Sep 7, 201710:30 AM
Let Them Eat Cake
The official blog of New Orleans Bride Magazine, offering a daily dose of all things weddings
Piece of Cake
A brief history of the wedding cake
Wedding cake – we eat it, we love it (well, some of us), and in New Orleans, it’s even a candy and sno-ball flavor. But where did we get this tasty tradition? We’ve been pondering this question recently at the New Orleans Bride Magazine and ”Let Them Eat Cake” offices.
According to the Smithsonian, “The history of the nuptial pastry, though, is even stranger than these modern rituals suggests. In ancient Rome, marriages were sealed when the groom smashed a barley cake over the bride’s head.” They also mentioned that during the Middle Ages in England, the bride and groom would kiss over a “pile of buns,” which they said was thought to ensure a prosperous future.
The story gets a little weirder during discussion of early writings that mention a “Bride’s Pye.” Sounds cute, right? Wrong. This recipe included spices, sweetbreads, cockscombs, lamb testicles and oysters. Not any type of cake we are looking to eat in celebration.
By the mid-16th Century, sugar became more plentiful in England, and the wedding cake we know and love today makes its appearance. At the time, the more refined the sugar, the whiter the cake and white icing soon became a must. Not only did the white color help allude to the purity of the bride, but it also was a symbol of wealth.
Gaining in popularity, the wedding cake trend then started to include tiers, more decorative designs and the size and the weight also alluded to the affluence of the family or couple. This reached a pinnacle when Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip in 1947 – their wedding cake weighed about 500 pounds.
Mega-sized wedding cakes aren’t a necessity, but a cake is still a tasty addition to any wedding. Cake in any form is considered a necessity for celebrations from birthdays to job promotions and everything between.
No matter the original history, we’re just happy the tradition veered from pies with lamb testicles and oysters to delicious works of art in celebration of love and happiness.
Save the date for our January Bridal Show, Jan. 10 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Click here for tickets and more information.