday wedding) I’ll be prepping syrups and fillings for my cakes. This might mean making a fresh batch of caramel for my caramel buttercream, whizzing up fruit for buttercreams, or just making a batch of vanilla syrup to soak my sponges in before filling.

2 Days Before the Wedding

08:00-12:00 – Most of my semi-naked wedding cakes are decorated with organic edible flowers. These are picked 2 days before the wedding, then shipped overnight. They arrive with me the day before the wedding and spend their time chilling out in the fridge before I leave for a delivery!

13:00 – Start baking! My baking days start with a clean down of the entire kitchen. Once I’ve done that, I line my tins and start getting out the various bowls, beaters, spatulas, and spoons I need to make a cake. Depending on the size of the cake, it can take between 15-45 minutes to mix up a batch of batter before it goes in the oven for another 45-90 minutes.

16:00 – Take first batch of cakes out of the oven. When they’re completely cooked, I put them aside to cool down in their tins. Whilst they’re relaxing, it’s time to start whipping up a second batch of batters. Another 1 hour or so later and they’re in the oven.

18:30 – Take the next batch of cakes out of the oven and set aside to cool with the others. Again, whilst they’re starting to cool down, it’s time to make another batch of batters. With a 4 tier cake, I can easily be whipping up 8-10 batches of batter with cakes going in and out of the oven up to 4 or even 5 times.

21:00 – Take the final cakes out of the oven and leave everything to cool. Once cool, I wrap them up and leave them overnight, before doing a final clean down for the evening. I’ll also get my butter out of the fridge ready for making buttercream in the morning, and get jams and curds up to room temperature ready for tomorrow.

The Day Before the Wedding

9:45 – As usual, my day starts with a clean down. Once I’ve done that, it’s on to buttercream. Sometimes, I get an easy life and I only need vanilla buttercream. When it gets really complicated, I could have all sorts of different flavoured buttercreams on the inside of the cake, with a paler whiter buttercream for the outside of cakes. That takes lots of washing up and coordination!

11:15 – Open up all of the cakes and trim them into layers. Once trimmed, I lay them out and cover in a flavoured syrup. This keeps them fresh but also adds even more delicious flavour to the sponge.

12:00 – Once all of the cakes have been trimmed and covered in syrup, I can start stacking them. Starting with boards, each layer is stacked up and filled with buttercream and/or jam. Once layered, they sit in the fridge for 10 minutes so that the fillings firm up a little bit before covering. After that, it’s a case of coating the cake in buttercream and gently scraping back layers until it’s suitably semi-naked.

14:00 – When they’re decorated, the cakes will be packed up in their boxes to sit overnight.

The Day of the Wedding

12:30 – Put all cakes in the fridge ready for the journey.

13:15 – Dowel each tier of cake and return them to the fridge.

13:30 – Pack my tools and check I have everything. There’s a very long list of tools that I take with me when setting up a cake. Some of them are obvious, like spatulas and spare buttercream. Others are a little more unique like my ruler.

13:45 – Pack the car. Like a jigsaw puzzle, there’s always a bit of swapping pieces around until everything fits. And as most sensible people will know, cakes have to be carried in a completely flat area, like a car boot or footwell. So there aren’t many options for stashing boxes.

14:00 – Leave for the venue. Fully laden with boxes of wedding cakes, you have to drive really carefully. So, like every grandma on Sunday, I set out with my sat nav on, slowly accelerating and taking corners at what feels like 5mph!

14:30 – Arrive at the venue. Once at the venue, I’ve usually got about 2 or 3 big boxes to unload from the car. From the cakes themselves (all on one large bakery tray) to my edible flowers and tools. When I have everything I need, I can start stacking up the cakes, from the bottom to the top. Finally, I can add the gorgeous edible flowers on at the end and take a picture of all my hard work!

15:30 – Go home. Try not to worry too much about the cake’s safety. Too much sunlight, heat or movement can all cause problems for a semi-naked wedding cake. Often, if there is a problem, it isn’t because a person has done something wrong, it’s just an unfortunate accident. Knowing that makes it even harder to relax!

Semi-Naked Wedding Cake with White and Pink Flowers

Hopefully, you’ll get a good idea of what it takes for a quality baker to create a semi-naked wedding cake. Although many people think it’s the easiest wedding cake style to do, and therefore is perfect for DIY cakes, it’s unfortunately not quite that easy. It’s 2 intense days of baking and decorating to ensure that you get a perfect cake. There is no room for error and you absolutely have to have good quality sponge cakes. Any crooked cakes, dents or burnt bits will be obvious with such a small amount of icing to cover up. So the next time you see a gorgeous semi-naked wedding cake, think about the baker who’s worked his or her bum off to make it!

If you’re looking for a semi-naked wedding cake in Surrey, Hampshire or beyond, please do get in touch. Good luck and happy planning.


With love from lila xx