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Wedding Cakes

The Cake Store© http://www.thecaskestore.comThe wedding cake has always been an integral part of the marriage ceremony since its earliest origins in medieval tradition as a symbol of fertility. Today the wedding cake remains a prominent gesture of a couple’s love and support for one another, signified by their cutting of the first slice.

Through the years the wedding cake has become the focus of a variety of customs and traditions. Some of these customs have survived and others, fortunately, have not - for example the old custom of breaking the cake over the bride's head!

During the Roman Empire the groom would eat some barley bread, baked especially for the nuptials and then break the rest over his bride's head. Breaking the bread was seen as the breaking of the bride's virginal state and to assert his dominance over her. As wedding cakes evolved into more elaborate versions, it became impractical to properly break the cake over the bride's head. However there were still reports of breaking an oatcake over the bride's head in wedding ceremonies in Scotland during the 19th century.

In Medieval England a custom involving stacking small sweet buns in a large pile in front of the newlyweds followed by the couple attempting to kiss over the top would signify them having many siblings. During the 17th century, a popular dish served at weddings was Brides Pie. This would be made of sweetbreads, mince or mutton. A glass ring would be hidden in the pie and - when found by a lady - it would be presumed that she would be next to wed. These pies were often displayed as a centrepiece.

Around the 18th century a more superstitious belief was related to wedding cakes. Brides used to pass a piece of cake through their wedding ring and gift it to unmarried girls. They would then keep the piece under their pillow in the hope of seeing their future spouse in a dream. By the late 19th century, wedding cakes became very popular. Early cakes were single-tiered, simple plum cakes. It was a while before the first multi-tiered wedding cake of today appeared.

The current traditional design of wedding cakes first appeared in the 1660's. A French Chef visiting London attended a cake piling ceremony. He was shocked at the way the cakes were stacked on top of each other, and how often they fell over, so he created the first tiered iced style of wedding cake we know today.

The popularity of white wedding cakes can be explained with the fact that white is associated with purity. Food historians also believe that it was difficult for people to get ingredients for icing. White icing required finest quality, refined sugar so the whiter the cake, the more affluent the families appeared. Thus white cakes became the symbol of affluence.

The wedding cake is more than just a desert at your reception. It is a symbol of good fortune and married bliss. Your guests always enjoy admiring the wedding cake and devouring the cake too. Even on a limited budget, you can present a beautiful wedding cake. The ceremony of cutting the cake is the most important tradition following of from the wedding ceremony as the bride and groom perform their first united duty together as they cut the cake and feed one another with the first slice. This gesture symbolizes the joining of their lives and their mutual commitment to each other.

This article was kindly contributed by cake specialists Tim Slatter of The Cake Store
© 2006 Party Offers

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