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Semi-Homemade Naked Cake With Flowers

Looking for a dessert that is simple to make, tastes great, and looks amazing? Wait until you try this semi-homemade naked cake with flowers.

If you are in a pinch and want to whip something up quickly that looks pretty and tastes good, then this cake recipe is for you.

This recipe is great for those that want to make or bring a dessert but don’t want to spend hours shopping, pulling several ingredients together, and baking.

Of course, if you want to make this recipe from scratch using the best yellow cake and buttercream frosting recipes, you can totally do that.

But if you want to do a little less work and still make a beautiful cake that tastes amazing, grab your favorite cake mix, a creamy tub of buttercream frosting, and let’s chat more about how to level up that cake with fresh flowers.

Here’s what you need to know!

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What is a Naked Cake?

The naked cake trend has gained popularity in recent years for its simple and elegant aesthetic. It sounds a bit strange to call it a naked cake, but it’s not odd when you consider what it means.

Because it is typically left unfrosted or partially frosted, a naked cake has a rustic and minimalist appearance that allows the cake layers to peek through and be more visible.

Naked cakes are generally made with multiple layers of cake, stacked on top of each other with a filling or frosting between each layer.

And the cake itself can be any flavor you want based on personal preferences.

Less is More

Naked cakes do not have a thick layer of icing. Instead, they are lightly frosted on the outside, leaving the sides of the cake exposed, or with a thin layer of frosting that only partially covers the cake layers.

If you are anything like me, I am constantly scraping most of the frosting off my cakes because I don’t love all that sugar. Well, the naked cake is a great solution to that because it balances the sweetness. So less is really more.

This results in a “naked” or “bare” appearance, with the cake layers peeking through the frosting, giving it a rustic and homemade look.

The filling and frosting flavors chosen are usually dependent upon personal preferences and what will best complement the cake. Popular choices for fillings and frostings in naked cakes include whipped cream, cream cheese frosting, buttercream, or fruit preserves.

Typical decorative elements for a naked cake include fresh berries, flowers, or other decorative elements. These additions add a touch of organic, natural beauty to the overall presentation.

Naked cakes are often used for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations where a less formal and more relaxed aesthetic is desired.

They can be decorated with a variety of styles, ranging from simple and rustic to elegant and sophisticated, depending on the occasion and personal preference.

Why I love naked cakes

Since I’m more into savory flavors, I prefer a little less frosting with my cake. Since a naked cake uses substantially less icing than a full frosted cake, there is a better balance between the cake and frosting flavors.

Not to mention, you are consuming less sugar.

Plus, I love how rustic it looks. And when you add a few pretty flowers to it?

It is perfection.

close up of a naked cake with pansy flowers and mint on a stone wall on a glass cake stand

What is a Semi-Homemade Cake?

A semi-homemade cake refers to a cake that is made using a combination of store-bought or pre-made ingredients along with some homemade elements.

It’s a convenient and time-saving approach to baking, as it allows you to take advantage of pre-made or ready-to-use ingredients while still adding your own personal touch to the cake.

A typical semi-homemade cake might involve using a store-bought cake mix as a base, but then customizing it with homemade additions such as frosting, fillings, or decorations.

This can include using a pre-made cake mix for the cake layers, but making your own frosting from scratch, or using store-bought decorations like candy, sprinkles, or edible flowers to add a homemade touch to the cake’s appearance.

The extent of homemade versus store-bought ingredients in a semi-homemade cake can vary depending on individual preferences and time constraints.

But overall, it’s a flexible approach that allows for creativity and customization while also simplifying the baking process.

It’s a popular option for those who may not have the time or expertise to make an entire cake from scratch but still want to add their own personal touch to a store-bought or pre-made cake mix.

By the way, just because you made a cake from a box, doesn’t mean it won’t taste good. Because it will.

And by dressing it up with your own personal style, you can make it look more special.

making a semi-homemade naked cake with flowers using packaged cake mix and a tub of frosting. Mixing the ingredients in a bowl to make the cake

How Do You Decorate a Cake with Flowers?

Decorating a cake with flowers can add a touch of natural beauty and elegance to any celebration.

