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Why do we have wedding cake?

By Susan Slager

Let them eat cake!

Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France (supposedly!)

Congratulations! If you are reading this blog, you have probably just got engaged and are now planning for your wedding! In order to decide just how important having a wedding cake is to you, you should know a little of why it is a tradition for us to have it at our weddings.

Like all traditions, it developed over time:

Ancient Rome– The groom broke a loaf of bread over the brides head as a symbol of fertility and guest ate the crumbs in the hope of receiving some of that good luck. Be thankful this isn’t part of our traditions today!

500 to 1500 AD – Guests all bought a small spiced bun as a gift to the Bride and Groom. They were all piled up high, and the happy couple would share a kiss over the top of the pile, if no buns were dislodged they would have prosperity!

1600 AD – The bun pile morphed into the  first ‘Tiered” cake. This is said to have been done by a French chef who was visiting King Charles II. He saw the mounds of spiced buns and constructed them into a solid state by cutting down broom handles as supports inserted into the buns and coated the buns in lard to keep them fresh. This was also the inspiration for the French Croquembouche

French Croquembouche

1700 to 1800 AD – Moving on from bread & buns, it was a tradition to have a Bride’s Pye; a savoury pie into which a glass ring was placed, and the guest who found it would be the next to marry (sound familiar, but with a bouquet?). Fun fact… The Accomplished Cook by Prince first published a recipe for Bride’s Pye in 1655

During this time there was also no more gathering crumbs of the floor- small pieces of cake & buns were boxed up and given to the guests to take home and put under their pillows, to help them dream of the future partner.

1800s– wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert featured a white tiered white cakes, and set the trend followed up to this day. The reason behind a white, icing coating, tiered cake…

White is a symbol of wealth.

Sugar coated, also a symbol of wealth as sugar was insanely expensive.

Multiple tiers were for practical reasons – one to share with guests, one to post to non -attendees, one to keep for birth of first child as christening cake. In the years before birth control children usually came along within 1st year of marriage.

 It takes two – due to the thickness and the hardness of the sugar coating and decorations it requires both Bride and Groom to cut the cake, and it was regarded as being the 1st activity they did together as a married couple

OK, we have got a bit side tracked (because cake is amazing!), so far we have only covered the history and a few superstitions…  look out for our next blog in which we will look at more traditions and symbolism that surround weddings and wedding cakes including a handy easy wedding cake recipe for those who want to DIY their cake!

If DIY Cake isn’t for you, email us at catering@mkbusiness.com.au to request a quote of our custom wedding cakes!

The taste even better then they look 😊


The Baking Monkey

Aka Susan

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