The wedding cake has always been important to the wedding party. In ancient Roman times, bread was broken above the head of the bride, representing good luck for the couple. As time passed, different foods replaced bread and were stacked, the happy couple expected to lean over it and kiss before dismantling and functioning. The contents evolved into buns and small cakes or pastries, sometimes even meat pies which 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 share with each other before their guests.
Contemporary cakes are often not edible but only disguised 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 layer, often called the groom’s cake, is saved 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. Vero Beach Wildlife Control.
During the Victorian era in Britain (1800s) the royals and elite class took the wedding cake into a new high (literally) with sweet white and cake icing as a status symbol of the wedding couple, exemplified by the lavish display served at the 1871 wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise, which took three months to complete. One must wonder how well it held up literally throughout all that time and was it still edible. Apparently so, as portions of the original were auctioned off decades later. 1 buyer described the feel as “firm,” an understatement to be certain. Although most royals prefer a lavish but somewhat traditional cake, elaborate reproductions of palaces and historical landmarks have been prominently featured at some elite children’s weddings.
No longer 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 come with a price tag far surpassing the bridal gown. Specially trained pastry chefs compete on Food Network and have their own companies which create wedding cakes exclusively.
Possibly, the most famous 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 display, covered with cobwebs. Although not so dramatic, 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 at their reception in 1956, also depicted a three-dimensional replica of Monaco’s Pink Palace, her soon-to-be new home.
When a radiant Elizabeth Taylor carved to a five-tiered white cake at her lavish first wedding to hotel heir Nicky Hilton in 1950, it was topped with traditional wedding bells, created by the pastry chef in the chichi Bel-Air Country Club in California. Imagine the lucky bakers who were commissioned by Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Although the cakes got smaller and smaller with each subsequent union, they still 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 required 660 eggs, 300 pounds of dried fruits and nuts, and three-and-a-half gallons of Navy rum. (And some people complain when we receive 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 vital to the royal celebration a duplicate copy was made, in the event of an accident. (Kind of like “an heir and a spare.”)
When Kennedy daughter Eunice married Sargent Shriver, she had to stand on a step ladder to cut the cake, it was so tall (which brings new meaning to the phrase “standing up for a wedding”).
Created by the pastry chef at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, he proudly proclaimed the layers of his masterpiece were filled with apricot marmalade and liqueur-flavored Bavarian cream, then glazed with fondant icing, topped off with marzipan roses.
Donald Trump and Melania’s cake cost $50,000 and could not be served to the guests because of the amount of wiring used to keep it intact. (Author’s note: I do not know about anybody else, but it seems so delicious that I would have gladly picked out the cables and devoured it.)
No question, the wedding cake has developed into an art form, where creativity and ingenuity know no boundaries. If you can dream it up, and absorb the cost, you’ll find a willing and gifted baker to create it. Indeed.