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wedding cakes

History of a wedding cake

historyWedding cakes have been part of the marriage ceremony ever since medievel times, orginally made of wheat and were a symbol of fertility and prospenty and would have been thrown at the bride as a fertility ite.

In the minds of most people, wedding cakes are supposed to be white. The symbolism attached to the color white, makes explaining this tradition rather simple. White has always denoted purity, and it relates to white wedding cake icing that first appeared in Victorian times. Another way in which a white wedding cake relates to the symbol of purity, has its basis in the fact that the wedding cake was originally referred to as the bride's cake. This not only highlighted the bride as the central figure of the wedding, but also created a visual link between the bride and the cake. Today, that link is being further strengthened as more contemporary brides have contemporary wedding cakes co-ordinated with their wedding gown color, even if it's not white! Previous to Victorian times, most wedding cakes were also white, but not because of the symbolism. Ingredients were very difficult to come by, especially those required for icing. White icing required the use of only the finest refined sugar, so the whiter the cake, the more affluent the families appeared. A white wedding cake became an outward symbol of affluence.

Cutting the wedding cake...

cutting the cakeWedding cakes take center stage in the traditional cake cutting ceremony, symbolically the first task that bride and groom perform jointly as husband and wife. This is one tradition that most of us have witnessed many times. The first piece of wedding cake is cut by the bride with the "help" of the groom. This task originally was delegated exclusively to the bride. It was she who cut the wedding cake for sharing with her guests. Distributing pieces of wedding cake to one's guests is a part of that tradition from the Roman Empire when guests clamored for the crumbs. But, as numbers of wedding party guests grew, so did the size of the wedding cake, making the distribution process impossible for the bride to undertake on her own. Wedding cake cutting became more difficult with early multi-tiered cakes, because the icing had to be hard enough to support the wedding cake's own weight. This made cutting the wedding cake a joint project. After the cake cutting ceremony, the couple proceed to feed one other from irst slice. This provides another lovely piece of symbolism, the mutual commitment of bride and groom to provide for one another.

Multi tiered wedding cakes...

The once simple wedding cake has evolved into what today is a multi-tiered extravaganza. The multi-tiered wedding cake was originally reserved for English royalty. Even for the nobility, the first multi-tiered wedding cakes were real in appearance only. Their upper layers were mockups made of spun sugar. Once the problem of preventing the upper layers from collapsing into the lower layers was solved, a real multi-tiered wedding cake could be created. Pillars as decoration existed long before multi-tiered wedding cakes appeared, so it was a natural progression for cake bakers to try using pillars as a way to support the upper tiers. To prevent the pillars from sinking into the bottom tier, icing was hardened to provided the necessary support. There are some brides today who can't resist saving the top layer of her multi-tiered cake. Couples freeze the wedding cake with the intention of sharing it on their first wedding anniversary. The tradition has its roots in the late 19th century when grand cakes were baked for christenings. It was assumed that the christening would occur soon after the wedding ceremony, so the two ceremonies were often linked, as were the cakes. With modern wedding cakes becoming more and more fancy and elaborate, the christening cake quickly took a back seat to the wedding cake. When three-tiered cakes became popular, the top tier was often left over. A subsequent christening provided a perfect opportunity to finish the wedding cake. Couples could then logically rationalize the need for three tiers --- the bottom tier for the reception, the middle tier for distributing and the top for the christening. As the time between the weddings and the christenings widened, the two events became disassociated, and the reason for saving the top tier of the wedding cake changed. Regardless of the underlying reason, when the couple finally does eat the top tier, it serves as a very pleasant reminder of their very special day.



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