The History of the Wedding Cake

The tradition of the wedding cake begins in the early times of the Roman Empire. Through the years a variety of customs and traditions have focused on the wedding cake.

The History of the Wedding Cake

These customs have gone through a lot of changes and few of them have totally disappeared. Just imagine yourself as a bride with a cake broken on her head! How would you feel yourself? Well, this tradition ha its roots as far back as the Roman Empire. This custom is actually symbolizing the breaking of the bride`s virginal state and the domination of the groom over her. Traditionally the cake was a bread baked especially for the nuptials.

A part of it was eaten by the groom and the rest of it was broken over the bride`s head. Breaking a modern wedding cake over the bride`s head is very impractical, so this custom disappeared in short time after the evolution of the modern wedding cakes. This custom is to be found even in the nineteenth century in northern Scotland: the friends of the bride put a napkin over her head and than poured a basket of bread over her head.
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There are no accounts about a special type of cake in the Medieval England. The bride`s pie in the seventeenth century was a much more popular custom. This was a pie filled with sweet breads, a mince pie or a simple mutton pie, containing a glass ring. Due to this ancient custom, the lady who would find this ring is the next to be married.The popularity of the wedding cake begins with the nineteenth century.

The custom of the bride`s pie disappeared. We are talking of course in these early times only about simple plum cakes.The custom of giving a cake as a gift shows back to the seventeenth century. At that time, there lived the tradition of giving cake as a gift in order to the sleepers could dream about their future spouses. What a nice custom, isn`t it? What a marvelous way to solve your relationship problems! Imagine a piece of wedding cake under your pillow, that reveals you the identity of your future lifemate. Amazing traditions!

Have wedding cakes always been white? This is another important question connected to the history of the wedding cake. Well, such well as by the customs connected to the wedding dress, the colour white is symbolising purity. The white wedding cakes icing have appeared in the Victorian era. So the white wedding cake relates to the symbol of purity. The cake is traditionally associated with the purity of the bride due to the ancient custom of the bride`s cake. The colours of the cake are usually harmonizing with the colours of the bride`s wedding dress, especially with the wedding gown colour.

The cake cutting ceremony is traditionally symbolising the union of the bride and the groom as husband and wife. In the past the bride cut the wedding cake alone, without the help of the groom. Giving pieces of cake to the wedding guests is a custom from the ancient Roman times. The mutual commitement of the bride and the groom is also symbolised by the lovely custom of sharing the first slice of cake together. But are we talking about the same cake as we are used to see at modern wedding ceremonies? Well, the multitiered wedding cake is connected to the royalty weddings of the English nobility class.

There are a few modern adaptations of these traditions according to the different cultures and nations, such as the custom of the wedding cake toppers in the 1950s US weddings. This custom represents the concept of togetherness. All these traditions are actually related to the tasks and duties of the marriage, fertility, children, family building and other concepts connected to marriage and family life. Whatever customs you include in your wedding ceremony, the customs related to the wedding cake have a deep symbolism. They are associated with good fortune, long life and many children. So, the symbolism of this important wedding item may help us to think about the importance of marriage in human society. Just think of the ancient traditional cakes made of the materials of Life!