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Naked Cakes Are Your Secret Weapon to Keeping Calories Down This Holiday Season

Photo: Getty Images

Barely-frosted naked cakes are our answer to a dessert that will wow without the fuss of decorating—and the extra calories and fat from surplus frosting. Plus, we think they are even prettier without the frosting. It's a win-win all around.

Photo: Johnny Miller

During the holidays, bakers are looking to build the most beautiful and visually stunning desserts of their baking career. This year, the good news for bakers with an eye toward healthier sweets is that the biggest decorating trend in baking is also a healthy trend for eaters with a sweet tooth.

Naked cakes, or cakes that aren't fully frosted, are making their way into bakeries across the country, and they're stealing the show at weddings, birthday parties, and other special occasions. But we've been doing this "trend" for many years. Cakes that aren't fully frosted allow you to cut back on calories and fat without sacrificing a single luscious bite of frosting you love so much.

Believe us, you won't miss the extra frosting at all with this simple decorating style. Showing the bare cake makes a big impact, and all your guests will be dazzled by your beautiful tower of cake and frosting.

All you need is your favorite cake recipe, non-stick cake pans, an off-set spatula, and a basic frosting recipe—no pastry degree required.

If you don't know where to start, a red velvet cake is a natural. The deep, ruby red layers of cake stand in stark contrast to the creamy white frosting. You can also pick from any of our recipes that were "naked" before that trend even existed.

Fresh Lemonade Layer Cake
Double-Caramel Turtle Cake
Carrot-Apple Spice Cake with Browned Butter Glaze
Spice Cake with Caramel Icing
Triple-Chocolate Cake
Chocolate-Orange Layer Cake
Pumpkin Pie Cake
Black Forest Cherry Cake
Pumpkin-Orange Cake
Pecan Cake with Caramel Mousse and Brown Sugar Topping
Clementine-Date Cake

If you want to go a bit further with decorations, turn to your fridge and pantry. Fresh herbs, flowers, candied berries and citrus peel, and nuts are beautiful and edible toppings. The best part? Naked cakes are fit for every season, so try using fresh flowers for spring; citrus and patriotic decor for summer; persimmons, nuts, and candied fruit for fall; and crushed peppermint for the holidays.

For yor holiday gathering, skip the overly complicated frosting and decorating and just go naked. You'll impress your guests and save so much time and energy, too.