For as long as there have been weddings there have been wedding cakes. These tasty treats have long been a symbol of the couple’s fertility and a good luck charm for a happy marriage. Although the size, shape and contents of the wedding cake has changed quite drastically through the centuries, the tradition of the cake itself remains constant.
Wedding cakes used to be made by the guests and brought to the reception where they were stacked using apple sauce – the bigger the cake the more popular the bride. The ancient Greeks cut sesame cakes at their weddings while the ancient Roman grooms broke wheat cakes above their brides’ heads for increased fertility – the crumbs of which the guests would gather up as good luck charms. The cake was alternately made from fruits, wheat and sesame seeds to finally end up as the extraordinary pieces of art which we have today.
The modern wedding cake comes in a multitude of colors from white to chocolate to pastel shades of spring and summer. Some brides match the cake to the colors of the reception hall or their bridesmaids’ dresses. Generally wedding cakes remain the traditional white, however, many contemporary couples are opting for something more personalized. The makers of wedding cakes are no longer simply referred to as bakers but are now known as cake designers. These pastry artists can create incredible tableaus using sugar paste, butter cream or fondant. Their creations are beyond anything the Greeks or Romans could have envisioned so many centuries ago.
Although its appearance and style may continue to change and adapt in years to come, the wedding cake will always retain its ancient symbolism and honored place at all wedding receptions.