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When it comes to weddings, certain things are talked about for years to come. These include the brides dress, the photographs, and of course, the wedding cake. Interestingly, when wedding cakes were first used in weddings, they were not enjoyed as they are today. Instead, the cake was thrown at the bride to encourage years of fertility. Although this was a strange tradition, it was not the only one.
Another wedding tradition that we enjoy today is the throwing of the rice when the couple is married and leaving the church. This tradition today is simply as a celebration of the married couple but in earlier times, wheat was thrown since it was considered good for fertility. Once the wheat was thrown, single people would quickly grab handfuls of the grain so they too would find a mate and have a bunch of little children.
A unique tradition was the breaking of bread on top of the brides head. Fortunately, this tradition is no longer followed but back in the Roman Empire days before the wedding cake was invented, loaves of wheat bread were baked and then broken over the brides head. In most cases, the groom was the one doing the breaking and then guests would gather the crumbs that fell to the ground and eat them for good luck.
Over time, wheat bread progressed into sweet buns, which was the next tradition that lived on during the Middle Ages. In this era, it was common practice as it is today for guests to bring gifts for the newly married couple. However, this tradition got its start when in jest, miniature sweet cakes were piled high and then the bride and groom prompted to kiss over the top. The belief was that the higher the pile the couple could kiss over, the more prosperous their lives together would be. The story is that this tradition started to get out of hand, so during one wedding, the bride and groom stomped on the pile, crushing it. Not only did the tradition die, but also guests had nothing to eat.
Around the 16th Century during the reign of King Charles II, an unknown French chef was in London visiting and stunned at the lack of sophistication wedding cakes had. Being a very skilled chef, he went back to France where he began the long task of creating a wedding cake that looked gorgeous and tasted fabulous. The cake resembled a tiered pile of sweet buns smothered in icing. The design and flavors were so popular that they became the wedding cake design that we know it today.
The tradition that we have today involves the bride and groom who cut a slice together, which is then fed to each other. Once they have shared a slice, then the guests are served. Additionally, the tiered cake design is also important. The cake maker will create the top tier of the cake for the couple to save for their first wedding anniversary. If the couple prefers to use the entire cake for the reception, a separate cake the size of the top tier is created and then frozen for the first yer anniversary.
When you get ready to choose your own wedding cake, you will be amazed at all of the design options. In addition to beautiful designs, there are incredible specialty flavors. To give your cake the perfect finished touch, consider any of these options or create your own tradition:
- In place of the traditional cake topper of a bride and groom, have the cake designed with fresh flowers or delicious fruits
- Incorporate your ethnic background into your cake design. For example, if you are an Irish, Italian, Greek, or another nationality, choose designs that compliment your heritage.
- Instead of a white wedding cake, choose a dark chocolate color or a color that coordinates with your wedding. If your wedding colors were blue and yellow, have the cake maker, create a blue and cake embellished with yellow flowers or vice versa.