The rustic, stripped-down style of a naked cake makes it a perfect summer dessert.

By Karla Walsh
Updated April 23, 2020
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Sometimes, less is more. Case in point: these simple naked cake recipes that feature a little frosting and a lot of good taste. In contrast to their heavily-frosted layer cake counterparts, these naked cake ideas let the cake shine. They're coated in a thin layer of frosting, or just include frosting between each cake layer instead of around the outside, so you get just enough of the homemade frosting goodness per bite. Tie on your apron, preheat the oven, and prepare to be inspired by these beautiful naked cake ideas.

Jennifer Davick

Naked Cake

Remarkably moist (thanks to olive oil in the batter) and just sweet enough, this citrus-flavored cake is complemented by a thin layer of luscious lemon cream. Once you bake, stack, and spread with icing, dress up your naked cake as desired. Our favorite “outfit”? Berries, for a welcome burst of freshness and color, and edible flowers. Nothing makes for a better spring or summer party centerpiece than a naked cake with flowers!

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The Little Epicurean

Strawberry-Lemon Olive Oil Naked Cake

Speaking of olive oil, it lends a slight nutty yet buttery quality to the buttermilk batter for this cake. The lemon cake is refreshing as is, but it gets even more summery and sweet once slathered in strawberry cream. (It’s like an icy glass of strawberry lemonade in edible form.) Garnish the simple naked cake idea with fresh mint sprigs and berries.

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Dark Chocolate Cake with Fresh Strawberry Buttercream

If you like chocolate-covered strawberries, you’ll love this dark chocolate naked cake with fruit. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what one BH&G home baker says about this naked cake recipe: “I’ve made this cake three times and it is absolutely delicious. The frosting is light and fluffy, not dense, and has a wonderful strawberry flavor. I highly recommend it; it has become one of our family favorites.”

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Peach Bellini Cake

Champagne cake gets a summery, brunch-ready makeover with this semi-homemade bare cake recipe. Start with a boxed cake mix and make it your own with a splash of cream, peach jam, and sparkling wine instead of water. Decorate with peach jam whipped cream between layers only or spread a thin coating around the outside of the naked cake. Don’t skip the fresh peach slices and honey on top.

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Layered Blueberry (Pan)Cake

Sticking with the brunch theme, this naked cake recipe is like the world’s most glorious, supersized stack of blueberry pancakes—maple syrup and white chocolate “pats of butter” included! A thin layer of maple frosting is a sweet addition that still allows the hotcakes to take center stage.

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Scott Little

Vanilla Cake with Buttercream, Berries, and Jam

This fluffy and practically cloud-like cake (whipped egg whites for the win!) would get overwhelmed by a heavy ganache or glaze. That’s why this half-dressed cake recipe calls for slight schmears of buttercream, plus jam and fruit. Try it with whatever fresh produce is in season.

Andy Lyons

Chocolaty Harvest Fruit-Topped Cake

For an autumnal, cocoa twist on spice cake, try this chocolate naked cake that includes dashes of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. (Trust us on that last one, it brings out the sweetness of the cake.) Melted chocolate and caramel-flavor ice cream topping are the only “frostings” you need for this naked cake idea.

Comments (2)

Anonymous
May 8, 2018
I want them all.
Anonymous
May 1, 2018
No thanks,I want a cake with icing.