Semi Naked Ginger Birthday Cake with Lemon Curd Icing

Semi Naked Ginger Birthday Cake Recipe, with Ginger and Lemon Curd Buttercream Icing.
Ginger Layer Birthday Cake
Semi Naked Ginger Cake

This Semi Naked Ginger Birthday Cake with Ginger and Lemon Curd Icing makes the perfect birthday cake or gateau for any self respecting ginger nut. Of the human variety, not the biscuit kind. Carrot tops optional!

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

A Birthday Cake for my Father in Law

My father in law turned 80 a few days ago and this was the birthday cake. The ginger cake itself is one I made for him a few years ago on request, very gingery, with lots of fruit and fairly moist. You can read more about it here.

As that is the cake I shall be using for this ensemble, I shan’t bother giving you the cake recipe itself. You will, however have the ginger and lemon curd icing recipe as well as step by step instructions on getting this semi naked look for your cake.

Ginger Birthday Cake with crystallised ginger pieces
My 4, with cousins and grandpa

Semi Naked Ginger Birthday Cake

Just to give you an idea first, to make this Ginger Birthday Layer Cake with Ginger and Lemon Curd Icing, you will need:

  • 2 – 3 layers of ginger cake
  • 1 portion ginger and lemon curd buttercream icing (which we’ll be making)
  • ginger chocolate thins
  • ginger chocolate biscuits
  • crystallised ginger pieces (as in the image below)
Ginger Birthday Cake with crystallised ginger pieces
the decorations are completely up to you

What is a semi naked cake?

Looking at the picture of the cake here, you can see that while the cake is covered with buttercream icing, you can still see the actual cake underneath the icing, so while it’s covered, it’s not completely covered. So, it’s semi naked. As opposed to naked, where the cake layers are sandwiched with icing, but the sides, that is the outside of the cake, is left completely bare. Therefore, naked.

Sliced Semi Naked Ginger Birthday Cake
Only just remembered to take a photo with my old phone!

Why make a semi naked or naked cake? For the simple reason that many people are not big fans of icing. A little icing does enhance a cake but more often than not, by the time a fully decorated cake is finished, it has way too much icing. Hence the not-too-much icing trend that started a few years back.

And I’m all for it. It also lends the cake a rather rustic, or devil may care look. After slathering on a single coat of icing, we smooth and scrape off as much as we can. Gone are the days of painstakingly creating a super smooth finish:

Head on over to the Cake Decorating 101 page for all sorts of advice, links and recipes. If you are new at cake decorating, you might want to take a look at Icing and Filling Cakes with Buttercream Icing as we will be doing that here.

Once iced, you can decorate the cake as you see here, or any other styles that you might have seen. Flowers are always beautiful. Look out for Christmas/autumn/winter themed ones as we approach the colder months.

Let’s get making our Ginger Birthday Cake, shall we? And you might also fancy these other celebration cakes:

Now, let’s get our aprons on!

If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Semi-Naked Ginger Birthday Cake with Ginger & Lemon Curd Icing

Semi Naked Ginger Birthday Cake Recipe, with Ginger and Lemon Curd Buttercream Icing.
4.98 from 85 votes
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: International
Keyword: cake, cake decorating, ginger
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 to 16
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • Offset cake spatula
  • Cake stand
  • Icing scraper


  • 2 Ginger cakes click for recipe
  • 6 ginger chocolates
  • 2-3 ginger chocolate biscuits
  • 10 small crystallised ginger pieces

Ginger and Lemon Curd Buttercream Icing

  • 250 g regular salted butter
  • 600 g icing powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 Tbsp stem ginger syrup from making the cake
  • 4 Tbsp lemon curd shop bought or homemade
  • 1 tsp ground ginger powder


  • Wrap both cakes in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.


  • Place the butter in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about a minute.
  • Add the icing sugar and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth. You'll end up with a very pale cream mix.
  • Add the ginger syrup and lemon curd and beat on the lowest setting to mix.
  • Keep it covered with cling film until you're ready to use it.

Decorating the Cake

  • At the end of the 30 minutes, level the tops of both cakes, they want to be flat, with any crumbly bits removed.
  • Place one levelled cake on a cake stand and spread the icing all over.
  • Place the second cake on the icing.
  • Now check that your cakes are sitting perfectly in line with each other, with no parts sticking out. If need be, trim with a serrated knife for a completely smooth alignment, as mentioned above.
  • Take the remainder of the icing and heat it in the microwave at 50% power for 6 seconds. Stir thoroughly (We heat the icing slightly to allow for easier spreading).
  • Now, take your spatula and spread the icing all around the sides of the cake.
  • When the sides are done, do the top.
  • When done, hold your scraper flush against the side of the cake with your dominant hand, and run it along the cake edge, as you turn your cake stand, scraping away as much of the icing as you can. Without taking away any cake! A revolving cake stand is handy but not necessary. You can see that I'm not using mine, just a regular cake stand. Clean the icing off the scraper and repeat a couple more times until you are happy that you can't get anymore icing off.
  • Now, level the top of the cake with the scraper, but don't worry about a smooth surface, that's no longer the fashion!
  • Then decorate as you like. Break some of the chocolate pieces and biscuits up into varying lengths and insert into the cake as I've done. Finish with some of the ginger pieces and grate some dark chocolate all over, if you like. I used one of the chocolate biscuits for that!


The time here is only for assembling the cake. We are not taking into account the ginger cake and the icing.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

18 thoughts on “Semi Naked Ginger Birthday Cake with Lemon Curd Icing”

  1. 4 stars
    Made this for my Dad’s 100th birthday and everyone LOVED it. It was moist and flavoursome. The only reason for the 4, rather than 5 sar rating was the cooking time. My oven has never undercooked but it was a full 75 minutes before the skewer came out clean and by then the outside of the cake was quite well done. However, it was kind of chewy, rather than hard and with lots of the delicious icing, did not detract from the overall result. This was the only celebration ginger cake recipe I could find online and I am really grateful for it. Thank you Lin.

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe!! The dessicated coconut with the ginger is delicious and then with that buttercream, oh my gosh so good. It converted well to gluten free for corliacs too. Thank you for posting this!

  3. Annie Cowell

    What a pretty cake! I’m going to copy the style for a birthday cake I’m doing this weekend! Thank you!

    1. I’m excited to make this this weekend! Just a question though when making the ginger cakes (I’m making the cakes the day before assembly), do I pour the syrup on them? Or just leave as is?
      Thank you!

  4. Fantastic! I have been looking for something like this, just did a search and saw your recipe. Thank you!

  5. Jenny Small

    This is really pretty to look at, and I love the fact that it’s ginger cake. You don’t see ginger cake dressed up very often. Thanks Azlin, have bookmarked this, and I look forward to your cold weather ones!

  6. Wow! this cake looks (and I bet tastes!) spectacular! I really like the idea of having not too much icing. It can often overwhelm the taste of the cake.

  7. Anita Armstrong

    Thank you, Azlin, this is a truly simple one to copy, but it looks really impressive! You’ve just answered my question about semi naked and naked cakes! I look forward to your tutorial.

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