Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Why Wedding Cake?
Modern Wedding Cake & Traditional Croquembouche
Have you ever wondered why we have wedding cakes? Why we spend so much money on a dessert that many of your guests won't eat? But there it sits on display for all to admire.
A wedding cake is the traditional cake served to the guests at a wedding reception (or in parts of England, at a wedding breakfast) after a wedding. In modern Western culture, it is usually a large cake, multi-layered or tiered, and heavily decorated with icing, usually over a layer of marzipan or fondant. Achieving a dense, strong cake that can support the decorations while remaining edible can be considered the epitome of the baker's art and skill.
Symbolism: The wedding cake is a tradition that began back in the Roman Empire. At the time, it was a loaf of bread that the groom broke over the bride's head as a symbol of his dominance in the marriage and over her. (The pieces that fell to the floor were scooped up by guests & placed under their pillows while they slept, to ensure good luck from the couples joining. This is where the tradition of wedding favors come from) The color of the cake is typically white to symbolize purity. The action of the bride and groom cutting the cake is meant to symbolize their first joint task in married life. The gesture of feeding cake to one another is a symbol of the commitment the bride and groom are making.
One of the earliest forms of the wedding cake is the French Croquembouche. The legend of this cake says that a pastry chef, visiting medieval England, witnessed their tradition of piling sweet rolls between the bride and groom which they would attempt to kiss over without knocking them all down. The pastry chef then went back to France and piled sweet rolls up into a tower to make the first Croquembouche.
Why Toppers?: Wedding cake toppers are small models that sit on top of the cake, normally a representation of a bride and groom in formal wedding attire. This custom was dominant in US weddings in the 1950s where it represented the concept of togetherness. Wedding toppers today are often figures that indicate shared hobbies or other passions, if they are used at all.