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Let Them Eat Cake! The History of the Wedding Cake

5. January 2010 by Michelle 0 Comments

While wedding traditions are different all over the world, one thing they all have in common is a celebratory feast.

 

Some enjoy the variety of main courses, while most others eagerly await the dessert. There is a long history of the wedding cake and it has made quite a transformation over the years.

 

Breaking the Bread

The concept of the wedding cake began back in the Roman era, but it wasn’t the sweet, frosted confection you are familiar with today. A loaf of bread was broken over the newlyweds’ heads as a symbol of luck and prosperity. The crumbs which landed on the floor were often scooped up by guests in hopes they would receive some of the good luck as well.

 

Pyramid of Pastries

As time passed, bakeries started making small pastries that guests would bring along to a wedding reception and stack into a pyramid. The bride and groom would attempt to kiss over the pile of cakes and their success would insure a lifetime of happiness. This practice evolved into the French wedding cake tradition called croquembouche.

 

Pie's Surprise

Another type of wedding cake that emerged was the “bride’s pie”. This was a pie made from sweet breads and mince meat, in which a special ring was hidden inside. The lady guest who found the ring in her piece of pie was said to be the next to wed.

 

Pure White

Many people think of a traditional wedding cake to be white in color, meaning that the marriage is pure. In addition to the symbolism, another reason for the white icing was because it was made from only the finest refined sugar, which was hard to come by. So the whiter the cake, the more affluent the families appeared. This began the tradition of the white wedding cake.

 

Today, wedding cakes can be seen in all shapes and colors. Some remain a single layer, while others are multi-tiered monstrosities. Enjoy these photos of some beautiful and elegant cakes, along with some colorful and unusual cakes. You may get some ideas of what you’ll include on your special day!