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Naked Cakes: How to Crumb Coat a Cake

This hot cake trend is taking the baking world by storm. But what makes it so great (and so easy)?

By: Toby Kuhnke, Editor,
Naked Cakes How to Crumb Coat a Cake

Naked cakes have taken over the dessert world. They're appearing everywhere from casual get-togethers to lavish celebrity weddings. This style of cake decorating has been around for a long time, but it was allegedly Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's haphazardly assembled wedding cake that brought the trend into full swing.

So What Are Naked Cakes?
There are basically two different types of cakes that bakers consider "naked cakes." There's the kind that has no frosting on the sides at all, and there's the kind that uses a very thin layer of frosting around the edges called a crumb coat.

And What Is Crumb Coating?
Have you ever frosted a cake and ended up with crumbs floating around in your beautiful frosting? If so, it's probably because you didn't do a crumb coat first! Crumb coating is basically a thin layer of frosting that "traps" the crumbs from the cake, so you don't end up with a crumby finished cake!

Most of the time, bakers use the crumb coating as a starting point for the rest of the cake decorating, but it has become trendy to just stop after the crumb coating! This minimalist style of cake decorating is both elegant and easy. It's hard to beat that!

"[Don't] stress it and have fun with it -- it doesn't need to be perfect and that's the beauty of naked cakes! It's the perfect cake decorating technique for beginners."
-Ashley from

How to Crumb Coat a Cake

How to Crumb Coat a Cake

What You Need:

  1. Frosting
  2. Prepared cake
  3. Pastry brush
  4. Icing spatula
  5. Revolving cake stand


  1. Apply a dab of frosting to the center of your cake revolving cake stand to prevent the cake from moving.
  2. Set the first layer of cake in the center of the cake stand and brush off any crumbs from the top of the cake.
  3. Add a layer of frosting to the top of the first cake layer. Then add the next layer of cake and brush off any remaining crumb.
  4. Repeat step three until you have added all layers of your cake.
  5. Add a scoop of frosting onto the center of the top layer of cake.
  6. Using an icing spatula, spread the frosting outwards in a circular fashion, covering the top and sides of the cake in a thin layer of frosting
  7. This will trap any crumbs and prevent them from showing up in the final layer of frosting, if you choose to add it.
  8. Use your icing spatula to smooth out this thin layer of frosting and remove any excess frosting.

"[Crumb coat] gently as freshly baked cakes can crumble very easily. Use an offset spatula to spread a thin coat of frosting evenly over the sides and top of the cake. Then chill it before you apply a second layer of frosting or decorate with drips."
-Fanny from

Ways To Decorate a Naked Cake

With Whipped Cream

Some bakers are taking a lighter approach to cake decorating with whipped cream! Check out this recipe below that's perfect for fall:

Pumpkin Caramel Pecan Naked Cake

With Chocolate Ganache

Who can resist chocolate? This simple way of decorating a cake is probably the most delicious. Just let the chocolate drip down the sides of the cake, and you'll have a cake that will have people coming back for a second piece.

Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake with Vanilla Mascarpone Buttercream Frosting

With Edible Flowers

Using edible flowers for fancy cakes is nothing new, but it certainly is popular on Pinterest and Instagram these days! This type of cake decorating is also great for those of us who aren't as talented with the piping bags.

White Chocolate Rose Mini Naked Cake

With Fresh Fruit

Garnishing cakes with fruit is really a classic! Who doesn't love a moist chocolate cake with some strawberries on top? Fruit is a great way to add some extra color and flavor to your naked cakes. Try one of these naked cakes below for a dessert that's sure to be a hit.

Berry Vanilla Naked Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream

What's your favorite way to decorate a cake?
Let us know in the comments!

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