Wedding Cake History
7 Things You Didn t Know About Wedding Cakes[caption id="attachment_2005" align="alignleft" width="289" caption="Mary Basnight Photography"][/caption]
Wedding traditions have come and gone through the years, but wedding cakes have managed to be a part of the celebration since the Roman Empire. Though these delicate confections continue to be a focal point of the reception, wedding cakes have certainly evolved over time. Here are seven things you may not know about these edible masterpieces.
#1: A Dominating Tradition
Original cakes were actually loaves of barley bread in the Roman Empire. After the groom took a bite from the loaf, he then broke the rest of it over his bride s head. Historians believe it symbolized the dominance of the husband over the wife. Today s couples often enjoy smearing cake and frosting over both of their faces, showing much more equality than the ancient Romans.
#2: Pile-Up Prediction
As sugar was not a common ingredient in medieval times, the term cake referred more to bread than a sweet concoction. Ancient French tales record the tradition of sweet rolls that were stacked in front of the couple, and the newlyweds attempted to kiss over the pile. Kissing success meant that many children were in the couple s future.
Wedding cakes were originally referred to as the bride s cake. This cake was traditionally white to signify the bride s purity. Grooms commonly had their own cake, which in contrast to the bride s cake was often chocolate. While groom s cakes have decreased in popularity, they are most frequently found at southern wedding receptions.
#4: Priceless Decor
Prior to Victorian times, white wedding cakes were often more about ingredients than the bride s purity. Edible food dyes were hard to come by and expensive if they were available. This expense helped to propel the continuing tradition of white cake layers and frosting.
#5: Layered Wealth
Multi-tiered cakes were a symbol of wealth, with more layers equating to more wealth. In 1947, the then Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) had a wedding cake that weighed 500 pounds to symbolize the wealth of the monarchy.
#6: Move Over Baby Cakes
Once upon a time, christening cakes took center stage, with large elaborate cakes to celebrate the christening event. When multi-layered wedding cakes became part of the tradition, initially the top layers were saved to be served at the christening, which was presumed to shortly follow weddings. Over time, this evolved into the tradition of saving the top layer for the bride and groom s first anniversary.
#7: Faux Real
Faux cake layers have become a recent fad to help save money. Styrofoam is shaped and iced to match the cake on one or more of the bottom layers. Some brides even opt for the entire show-stopping cake to be made out of Styrofoam, and layer cakes are cut behind the scenes to be served to the wedding guests.