The wedding cake has always been important to the wedding party. In early Roman times, bread was broken over the head of the bride, representing good luck for the couple. As time passed, different foods substituted bread and were piled, the happy couple anticipated to lean it over and kiss before dismantling and functioning. The contents evolved into buns and compact cakes or pastries, occasionally even meat pies that were consumed as part of their meal. However, the symbolism has pretty much stayed the same, that of fertility and good fortune, as the newlyweds ceremoniously cut the cake and discuss with each other before their guests.
Contemporary cakes are often not edible but only concealed cardboard or styrofoam, elaborately decorated, then whisked off to the kitchen where a simple sheet cake is cut and served to the unsuspecting guests. Traditionally the top Vero Beach Wildlife Control layer, often referred to as the groom’s cake, is stored and consumed at a later date, or may be different entirely. At some weddings, the cake is composed of tiered cupcakes for easy serving, or displayed on an elaborate “sweet table” of desserts in which the guests can help themselves.
During the Victorian era in Britain (1800s) that the royals and elite class took the wedding cake into a new high (literally) with sweet white and cake icing for a status symbol of the wedding couple, exemplified by the lavish display served in the 1871 wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise, that took three months to finish. One must wonder how well it held up literally throughout all that time and was it still edible. Apparently so, as portions of the first were sold off decades later. 1 buyer described the feel as “company,” an understatement to be certain. Even though most royals prefer a lavish but somewhat traditional cake, elaborate reproductions of palaces and historic landmarks have been prominently featured at some elite children’s weddings.
No more the traditional white cake or fruitcake (preferred by Brits) the modern cakes have developed into spectacles of artistry, with unique themes, sculptures, photographs and even replicas of the bride and groom themselves. They are carrot cake, chocolate or cheesecake, with colorful icing and decorations of any taste, and frequently include a price tag far exceeding the bridal gown. Specially trained pastry chefs compete on Food Network and have their own companies that make wedding cakes exclusively.
Possibly, the most renowned wedding cake ever belongs to the character Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens’ legendary novel Great Expectations. The jilted spinster, left at the altar, spends the rest of her life in her bedroom wearing her wedding gown, the rotting wedding cake screen, covered with cobwebs. Although not so striking, here are some famous modern-day cakes which deserve mention:
Actress Grace Kelly’s celebrated marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco showcased a six-tiered wedding cake in their reception in 1956, also depicted a three-dimensional replica of Monaco’s Pink Palace, her soon-to-be new house.
When a radiant Elizabeth Taylor carved to a five-tiered white cake in her lavish first wedding to hotel heir Nicky Hilton in 1950, it was topped with traditional wedding bells, made by the pastry chef in the chichi Bel-Air Country Club in California. Imagine the blessed bakers who were commissioned by Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Even though the cakes got smaller and smaller with every subsequent union, they had a terrific repeat business from each of the two actresses.
In the 1947 royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth, soon to become Queen of England, the 500-pound fruitcake (a standard British popular) stood 9 feet tall. It took 660 eggs, 300 lbs of dried fruits and nuts, and three-and-a-half gallons of Navy rum. (And some people complain when we get a measly two-pound fruitcake at Christmas.)
Prince Charles and Diana’s five-foot tall cake was adorned with marzipan Windsor coats of arms and was so crucial to the royal celebration a duplicate copy was created, in the event of an accident.
Donald Trump and Melania’s cake cost $50,000 and couldn’t be served to the guests due to the amount of wiring used to keep it intact. (Writer’s note: I do not know about anybody else, but it seems so delicious that I’d have picked out the cables and devoured it.)
No question, the wedding cake has developed into an art form, where imagination and creativity know no boundaries. If you can dream it up, and absorb the cost, you’ll discover a willing and gifted baker to make it. Indeed.