Naked Cakes book review

Lyndel Miller – Naked Cakes book review

Lyndel Miller – Naked Cakes book review — The last page of this stylish cake-entertaining book sums it up so aptly. “Every cake deserves a pedestal— it adds a sense of grandeur and occasion”. Naked Cakes author and stylist Lyndel Miller has managed to combine recipes for her swoon-worthy cakes with party tips on adding style and class to special events and milestones from birthdays to weddings and baby showers.

I found it to be generous till the last page, chockfull with entertaining ideas not only with suggestions from how to pick your party cake, party food and party decor colour palettes but instructions on how to make your own decorations! After nearly a year of experimenting with her recipes, I continue to enjoy using this book as a remarkable basic reference for whipping up my own personalised combinations for sensational buttercreams, glazes, syrups and more. It takes pride of place next to my other favourite baking book, Miette.

I love that Naked Cakes pulls together style with elegance as well as beauty with class. Miller helps us visualise our event by becoming inspired with our own stunning ‘Naked Cake’ as the centrepiece from which all the other party elements flow to complement. Just think of the recommended approach as decorating a room beginning with the colour of a focal point such as a neon pink lampshade perhaps, or a tall glass vase of cream-coloured blooms with the slightest hint of pale greens.

Lychee Cake by Naked Cakes
Inside pages: Lychee Cake (featured)
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She helps us set the scene for the party by first showing us how to set the mood and theme using your cake as the anchor point from which to begin. There are four ‘themed design stories’ to spark inspiration for your personalised event from the cake to the table settings and room decor.

This Goes With That section
One of my favourite pages of this book contains an A to W mini guide titled ‘This Goes With That’. Another one of Miller’s ideas to spark creativity with a myriad of different yet complementary and interesting flavour combinations for delicious cakes to experiment with, whilst using this book.

For instance, A: Allspice goes with Anise, Apple, Beetroot, Caramel, Cardamom, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coconut, Ginger, Nutmeg, Nuts, Pear and Pumpkin. Can’t wait to try Lemon and Rosemary!

Miller’s style of ‘Naked Cakes’ or ‘unfinished cakes’ if you like, is stylishly photographed as you would expect to see on the most luscious and hotly pursued Instagram feeds. Rustic with simple natural beauty, like those of gorgeous blooms and foliage, delectable rainbow-coloured fruits and even some with simple and pretty gum paste flowers.

Masterclass section
It’s great that she has included some ‘masterclass’ lessons complete with pictorial guides on how to use dowels to stack tiered cakes for support. I found the section on ‘Flowers & Leaves’ helpful especially safety tips such as sourcing only organic blooms and tips on working with and narrowing down the edible parts of various types of herbs and flowers.

Naked Cakes outofman.com
Inside pages: which parts of flowers are edible? Naked Cakes
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I’ve not tried every one of the more than 35 recipes in this delightful book, but I highly recommend it as a starting point for any baker’s induction to the simple rustic beauty of ‘baking naked cakes’. I’d say this one truly has the charm of cake minimalism at its finest.

Naked Cakes by Lyndel Miller
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Murdoch Books (July 29, 2015)

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2 thoughts on “Lyndel Miller – Naked Cakes book review”

  1. Have you attempted the chocolate cake recipe from page 86? I tried it and have already been baking it for over double the stated bake time and the inside is raw. I’ve checked my oven and it’s at the correct temperature. Hoping to find some solutions as I am dying to try this cake and succeed.

    1. Hi Kim,
      Oh no ) : Isn’t it annoying when we have a recipe that doesn’t turn out as it should after all that investment in ingredients, time and our best effort! So sorry it hasn’t been a good one for you–I must admit I haven’t tried the one on pg. 86 yet as I’ve got my own favourite chocolate cake recipes that I bake again and again…(let me know if you want one of my foolproof chocolate cake recipes)

      However in my own experience (I’ve learned it all the hard way being a self-taught baker) usually if my cakes remained uncooked in the centre it’s usually down to a few things:

      e.g. the ingredients (like butter/eggs/milk/liquids etc) were not brought to ‘room temperature’ and were too cold. Or, it could be that my oven needs calibration because it’s too cold, or that I’ve not pre-heated it to the right temperature before inserting the batter in the baking tin.

      A tip I use when I’m desperate and can’t start over is to wrap the top of the cake in aluminium foil so that I could bake it for a further 10 minutes without burning the top of my cake, yet cook the centre more fully.

      If you’re game to start over, I would recommend that you ensure you follow the above steps and you could also try increasing the temperature by another 10 degrees celsius in your oven but reduce baking time by 10 minutes just to check if it’s cooked.
      Another thing I always prefer to do is to use two baking tins for 1 cake recipe as I like frosting layers and I find I always get better results.
      All the best! Let me know how it goes! Thanks for writing.
      Cheers, Kat

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