The Naked Cake

I made a naked cake.

A cake that is naked.

Naked cakes sprang up at hipster weddings across the land last year.  Since I am neither a hipster nor getting married there was no reason for me to have a naked cake.  And I made a frowny face that lasted a full year.  But when I realized Betty would need a cake for her 80th birthday I rejoiced.  Turn that frown upside down.   I was finally going to be able to strip.




I made an 8 layer sponge cake which I thought was a chiffon cake but evidently is a pound cake. Apparently what I think of as a sponge cake is not what the British think of as a sponge cake.  I didn’t know. I don’t speak cake.

So I had an 8 layer lemon verbena “sponge” (actually pound) cake.  In between each layer I spread thick layers of homemade lemon curd and vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

The outside was decorated with fresh lemon verbena leaves, local raspberries and green tails Amaranths from my cutting garden. Also there’s the bunting banner I made  which I unabashedly copied from a similar banner I saw on … wait for it … this is so weird … Pinterest.  I know.  A bunting on Pinterest.  That’s almost as rare as a wart on a witch.




It was a thing of beauty this cake.  Allow me to explain how it made it’s journey to my sister’s house, a 10 minute drive away.

I placed the cake, marble cake stand and all, into the trunk of my car.  I sat the cake stand on a non slip pad and closed the trunk.   The hot, sweaty, festering, trunk.  It was like placing the cake into the armpit of a dry cleaning business.

And then I prayed.  And then I realized I don’t actually have a religion and had no one to pray to. So I prayed to the one person I thought could really understand my anxiety.  I prayed to Martha Stewart.

I started the car, put my hazards on, took a deep breath and slowly stepped on the gas.  Now I had a problem.  The cake was melting at a rapid pace but if I went anything over 10 km an hour I risked the cake falling over.  But the cake was more likely to fall over if the icing and curd melted.

Then I had an anxiety attack inside my car, did some thrashing, banging, hitting myself on the head … you know, that sort of thing and cried in a way Martha Stewart would never.  At the very moment I was about to get really dramatic a deep calm came over me and I felt a hand on my back nudging me forwards. Thanks Cake Boss.

14 hours later I made it to my sister’s house with a puddle of cake in the trunk.  Just kidding.  Both the cake and I made it to the party with only a bit of melting and slanting.




As you can see, by the time she saw the cake Betty was slanting a bit too, so to her the cake was straight.





The biggest question everyone seemed to have was how do you slice a cake like this?  Well it’s pretty straight forward. You don’t slice it. Everyone gathers ’round and smashes their face into it.


At least that’s what I suggested but nobody went for it.  80 years olds can be annoyingly stuck in their ways.

What you’re looking at is really 4 cakes, stacked on top of each other.  I cut the top cake in half and that made 2 slices.  Then the next cake was cut into 4, making 4 slices.  And so on.

And then everyone smashed their faces into it.




If you’re a hipster, getting married or turning 80 I highly, completely and enthusiastically recommend a naked cake. It’s a horrible travelling companion but it makes a great entrance.
Have a good weekend!



  1. Gail Blain Peterson says:

    BEAUTIFUL — next time I recommend a package of big fat Boba Straws — I order them from Amazon. They will stabilize your cake and keep it from slipping. Wish I could talk my daughter into a naked cake for her wedding in November — no this Momma will be making buttercream when she should be beautifying herself on wedding day :)

  2. Allison says:

    Really beautiful..

  3. Lesley says:

    I’m late to this party and haven’t read all of the preceding 800 posts but – that’s an amazing looking cake!

    I think what you maybe meant to make, or thought you were making, or perhaps neither, is the Victoria Sandwich, sometimes called the Victoria Sponge. Here’s my Nana’s recipe converted to metric and written out for idiots (that’d be me). It’s fabulous. You can fancy up the cake any way you want but the two traditional fillings are included here.

    Victoria Sandwich


    1 cup sugar
    200 g (just under 2 sticks) butter, softened
    4 eggs, beaten
    200 g (1.6 cups) self-raising flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 T milk

    Heat over to 375F. To prepare cake grease 2 – 7” round cake tins then line bottom with wax paper. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together then beat in eggs. Sift in flour and baking powder. Mix until smooth. Mix in milk. Divide mixture between the tins, leveling the tops with a spatula. Bake on center rack 20-22 minutes or until centres are springy. Cool completely on a cooling rack.

    Filling Option #1: Butter Cream

    100 g (just under 1 stick) butter, softened
    1.2 cups icing sugar
    drop of vanilla extract

    Place butter in a deep bowl. Sift the icing sugar and gradually beat it into the butter. Beat in vanilla. Spread it over one of the cakes as filling then place second cake on top and press down lightly. Dust top of cake with icing sugar. You can also use a paper lace doily with icing sugar sprinkled through it to make a pretty pattern.

    Filling Option #2: jam and Devonshire Cream

    340 g good-quality strawberry or raspberry jam
    2 jars of Devonshire cream

    Spread the jam over one of the cakes as filling, then dollop a layer of Devonshire on top of the jam. Dust top of cake with icing sugar. You can also use a paper lace doily with icing sugar sprinkled through it to make a pretty pattern.

    Keep in airtight container and eat within 2 days.

  4. Kim says:

    Hi Karen,
    Both Betty and your naked cake are absolutely beautiful! The only down side I can possibly see is that when I showed your beautiful cake to my Mother she said something along the lines of “Oh that’s so sweet! Why don’t you ever do anything like that for me?” Soooooooo, since I need to learn how to make one, could you please do a step by step post of how you made your Naked Cake? pretty please? :)

  5. Sunny Knight says:

    Hi Karen Its Sunny here from Australia. I havent blogged you for ages as it takes so long for my posts to reach you. I thought a Naked Cake was going to be taken to Bettys’ birthday by you naked & on arrival everyone else was naked, but no. You don’t have to make anything & you make me laugh, especially the lean on Betty & her cake. What did have me holding my breath for at least 15 seconds was when everyone was going to smash their faces in the cake & I was concerned for the ones that was going to be stabbed in the eyes with the sticks. Thanx for making me laugh, Karen. xxx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sunny! How ya goin’? (That’s an Australian phrase … here we say How ya doin’? or How’s it going?) I’m glad I can make you laugh. It’s kind of my job, so phew! ~ karen!

  6. ronda says:

    the cake looks marvellous … and are those Nanaimo bars tucked in behind?? it all looks dee-lish!

  7. Susan says:

    Congrats to you and Betty. You for making such a beautiful cake and Betty for looking awesome. 80? Is that a typo.

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