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Feb, 7 2018

The tradition of the wedding cake

The tradition of the wedding cake

Weddings didn’t originate with elaborate wedding cakes and easy suit and tux rental services. It took hundreds of years for weddings to evolve into their current form. These days, most brides and grooms couldn’t imagine their wedding without a decadent wedding cake. This wasn’t always the case.


Ancient Romans did enjoy a special cake on their wedding day. However, the grain-based cake made of wheat or barley was crumbled over the bride’s head for good luck before the couple ate a few crumbs of it. Eventually, throwing sweets was replaced with throwing rice, which was a great activity for wedding guests, though not the birds that ended up eating the rice. Google “birds eating rice” it if you don’t know what we’re talking about.


In England in the late 1600s, spiced buns were stacked as tall as possible as an early form of the wedding cake. Couples who could kiss over the stack were said to have great fortune. It probably didn’t have the ingredients that you’d expect from a wedding cake, as it included meat and seafood.


Thankfully, meat and seafood inspired wedding cakes fell out of fashion. In the 1600s, cakes were made with fruit in and on them, because fruit symbolized fertility (an important aspect of a wedding). This is also around when a separate “groom’s cake” became popular to give slices to wedding guests.


In the mid to late 1700s, brides wanted white icing to symbolize purity on their wedding day. Here, white, refined sugar was more accessible than ever before, which aided this in gaining popularity. This trend was solidified in England when the royal class had white wedding cakes. Monkey see, monkey do – celeb (royalty) style.


In the mid-1900s, after World War II, basic sweet cakes made a brief return as the dessert of choice for weddings. This was especially true for smaller ceremonies or for certain cultures, such as Jewish weddings. Many couples simply wanted something sweet at their wedding to celebrate this new chapter of their lives, so they turned to more economical cakes as an alternative.


Today, lavish tiered cakes have become the standard. With easy access to many different ingredients (fondant, buttercream, edible sugar pearls, to name a few) brides can have the beautiful wedding cake they have always dreamed of for their wedding day. For many couples, the cake is the centerpiece of their wedding display. And for many guests, the cake is the highlight of the event.

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