As I have a shockingly sweet tooth, cake comes very high up on my list of favourite foods. I particularly love a rich fruit cake with marzipan and royal icing. So to me, a cake makes the perfect celebration food but now cakes seem to becoming more like works of art than food items and none more than wedding cakes. Instead of the traditional white-tiered wedding cake some are opting for black, red and even multi-coloured cakes or individual cupcakes instead of one big cake.
But maybe this isn’t such a detour from tradition. In fact white wedding cakes have only been popular since the 19th century when Queen Victoria had a white wedding cake in keeping with her white wedding dress. Until then, silver had been the popular dress colour for royal brides.
Her cake consisted of a single tier approximately 9 feet (3 metres) around the base and stacked with figurines of up to a foot (30 cms) high approximately, of Britannia and the Royal couple dressed in the clothes of Ancient Greece.
Click here for a link to an illustration of Queen Victoria’s Wedding cake.
The trend of tiering wedding cakes, popular today, was reputedly inspired by Christopher Wren’s spire at St Bride’s Church in London. But looking further back it seems the tradition of the wedding cake dates back to Roman times.
Back then wedding cakes were more like a type of bread made from wheat flour, salt and water (no sugar or other sweet ingredients). And, instead of the groom handing the bride a piece to eat, he would crumble it over her head. This was meant to ensure the couple would be blessed with lots of children.
Later on in history people would pile little cakes up high and the idea was the bride and groom would try and kiss over the cakes. If they succeeded it was a sign that the marriage would be prosperous. This is reputed to be the origins of the Croquembouche, a French cake often used at weddings.
So simple, elaborate, traditional or wacky…there are no limits when it comes to the choice of wedding cake.