Posted on March 7th, 2022
The wedding cake is a celebratory creation decorated with flowers. It's pretty and absolutely delicious, but is it just cake? Or does it signify something more? From a simple cutting cake to a breathtaking five-tiered one, a cake's design may not be as arbitrary as you think. Keep reading to learn about the history of this confection, the significance of cake cutting, and wedding cake traditions.
The History and Meaning of Wedding Cakes
The first wedding cakes were actually the result of traditions to encourage the bride’s fertility. According to Emily Lael Aumiller, the owner of Lael Cakes, “In Roman times, grains of wheat represented fertility and were thrown at the newly married to ensure fruitfulness.” Similar traditions involving loaves of grain were used in Ancient Greece to promote prosperity and fertility. As weddings evolved, “the wheat was eventually baked into cakes.”
Those Roman and Greek wheat cakes morphed into the more traditional cakes we see today. “Over the years, as a sign of prosperity, families began to stack the cakes,” Aumiller says. Of course, some couples forgo the wedding cake, pairing a cutting cake with alternative desserts like “mini caramel apples, chocolate tarts, coconut macarons, and shortbread cookies,” to name a few.
However, a wedding cake remains a staple at most modern-day weddings. In fact, it's not uncommon for newlyweds to preserve the top tier of their wedding cake for their one-year anniversary. This tradition also goes along with the notion of spreading good-luck and prosperity.
Around Shakespeare’s time, the bride’s friends would each bring a sweet bun to the wedding, with the bride's popularity reflected in the number of buns received. The invention of icing may have come about when early bridesmaids sought to ensure the pile would not be toppled by adhering the buns with honey and applesauce.
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