WEDDING CAKES HISTORY
Written by Dana Herbert
Wedding cakes are one of the most iconic parts of a wedding, next to the bride and groom of course. Wedding cakes are a major part of any wedding. People flock to the wedding cake table to take pictures all night long. The attendees long to see its beauty, grace and style. Everyone is familiar with having a cake at the wedding. Though the world is familiar with having a wedding cake, not many people know or understand why there is a wedding cake and what it symbolizes. Weddings are a joyous occasion full of ceremonial aspects. One of which has been the blessing of the union and fertility. This was done throughout history with the use of bread and or cake. In Rome, they made rustic rolls or breads that were simply made from flour, salt, water and a pinch of sugar. The groom would take the bread and break it over his bride's head as a symbol of his dominance but it also symbolized that he would take her virginity.
Later in England, the tradition morphed a little bit. The breads became a little sweeter. The breads were piled high and the couple would have to kiss over them. If successful it was a symbol that their life would be fruitful.
A French chef was in England and saw this tradition and developed it into something prettier. Thus, the wedding cake that we know today was born. In those days, sugar was very expensive and the more sugar you had, the heavier the cake was. So the decorative cakes started out having real cakes at the bottom and everything else was faux. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the cakes became all real and stacked and supported properly.
The quality of the cake also rested with a few factors. One was, the whiter the cake the more money your family had. To produce cakes, they needed high quality ingredients to make the cake more white which would show the better class. You needed a high quality sugar to make a white cake. Also, the sweeter the cake, the better tasting the cake. With sugar being so expensive, only certain classes could afford to make a very sweet cake.
Wedding cakes will always be a part of the ceremonial aspects of a wedding. The question is, what does it mean to you?