The Wedding Cake – Yesterday and Today

The Wedding Cake – Yesterday and TodayThere are as many different cakes in this world as there are brides – and grooms! No wedding would be complete without the wedding cake; and now, we have groom’s cakes as well. The sharing of the wedding cake has a very interesting

Traditions:

Roman Times

The Wedding Cake – Yesterday and TodayWedding cakes date back all the way to the Roman Empire. The custom was for the groom to break the cake over the bride’s head to ensure fertility. These “cakes” were usually a loaf of freshly baked barley bread. Attending guests also took part by eating a piece of the broken wedding cake to provide good fortune to the couple and couple’s future children. Only those children whose parents participated in the ritual were later considered for high Roman offices.

Medieval Period

Medieval PeriodAn early form of wedding cake was made up of small spiced buns. They were then stacked in a tower, as high as possible. If the bride and groom were able to kiss over the tall stack, it guaranteed them a lifetime of prosperity and good fortune.

The Bride’s Pie was introduced during the middle 17th century. This was a large round pie with an elaborately decorated pastry crust that concealed a filling of oysters, pine kernels, cockscombs, lamb stones,sweetbreads, and spices. Another version consisted of a large round pie containing a plump hen full of eggs, surrounded by minced meats, fruits, and nuts and embellished with ornate pastry emblems. Each guest had to eat a small piece of the pie; not to do so was considered extremely rude and impolite. A ring was traditionally placed in the pie, and the lady who found it would be the next to marry. Bride pie was still being served at weddings in some parts of England as late as the 19thcentury.

In the seventeenth century bride pie developed into bride cake, the predecessor of the modern wedding cake. Fruited cakes, as symbols of fertility and prosperity, gradually became the centerpieces for weddings.

The Meaning of White

The Meaning of White
Traditional White Cake
Indian Wedding Cake
Indian Wedding Cake

Purity, innocence, and virginity- that is what the color white represents.  Today’s brides add flowers, decorations and other accouterments to match the theme of their wedding.  Although most traditional cakes are still white, off white, cream color and other colors are all used as well – it’s a matter of personal preference. Other cultures create elaborate cakes using many colors and designs.

Stacking of the Cake

Even before, cakes were stacked up in large to small layers, the tradition of stacking represented fertility. Couples would stack as many layers as they could as this symbolized the number of children that they would have. Today, a cake consists of the number of layers needed to serve the number of guests.

Modern Tradition

Modern TraditionCutting the cake as a couple is a long-standing tradition. The groom places his hand over the bride’s and together they cut the first piece of the bottom layer symbolizing the continuity of their relationship. The meaning of the groom having his hand over his bride means his support over his bride while the bride allowing the groom’s hand on top of her means her ability to take care of her new husband and her family.

Once the cake has been cut, the groom will feed his bride, and then the bride will go second. This ritual symbolizes their commitment to provide for each other, and contains the meaning of good luck and fortune. Although some couples have altered this practice by smashing each other with their cake, most are still not comfortable with this ritual. The cutting of the cake also symbolizes the end of the wedding and the beginning of a new life together.

Modern TraditionIn the past, it was the duty of the couple to send guests home with a piece of their wedding cake similar to a wedding favor. This practice is showing a renewed interest as cakes are being designed with individually sized gift-boxed portions. It is a very economical with no clean up afterwards!

 

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