I think we all know what a wedding cake is but have we ever stopped to really think about that…what is a wedding cake? Why do we have them? What was their initial purpose? We decided to see if we could find the answers to those questions and this is what we discovered:
A wedding cake is the traditional cake served to the guests at a wedding reception (or in parts of England, at a wedding breakfast) after a wedding, this we already knew. However…did you know that the wedding cake is a tradition that began back in the Roman Empire. At that time, it was actually a loaf of bread that the groom broke over the bride's head as a symbol of his dominance in the marriage (ask any woman these days if that would hold true now) and over her. The color of the cake is typically white to symbolize purity and the joint task of the bride and groom cutting the cake is meant to symbolize their first joint task in married life. Then the gesture of feeding cake to each other is a symbol of the commitment the couple is making, maybe not so much the actual shoving of cake up someone’s nostrils, but the idea of it.
One of the earliest forms of the wedding cake is the French Croquembouche. The legend of this cake says that a pastry chef, visiting medieval England, witnessed their tradition of piling sweet rolls between the bride and groom which they would attempt to kiss over without knocking them all down. Now that would be something to see! After he returned home he decided to create a tower of sweet breads thus creating the first Croquembouche, of which turned into the delicious cake we now serve at weddings around the world.
So there you have it, that answers the what’s and why’s of the wedding cake, and here we thought it was just for dessert!