a naked birthday cake


Sounds like a bit of a risque title, yes?!

No, none of that here. Just a gorgeously rustic, very delicious carrot cake.


Have you seen this trend of naked cakes (basically a cake that is not covered in frosting)? I find them to be so pretty and wanted to give it a try for my birthday cake.


It was so easy and looks so fancy (but it’s not!).


I used Ina Garten’s carrot cake recipe (found here) because everything she makes is golden.  She uses fresh pineapple in hers; I substituted crushed pineapple and it works great.  The cake is so moist and chunky and delicious (did I mention delicious?).


I baked the cake in two cake pans, then cut each one in half to make a thin layer (and just used three of them rather than four). The cream cheese frosting in between layers is rich and buttery and my favorite of all.


And for fun, I added my last hydrangea bloom, a few lingering petunias and wire vine from my summer planters.


naked carrot cake / jones design company
We thoroughly enjoyed the cake last night and will be snacking on it for breakfast for the next few days. Because carrot cake with it’s vegetables and fruit is practically healthy (or at least that’s what I tell myself).

*NOTE: turns out hydrangeas are a toxic flower (oopsies). Don’t put it on your cake. Or at least wrap the stem in plastic before putting on your cake. 

17 Responses to a naked birthday cake

  1. Sheron Laumann October 27, 2015 at 4:54 am #

    I love the way this cake looks and I can’t wait to make it for Thanksgiving! It looks absolutely delicious! You said it was very easy, but I have a question: Did you grate a pound of carrots by hand? I made a carrot cake years ago and that was the hardest part. I would appreciate any suggestions!!!

    Thank you, and I hope your birthday was wonderful! I love your blog and your inspiration.


  2. Lesley October 9, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    Hi Emily, I was so happy to read this post for my favorite type of cake, and immediately clicked over to get the recipe. My birthday was last Thursday, the 8th. I didn’t have round pans, so I used a Bundt pan and swirled half the amount of frosting over the top. I also substituted 1C applesauce for 1C of the oil. Called it a day and dove in! Thank you and happy birthday!

  3. Peggy October 7, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    Beautiful — and I know it’s only decorative — but I think hydrangea blooms are considered non-edible poisonous. Just in case…or maybe you mentioned that and I missed it. :)

  4. Colleen October 7, 2015 at 6:01 am #

    Remember that game, if you had to pick an animal, which one would you be….well if I had to pick a cake, this one would be you! Just perfect!

    Happy Birthday! Here’s hoping someone at least made you dinner! ; )

  5. Sabrina C. October 7, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    ohhh wonderful cake and photos! ^_^

  6. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul October 6, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

    Mmm hello delicious cake!

    Her Heartland Soul

  7. ELizabeth October 6, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    Happy Birthday!
    What a beautiful cake! I purchased a cookbook many years ago that is full of old world recipes for cakes and confections. It is very ‘old european’ to make a cake like yours. The sugar frosted version we are used to are a fairly new invention. I’m loving the trend back to the old styles and yours is a spectacular specimen.

  8. Cal October 6, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    Um…did you know that hydrangea is one of the top 10 most poisonous common plants? and should Never be put on cakes. In general don’t put any flower or foliage on cakes/food unless specifically grown for that purpose. Or use sugar flowers!

  9. Sarah October 6, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    Happy Birthday Emily!

    The cake looks wonderful and very tasty. Yes cake carrot cake can be eaten for breakfast, it has fruit and veg in it, plus it’s your brithday you should be allowed a teat :)

    Coffee and Cupcakes Blog.

  10. Dara Lynn Rieger October 6, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    This is perfect! I love a good Ina Garten recipe. (-; Also, I noticed in your last email that you mentioned that you turned 37 this birthday. I turned 37 this year as well and I feel like it’s the first birthday that has found me frantically researching beauty creams and magic potions for my slightly less than youthful skin. I love all the fashion tips and such that you include on your blog and wondered if you might also be willing to share some of your “anti-aging” secrets on the blog sometime. (-;

  11. Pam October 6, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Love flowers with desserts!
    *Remember, though, some plants can be toxic. To be safe, use a floral stem water reserve to insert into dessert.
    Not only safer, but keeps plant fresher!
    I enjoy this blog, Emily!

  12. Jessica October 6, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    Your cake is beautiful and so are your hydrangeas. How do you get them so vibrant? I hope your birthday was beautiful and blissful!

  13. Cherish October 6, 2015 at 7:42 am #

    I hope you had a great birthday Emily! The cake looks delicious & I agree it would be perfect for beakfast :)

  14. Ronel October 6, 2015 at 7:42 am #

    Looks beautiful! So simple and yet so elegant. Happy birthday!

  15. Cindy Lynn October 6, 2015 at 7:30 am #

    This cake looks divine! I love the way you styled it! Being GF & Dairy Free, I want to give the recipe a try with a few tweaks. Happy Birthday to you!!

  16. Emily October 6, 2015 at 7:27 am #

    Happy Birthday, beautiful Emily! I’m grateful for the ways you minister to me :)

  17. Amy @ The Daily Hostess October 6, 2015 at 6:36 am #

    Carrot cake is my ABSOLUTE favorite! I use my grandmother’s recipe and it’s so good. Yours looks too pretty to eat…..just kidding! Dive in!


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