In our modern era wedding cakes are a must have at wedding ceremonies, and people go so far as to spend thousands of dollars on them. However, have we ever stopped to think about this tradition and how came about, and where did it originate from?
What was considered the first wedding cake dates back to the Roman Empire, but don’t let the term “cake” fool you. At the time a “cake”was bread made out of barley or wheat, this was then broken over the brides head, and was eaten for good luck. Understandably this did not last the test of time and is longer practiced.
The next recored version of a “wedding cake” was in medieval England. During this time they used sweet buns and stacked them in a tall pyramid formation, the bride and groom would then attempt to kiss over top of the buns to gain prosperity. It is said that this tradition gave inspiration to a French pastry chef to create a pyramid of choux paste balls which is known as the croquembouche.
Later, during the 17th century a few wedding food fads were developed, one of which was known as a Brides Pie. This was a pie filled with sweet bread, and minced meat, but the piece de resistance of the dish was a glass ring hidden inside the pie. It is said that if you receive the piece of pie with the ring inside, you’re the next to be married. This is believed to have created the tradition of throwing the bouquet during our modern day ceremonies. Another fad of the time was fruit cake, this is considered a predecessor to our modern wedding cakes.
During the 17th century both the bride and groom were said to have a wedding cake.The grooms cake was a plain dark fruit cake, while the brides cake was a fruit cake covered in white icing. Into the 19th century this icing was then dubbed royal icing after Queen Victoria used it on her wedding cake. However it was Queen Victorias son, Prince Leopold, which our modern day wedding cakes originated from. In 1882, Prince Leopold wed Princess Helene Friederike, for their wedding they had a cake that had separate layers filled with royal icing, this was then left to harden and stacked to create a multitiered cake. This cake was the inspiration for our traditional wedding cakes that is still used in our modern times.
Although there are many wedding cake trends that go in and out of fashion, and new cakes are always being invented; the traditional, and ever so popular, white wedding cake popularized during the victorian era, is timeless and it will forever be a symbol of matrimony.