Whether elegant and ornate or nontraditional and wild, cakes can often be one of the most budget-breaking aspects of a wedding. More and more modern brides are turning to baking their own cakes.
But before you start busting out your baking skills, have you ever stopped to wonder why the cake is so central to a wedding in the first place? What is the meaning behind the cake itself and its traditions?
Thanks to the folks at Dean Supply, we’ll take a look how cakes at weddings have evolved, the symbolism in the traditions, and what to do if you’re considering making your own.
History of the Wedding Cake
The contemporary cake has actually grown out of several different traditions. In Ancient Rome, it was customary to break a piece of bread over the bride’s head to wish the couple good fortune.
- In Medieval England, cakes were stacked at tall as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over. If they could successful kiss over top of the cake, it was said they would have a prosperous life together.
- Prince Leopold’s 1882 wedding is said to be the origin of the modern cake as we know it. Separate stacked layers with very dense icing. Tiered cakes were considered a luxury, and the taller the cake, the higher the social standing.
Wedding Cake Traditions
Cutting the Cake
Originally, only the bride would cut and distribute the cake to guests. When she ate the cake, it was symbolically meant to ensure the new couple’s fertility. Eventually, as the size of weddings grew, the groom would also help the bride. More guests meant more layers of cake, often making it difficult to cut through, so the groom and bride would slice the cake together.
Saving the Top Layer
Many couples freeze this layer to consume on their one year anniversary. Historically, couples would save the layer for their first child’s christening which was usually within the first year of marriage. As couples started waiting longer to have children, consuming the cake on the one year anniversary became the more prevalent tradition.
Classic White Cakes
These days we are seeing more and more flavors, but for a long time white was the only game in town. Of course there’s the symbolic purity and innocence, but it was really because of practical reasons. Frosting is mostly sugar and sugar is white. So were the cakes.
Making Your Own Wedding Cake
Traditional wedding cakes are usually white but with new ideas and recipes, we are now seeing more. Couples choose flavors such as red velvet, lemon, white with raspberry, and carrot. They also can make unusual choices such as pink champagne and coconut lime.
If you’re considering making your cake for your wedding, there are a few things to consider. Most importantly, be practical and keep it simple. Your cake won’t look amateurish if you dress it up with decorations. Decorative stands, flowers, and cake toppers can make your cake fancy and professional.
Before baking your cake, clear your whole day, enlist a helper, and make sure you’re using supplies that meet your needs. Springform pans go a long way in helping you to remove your cake from the pan without damaging it.
A cake can be a wedding showpiece without being a source of stress or breaking the bank. Being a baker bride can be challenging, but it has its tasty rewards.
Blair Nicole is a freelance writer, marketer and lifestyle design professional. She has a passion for travel, and has written for Forbes, Elite Daily and a number of other publications.