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Bridal Club Magazine

What's In A Cake?

Aside from the bride's outfit, there is one thing that most guests will remember from your wedding.

No, not the flowers, not the reception, or even the first dance.  It is the cake, and for this reason it deserves a great deal of contemplation.

The wedding cake stands for a lot of things.  To you and your partner it is a symbol of love and commitment.  To the guests it is a focal point of conversation during the reception.   And to the baker it is another chance to create a work of art. Either way, the cake is an essential component of your wedding, and requires a great deal of thought before the final arrangements are made.

...The wedding cake was first seen as important by the ancient Romans...

The wedding cake was first seen as important by the ancient Romans.  Back then the cake wasn't the thickly-iced centrepiece you see nowadays; it was a simple thin wheat cake, and it was crumbled over the bride's head to ensure her fertility.

Of course this tradition has faded away (imagine the mess today's elaborate cakes would make), but the importance of the cake has not.  It is the true symbolism of the commitment you and your partner have just made, so it is essential that you get every aspect of it right, from the colour of the icing to the traditions that are upheld in society today.

In terms of the cake itself, tradition is no longer upheld with the vigour of years past. Whereas beforehand look was all-important, taste has now become paramount.

If you wish to be traditional, you cannot go past the three-tiered fruitcake with the thick white icing.  However this tradition is certainly an acquired taste, and not all guests find the rich texture suits their palate.  Many couples nowadays decide is to change the flavour of the cake, and match the icing with theme colours of the wedding.

A rich chocolate cake is a favourite, and cheesecakes are also popular.  But there really is no restriction on the type of cake you wish to serve. It is your wedding, you do with it as you wish!

When it comes to baking and designing the cake, often the easiest option is order the cake from your caterer, or the restaurant where your reception is being held.  This way the cake will be delivered with the rest of your food, and it saves you working with a second business.  You can of course order a professional baker to make the wedding cake. This is often the best option if you are looking at something on a grand scale, such as a multi- tiered cake, or a particular design.

If you are planning a smaller wedding, why not ask a friend or relative to bake it for you?  Many home bakers nowadays take cake decorating classes and can produce a cake of professional standard.

Price varies depending on the size and design of the cake, and also the baker.  Some bakers prefer to charge per slice, others charge depending on the ingredients and time put in.  It is a wise move to get several quotes from different bakers, as the price for your cake could fluctuate greatly depending on who is making it.

As I have said earlier, the cake is one of the centrepieces of your wedding, and it deserves to be displayed as such.  It usually has a table to itself, away from the food and set against a nice backdrop for photographic purposes.

Whilst tradition has been lost with the cake itself, it is very much alive and well in the rituals performed on the day.

Cutting the cake is one of these traditions.  The cutting should occur at the reception just before dessert is served.  It takes place in this fashion: the groom places his right hand over the right hand of bride, and together they cut the bottom layer of the cake.   The groom then feeds the bride her first slice, and she feeds him.  This tradition serves as a symbol of the couple's willingness to share a household.  The parents should be served next, with usually the bride's parents served first. After this the guests are served.

...It is believed to be bad luck if a guest leaves the reception without tasting the wedding cake...

Another tradition respected today is that of saving the cake's top layer.  This layer is then frozen and eaten by the bride and groom on their first anniversary, or on the birth of their first child.  Of course a cake frozen for a year can lose some of its taste, so some couples simply freeze it until their one month anniversary.  A second 'mini' cake is then made for their first year.  However this is one tradition that most couples choose to respect, so enjoy that one-year-old cake everybody!

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