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Friday, September 5, 2008

A History of Wedding Cakes...and a few unusual examples

My lovely critique partner Mia Zachary found this little history for me. Enjoy!

The history of wedding cakes goes back to the time of the Romans. Usually they used loaves of wheat bread which were then broken over the newlywed’s heads to bring them luck and prosperity. (Obviously the ancient Romans did not spend several hours and several hundred dollars in the salon or else this tradition would never have gone over...)

It was considered good luck for guests to eat the wedding bread crumbs that landed on the floor. Single women scrambled for the grains to ensure their own betrothals. (It would seem the cost of catering the affair was considerably lower in ancient Rome also.)

During the middle ages, each guest brought one small bridal cake- actually simple biscuits or scones. The ‘cakes’ were piled on top of each other, and the newlyweds had to kiss across the top of the pile to bring them good luck in their marriage. (How much luck do you think a modern groom should rightly expect after squashing cake in his new wife’s face? I think “the pile kiss” is a better way to go!)

The history of wedding cakes continues to the seventeenth century, when French bakers stacked wheat buns and coated the whole lot with icing. This was the beginning of cakes starting to look like the typical cake of today- three to five squares or rounds of sponge or angelfood stacked in layers and draped with sheets of fondant and piped frosting.

Yes, modern wedding cakes came to be considered a symbol of purity and new beginnings, vanilla white cake with untouched-snow white icing… Boring.

In a modern world where most everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame, where we struggle to be noticed amongst the constant onslaught of visual images in our daily lives (yes, blogs included!), today’s wedding cakes strive to be culinary and design extravaganzas.

The 21st Century couple wants a cake that reflects their personality, style and favorite colors. They want something that the guests will talk (or snigger - check out some of these beauties of cakes!) about for months… well, weeks… okay, a few days after the grand event.

At least until the next wedding!



Blogger Melissa James said...

Just to let everyone know I won't be here this afternoon - I have a funeral to attend. Then tomorrow morning we're off with our daughter and son-in-law for the weekend. I'll try to find time to pop in if I can.


September 5, 2008 at 1:16 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Weddinc cakes sure have had a varied history.
Have you seen cakewrecks.blogspot.com? There are two wedding cakes there in the shape of the Bride. I found them, odd.

Sorry to hear about the funeral. I do hope you have a good time this weekend.

September 5, 2008 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Gail Fuller said...

What a neat history lesson. Aren’t you glad we no longer have to eat crumbs off the floor? Thanks, Mia!


September 5, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Julie Hilton Steele said...

Melissa sorry you are having to deal with a loss.

Peace, Julie

September 5, 2008 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Eleni Konstantine said...

Mia - I love finding out the history of how things came to be. I agree with Gail - eating crumbs off the floor - eeewwww! Thought here is that 3 second rule, I suppose. LOL!

Hugs Melissa on your loss.

September 6, 2008 at 2:44 AM  
Blogger Linda Goodnight said...

Those cake photos are a hoot! And I would love to see the cakes shaped like the bride, Brandi. I think I'll have to go look at those.

Hugs, Melissa. You've had a tough year, sweetheart.


September 8, 2008 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Thanks, everyone. It was a friend here. He had a stroke and it affected his pain centre, and he died in agony, poor man.

Never heard a funeral talk given in three languages before. Prayer too. Very interesting - and he knew Rolf well and made us all smile.


September 8, 2008 at 1:12 PM  

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