This is the time of year for young love and weddings. As I sit with couples to plan out their dream wedding, when it comes to talking about the wedding cake, I love to share with them the history behind it. You might enjoy it too.
The contemporary wedding cake has grown out of many traditions. One of the first began in Ancient Rome where bread was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple.
In Medieval England cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over, if they were successful and none fell, they were guaranteed a prosperous life together.
Then a pastry chef from France, after witnessing the stacked rolls, came up with another method. It was built from profiteroles and given a halo of spun sugar.
We then go from rings in the cake, fruit cake and finally to here and now with the modern wedding cake. This one originated from the wedding of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany in 1882. His wedding cake was the first to actually be completely edible. It was created in separate layers with very dense icing. When the icing hardened the tiers were then stacked. We still use this method today.
The cutting of the cake is full of symbolism. The cake was originally intended to be distributed among the guests by only the bride because consuming the cake would ensure fertility.
As weddings grew, this task became a joint venture because it was too much for one to do. It then came to the current tradition where the couple would share a piece before sharing with the group, which was to symbolize their union and their promise to forever provide for each other.
The above photos are a few examples of traditional cakes made by our baker at Landmark Catering. I am so glad that the breaking bread over the head tradition is in the past!