History of the Wedding Cake

Queen Victoria is also credited with popularizing white in a wedding to symbolize purity. White icing on wedding cakes became traditional during this time. Even before this specific symbolism, cakes were white simply because ingredients for the cakes were hard to come by, especially the sugar used in the icing. The whiter the sugar, the more refined, and therefore the more affluent the family appeared. So, the white wedding cake was originally a symbol of affluence rather than purity.

As the architecture of the cake evolved, the columns that traditionally decorated a royal cake became support columns for the upper tiers which could then be made of actual cake. Thus was born the tiered wedding cake. Often the columns were disguised broom handles serving as the true support for the weighty confections. The frosting of a cake has several possible origins. One possibility is that in the seventeenth century, a French pastry chef frosted the cake tower with sugar to ensure the buns kept their form. Another possibility is that because a lack of refrigeration would spoil the cake, a dense layer of sugar and fat would help preserve it as well as feed all the people attending the wedding.
As the tiered cake evolved, so did the symbolism behind it. Starting in the 17th century, it was thought that sleeping with a piece of cake under one’s pillow would help them dream of their future spouses. This idea led to the tradition of brides passing crumbs of their cake through their rings and distributing them to guests who could place the crumb under their pillow. This tradition tapered off after the superstition of never removing one’s wedding ring after the ceremony appeared.

Popular Posts

Blog Archive