Wedding Cakes – History, Tradition and Changing Tastes
When writing the list of must haves at a wedding, the wedding cake is right up there. It stands proudly on display at the reception to be admired by all, and hopefully eaten too! The sky’s the limit both in the composition of wedding cakes and their design nowadays. Any type of cake can be chosen from rich fruit, to chocolate sponge, vanilla sponge or carrot cake, or even a mixture of them all to accommodate different tastes. You can have whatever you want. You can have multi tiers with each tier standing on pillars, or directly on top of each other. You can have stands that branch out holding each tier apart from the other, you can even have cup cakes. Let your imagination loose! Check out some more ideas for your wedding cake on our Wedding Cakes Pinterest board.
Like pretty much everything associated with ceremony and celebration, the tradition of having a wedding cake is steeped in folklore and superstition. Back in medieval times, the wedding cake wouldn’t have been the delicious, sweet offering we enjoy today. Instead, a more doughy, bread-like cake was produced. Fruit and wheat were used in the mixture to symbolise fertility. As well as the actual wedding cake, other cakes and breads would have been piled high ready for after the ceremony, when the couple would try and kiss over the huge pile of cakes without disturbing them. If they managed to do this, it was thought to ensure they had a prosperous future ahead. We’re not too sure what happened if they didn’t manage it, but it must have put a dampener on the festivities! The wedding cake was then shared with friends and family as a way of spreading the prosperity.
In more recent history, the three tier wedding cake has been the order of the day. This cake would be a rich fruit cake, covered in marzipan and topped with royal icing. The idea was that the top tier would be kept and used as the christening cake for the first born child. Obviously, that was back in the day when couples would try and start a family immediately after their wedding.
Wedding Cake Toppers
In the 1950′s it became popular to stand a small bride and groom ornament on top of the wedding cake as a symbol of the couple’s togetherness. These days it is more popular to have flowers, either fresh, fabric or sugar to decorate the cake.
The formal style of bride and groom on the left was always the traditional choice, but it didn’t take skilled cake decorators long to realise that making mini versions of the happy couple in sugar paste was highly amusing as well as being much more personal. Replicating the bride and grooms’ hairstyles and hair colour, and even the wedding outfits to be worn and the flowers in the wedding bouquet, gives a sense of fun to the cake, making it a much less formal centrepiece.
Flower Wedding Cake Toppers
In the main, couples seem to have decided that they prefer flowers to adorn their wedding cake, whether fresh flowers, sugar craft or fabric. It is easy to match them in with the theme of the other wedding flowers and they look elegant and beautiful. Here are some examples of styles of wedding cakes decorated with flowers: