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The Infographic History of Wedding Cakes

I don’t know about you but I love weddings and I love cake. This means that the combination of the two is practically heaven for me!

That's why I decided to create this infographic that looks at the history of wedding cakes.

Photo by Erica Jones

Roman wedding cakes were much more about the symbolism than the taste or decoration. They were made from either wheat, which was a symbol of fertility, or barley which symbolized prosperity. This meant that they were rather more beard-like than a cake-like. Normally the cake was made up of a number of smaller cakes or buns. The groom would eat the first part of the cake and then crumble the rest of it over the brides head to bring her luck. Let’s call this a Roman bridal shower! This tradition was so important that only children born to parents who had completed it could be considered for positions within the roman government. 

In the 1600’s guests would bring pastries to the wedding and pile them as high as possible. The bride and groom would then have to stand on opposite sides of this pastry tower and kiss over the top of it. A successful marriage was apparently guaranteed to any couple who could tackle this tall order. Legend has it that a French chef, who was visiting England, saw the stacking of the pastries and was horrified by it. He made the first tiered stand using sawn off broom handles but the uncouth Brits obviously didn’t like his style as it wasn’t until 1750 that tiered cakes became fashionable.

Wanting to impress guests at his daughter’s wedding, William Rich a 1750’s London baker, made a tiered wedding cake whereby he stacked the cakes directly on top of each other. He was apparently inspired by the tiered tower of St. Brides church which was situated on the same street as his bakery. An apt name for the church in this instance! Guests were blown away by his creation and many tried to replicate it at their weddings.

Nowadays we look to celebrities and royalty for our wedding trends. At his wedding last year, Prince William requested a groom’s cake made to a secret royal family recipe. This was alongside the official cake, an 8 tiered fruit cake with over 900 exquisite iced flowers. Tiered cakes are still hugely popular but we also have some new variations on an old favourite such as cupcakes and cake pops.

Whatever your choice of cake I hope that you enjoy my infographic!

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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