Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tradition Thursday: Wedding Cakes

Wedding cake has become one of the most important aspects of a wedding celebration. But where did the idea of serving these multi-tiered edible works of art begin?

Like many wedding traditions, it came from Ancient Rome, where the groom broke a loaf of barley or wheat bread over his bride's head, representing both his dominance over his new wife and good fortune for the future.

Guests would then gather crumbs, wishing for their own good luck. This eventually led to our modern-day rice and confetti throwing.

In Medieval England, the wedding couple kissed over a tower of sweet buns stacked as high as possible without knocking them over. The French croquembouche tower is said to have evolved from this tradition.

By the late 16oos, "Bride's Pye" was being served in England, a pie filled with a mix of oysters, pine kernels, rooster necks and lamb. Eventually this evolved into a pie of fruit, nuts and meat.

Each guest had to eat a slice or would be considered highly impolite. A ring was also hidden inside the pie and if a single woman found it, she was said to be the next to marry.

The development of a wedding cake most similar to today's form started in the 17th Century, with fruited cakes to symbolize fertility and good fortune.

The bride would eat a bite and throw the rest over her head, again symbolizing good fortune. Then the groom would toss a plate over his head, and if it broke, their future good luck was guaranteed. (Carol Wilson, Wedding Cake: A Slice Of History)

Even today, Kate and William's Royal Wedding cake was made up of multiple fruit cakes as well.

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