Here are some tips for decorating a cake with flowers.

Choose Edible Flowers

When decorating a cake with flowers, it’s important to select flowers that are safe for consumption and are free from pesticides or chemicals.

Edible flowers such as roses, pansies, violets, lavender, and chamomile are popular choices for cake decorations.

Ensure that the flowers you choose are food-grade and safe to eat. Do your research before using them in a dish because one part of the plant might be safe to eat, but other parts may not. Be sure to remove stamens and pistils from flowers and eat only the petals.

Follow these tips:

  • Choose flowers that have not been treated with any form of pesticide
  • Select plants that are certified organically grown or grow your own
  • If found in the produce department at your local grocery store, they are specifically grown for consumption and are safe to eat.
  • Do not use roadside flowers
  • Keep in mind that garden nursery plants may have been treated with fertilizers and pesticides, so these are not great options for using as edibles.
  • Purchase edible flowers from a reputable florist, nursery, or market that can guide you to what is safe for consumption.
close up of purple pansies and violas

Prepare the Flowers

Once you have chosen your flowers, carefully wash them to remove any dirt or debris.

Remove any leaves, thorns, or stems from the flowers, leaving only the petals or blooms that you plan to use for decoration.

Allow the flowers to dry completely before placing them on the cake.

Plan the Design

Consider the overall design you want to achieve with the flowers on the cake. Look for inspiration on social media, google, and food magazines or books.

You can arrange them in a cascading pattern, create a wreath, or scatter them randomly for a more organic look.

It’s a good idea to lay out the flowers on the cake without attaching them first to determine the desired placement and spacing.

Also, when making a naked cake, go with a minimum of three cake layers and it looks more aesthetically pleasing to work with odd numbers.

adding frosting to yellow cake on glass cake stand on granite counter top

Attach the Flowers

There are several methods to attach flowers to a cake. Here are a few options:

  • Fresh flowers with stems: If using flowers with sturdy stems, you can insert them directly into the cake. Wrap the stems with floral tape or insert them into food-safe floral picks to prevent direct contact with the cake. Simply push the stems or picks into the cake, arranging them as desired.
  • Flower blooms without stems: If using flowers without stems, you can attach them to the cake using floral wire or toothpicks. Insert a small piece of floral wire or a toothpick into the base of the flower, leaving a portion exposed that can be inserted into the cake.
  • Flower petals: Alternatively, you can use individual flower petals to decorate the cake. Simply place the petals on the cake’s surface, arranging them in the desired pattern or design.

Always Consider Food Safety

I can’t stress this enough. It’s really important to ensure that the flowers you use for cake decoration are food-safe and have not been treated with any harmful chemicals. Because you do not want to consume them.

If you are not sure about the safety of the flowers, it’s best to use flowers specifically labeled for culinary use or consult with a florist or other knowledgeable source.

Don’t guess, be certain.

adding icing to the semi homemade naked cake on a glass cake dish

Add the Finishing Touches

Once the flowers are attached to the cake, you can add additional touches to enhance the overall appearance.

This may include adding greenery, leaves, or other decorative elements to complement the flowers and create a cohesive look.

Chill the Cake

If the cake requires refrigeration due to the type of frosting or filling used, be sure to store the cake in the refrigerator until serving to keep the flowers fresh.

Remember to always prioritize food safety and choose edible flowers that are safe for consumption.

after frosting a naked cake, started with mint on the top to add a touch of green
Mint on a naked cake

What Flowers Are Safe to Use on a Cake?

When it comes to decorating cakes with flowers, it’s essential to use flowers that are safe for consumption and have not been treated with harmful chemicals.

Here are ten common flowers that are considered safe to use on cakes.

  • Roses. Petals can be used but remove the white base of the petal as it’s bitter Rose hips (seed heads) can be used for tea and vinaigrette.
  • Pansies and violas come in bright, bold, and beautiful colors that are generally safe for consumption.
  • Mint flowers and leaves are safe to eat.
  • Lavender flowers are commonly used for cake decorations, adding a lovely aroma and a touch of purple color. They are safe to eat in moderation.
  • Calendula flowers are bright, cheerful, and considered safe to eat, making them a popular choice for cake decorations.
  • Nasturtium flowers come in vibrant colors and have a slightly peppery flavor. They are often used to add a pop of color to cakes and are safe for consumption.
  • Chamomile has daisy-like flowers with a pleasant aroma that is considered safe to eat.
  • Borage flowers have a cucumber flavor and is considered safe to eat.
  • Chive flowers and foliage have an onion flavor and is safe for consumption.
  • Sage flowers and leaves are safe for consumption.

Additionally, be sure to thoroughly wash the flowers before using them on a cake, and use them sparingly for decoration.

close up of lavender flowers

Is It OK to Put Fresh Flowers on a Cake?

Yes, it is generally safe to put fresh flowers on a cake, as long as certain precautions are taken.

However, it’s important to use caution and follow food safety guidelines to ensure that the flowers are safe for consumption and do not pose any health risks.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when using fresh flowers on a cake:

  • Only use edible flowers. Know the flowers before you use them.
  • Ensure flowers are clean by thoroughly washing them with water to remove any dirt, debris, or potential contaminants. Be gentle when handling delicate flowers to avoid damaging their petals.
  • Remove non-edible parts that include leaves, thorns, or stems from the flowers, and use only the petals or blooms for decoration. Non-edible parts of the flowers can pose a choking hazard or may contain toxins.
  • Use food-safe flower picks. If the flowers have sturdy stems, consider wrapping them with floral tape or inserting them into food-safe floral picks before placing them on the cake. This prevents direct contact between the flowers and the cake, ensuring food safety.
  • Insert flowers securely.
  • Use flowers sparingly. When using fresh flowers on a cake, less is often more.
  • Communicate with guests. If you are serving a cake decorated with fresh flowers, let your guests know they are for decoration only and are not meant to be consumed.
  • Consider food allergies. Take into consideration any potential food allergies or sensitivities of your guests when using fresh flowers on a cake.

By following these guidelines and using caution, you can safely decorate a cake with fresh flowers to create a visually stunning and delicious treat for your celebration.

For this semi-homemade naked cake with flowers, I used cuts of fresh mint for the greens and pansies that were well-washed for decoration only.

attaching the pansies to a naked cake with flowers

How to Make a Semi-Homemade Nake Cake with Flowers

Whether you make your own cake recipe or purchase a box, it’s important to make enough cake and have enough icing to make at least three layers.

Two layers of cake are not enough so go with a minimum of three to make a gorgeous naked cake recipe.

Wait until you see how easy this beautiful cake is to make!

Ingredients Needed

If you are making this recipe homemade, you won’t need a whole lot of ingredients.

  • Box of vanilla or yellow cake mix
  • Frosting
  • Eggs
  • Salted butter
  • Water
  • Mint
  • Flowers (I used pansies)

To mix the cake, you’ll either need a good mixer or hand mixer.

How Do You Decorate a Plain Cake with Flowers?

This is where the fun begins because you can you really have fun with it depending on what you have growing in your garden or have access to locally.

Decorating a plain cake with flowers can be a beautiful and elegant way to add a touch of natural beauty to your creation.

Here are 7 easy steps to decorate a plain cake with flowers:

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Prepare the flowers. Thoroughly wash the flowers with water to remove any dirt, debris, or potential contaminants. Remove any leaves, thorns, or stems from the flowers, and use only the petals or blooms for decoration. If using flowers with sturdy stems, you can wrap them with floral tape to create picks for easier insertion into the cake.
  3. Make and prepare the cake. Ensure that the cake is cooled and ready for decoration. Apply a thin layer of icing or frosting to the cake to create a base for the flowers to adhere to.
  4. Plan your design. Consider the desired arrangement and placement of the flowers on the cake.
  5. Insert the greens (if using) and flowers. Once you have your plan, carefully insert the flowers into the cake. If using floral picks, gently insert them into the cake, ensuring they are securely anchored. If inserting directly into the cake, gently push the stems into the cake, being careful not to damage the cake’s surface or structure. Arrange the flowers according to your design, spacing them evenly and adjusting their position as needed.
  6. Add finishing touches. Once the flowers are in place, you can add any additional decorations or finishing touches to complete your design. This may include adding icing or frosting details, adding greenery or foliage around the flowers, or dusting the cake with powdered sugar for a snowy effect.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

Decorating a plain cake with flowers can be a creative and stunning way to elevate your cake presentation.

close up of a naked cake with pansy flowers and mint on a stone wall on a glass cake stand

What Flowers Not to Use on Cakes

There are several types of flowers that are not safe to use on cakes as decorations. These flowers may contain toxic compounds, harmful chemicals, or potential allergens that can pose a risk to human health if ingested.

