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The History Of Wedding Cakes - January 2017

Wedding Cake Decorations

In modern society, wedding cake decorations are a huge part of the ceremony.

From wedding cake toppers to intricate icing, the cakes have become elaborate, multi-tiered extravaganzas. The tradition of the wedding cake can actually be traced back to Ancient times, when a bride’s big day would have been completely different to how we celebrate marriage in the 21st century.

Around 1900 years ago, the Romans began baking small loafs out of wheat and salt for use within the ceremony. The groom would eat part of the loaf and then break it over the bride’s head, as a sign of good fortune to come. This is the first iteration of the traditional wedding cake, but the process has gradually changed over the last two millenniums.

 In medieval England, wedding couples would be provided with unsweetened breads, but this was common at most celebrations. The thing that made these cakes different however, was that they were stacked in front of the bride and groom, the idea being to try and stop them kissing over the top of the breads. If the betrothed were able to kiss each other, then this symbolised great prosperity. This strange custom actually led to the creation of tiered wedding cakes, as the layers are supposed to represent the stacked breads.

This allegedly came about due to an unknown French chef in 1660. The story goes that the chef was travelling through England and was so appalled upon witnessing the stacking of breads he invented a way of constructing them into one solid stacked system. This was done with short broom sticks to separate the tiers. Disgustingly, since this took days of preparation and no refrigeration systems existed, the cakes had to be coated in lard to keep them from drying out. While the lard was originally scraped off before serving, sugar was eventually added to improve the taste instead, creating the first instance of decorative icing.

Strangely, in the 1700, the wedding cake fell out of popularity and was replaced by the Bride’s Pie. This was usually either a mince or mutton pie, and for some reason contained a glass ring. This was more popular in less affluent ceremonies, as sugar was very difficult to come by for those who were not wealthy. This began to fall out of popularity and was eventually phased out completely by Victorian times.

The contemporary prevailing opinion is that a white wedding cake is the quintessential symbol of a wedding. This tradition surfaced in the Victorian era to symbolise the purity of the bride. Also, the whiter a cake was the more affluent the family would appear, as the ingredients to make pure white icing was difficult to acquire

Wedding cakes are now the centrepiece of most wedding day decorations, becoming more elaborate and fanciful with every passing year. Make sure your cake looks its best and browse The Little Cake Shop’s amazing wedding cake decorations, with our fantastic range of wedding cake toppers. 

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