Here are some examples of flowers that should not be used.

  • Poisonous or toxic flowers. The following flowers should never be used on cakes or any other dish: daffodils, lilies of the valley, foxgloves, and hellebores.
  • Non-edible flowers. Flowers that are not traditionally used for culinary purposes, such as gladiolus and sunflowers, should not be used on cakes. These flowers are typically not considered safe for consumption and may contain chemicals, pesticides, or other contaminants that can be harmful if ingested.
  • Flowers with thorns or prickles.
  • Flowers treated with pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals.
  • Flowers with heavy pollen, like lillies can stain cakes and may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
  • Unknown or unidentifiable flowers.

When using flowers on cakes, always exercise caution, do your research, and use only flowers that are known to be safe for consumption.

If you have any doubts or concerns about the safety of a particular flower, lean towards not using it and/or consult with a knowledgeable source, such as a florist or a qualified expert in edible flowers.

close up of a naked cake with pansy flowers and mint on a stone wall on a glass cake stand
close up of a naked cake with pansy flowers and mint on a stone wall on a glass cake stand

Semi-Homemade Naked Cake With Flowers

Looking for a dessert that is simple to make, tastes great, and looks amazing? Wait until you try this semi-homemade naked cake with flowers.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Servings
Calories 557 kcal



  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Thoroughly prepare the flowers and herbs, wash them well, and fully dry them before using.
  • Follow directions according to cake mix.
    making a semi-homemade naked cake with flowers using packaged cake mix and a tub of frosting. Mixing the ingredients in a bowl to make the cake
  • Mix eggs, salted butter and water with mix for 4 minutes on high.
    mixing cake ingredients to make a naked cake with flowers
  • Pour into (3) 9" greased baking sheet
  • Bake for 22 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean
  • Remove from oven and allow to completely cool before frosting
  • Lightly frost the cake. How much or how little you do depends on the look you want. I prefer more in-between layers and the top and less on the sides.
    adding frosting to yellow cake on glass cake stand on granite counter top
  • Decorate your cake with flowers, berries, and herbs depending on the look you want to achieve.
    attaching the pansies to a naked cake with flowers
  • Depending on the icing used, refrigerate if necessary.
  • Serve and enjoy
    close up of a naked cake with pansy flowers and mint on a stone wall on a glass cake stand


Calories: 557kcalCarbohydrates: 88gProtein: 5gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 758mgPotassium: 83mgFiber: 4gSugar: 45gVitamin A: 494IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 269mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Naked Cake With Flowers, Semi-Homemade Cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More About Mixing Flowers With Food

Have you ever mixed flowers with your food? Like in a salad or another kind of dish? I would love to hear about your favorites. Let me know more in the comments below.

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close up of semi homemade naked cake with flowers that include pansies and mint on a stone wall in the garden
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Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

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I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as find ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes too.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Such a lovely cake, Stacy. I think naked cakes with fresh flowers are elegant and beautiful for any occasion.

  2. What a show stopper! I love that I feel like I can safely add flowers to a cake now. You really took time to educate me. Pinned!

  3. Yum! Who doesn’t love cake? And it looks so pretty, too! Thank you for sharing all tips, Stacy, including info on the best flowers to use. VERY helpful!

  4. This cake is so gorgeous Stacy! And this is one I might actually get made. Thanks for sharing all of the tips on using flowers on food – I didn’t know a lot of it. Pinning this one and can’t wait to see if I can make mine as pretty!

  5. This cake is stunning Stacy and sounds yummy! I will definitely be using this idea for my next ladies get together!