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Wedding Cake Traditions

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Author: Mavis Elliot

The origin of a wedding cake?

The book, Wedding Cakes and Cultural History, by Simon R. Charsley and William Woys Weaver goes into great detail on the history of the modern wedding cake and its origins in England less than 150 years ago.

The wedding cake as we know it today had its origins some hundred years later, in a confection that commemorated the marriage of one of Queen Victoria's daughters in 1859. The layers were stacked like hat boxes. It would take another 20 years before the tiers were separated by columns (usually disguised pieces of a broom handle).

Nowadays the perfect wedding cake is a matter of personal preference rather than the dictates of tradition. Some people prefer the elegance of a round or square, stacked (tiered) cake while other prefer the stylish sophistication of different shapes and humorous creations? The addition of accessories such as staircases, fountains etc can produce some wonderful creations.

By using different height and shapes of layers and sometimes mixing and matching in one cake can allow for more creativity. Common cakes with different layers are chocolate, carrot, lemon and orange and instead of one main wedding cake, there is a trend towards having an individual cake placed at each place-setting.

Cakes can be arranged in many different styles. They can be stacked, pillared, staggered, with fountains or on beautiful cake stands.

Wedding cakes can be covered in a variety of icings and filled with many filling choices. The two most popular choices for icing are Buttercream and Fondant. The size of a wedding cake is determined by the shape of the cake. For example, a 14-inch round cake will serve 75 to 80, while a 14-inch square cake will serve 80 to 100.

The Groom's Cake

The groom's cake (another forgotten tradition) is now making a comeback and is usually a gift from the bride. Generally it is displayed next to the wedding cake and is sometimes served along with it. It can also be made in different shapes to co-ordinate with the main wedding cake. The tradition of saving the top tier of the wedding cake to share on your first anniversary or on the birth or christening of your first child, is an old one.

To Freeze a Wedding Cake:

Place top tier of cake in freezer unwrapped for 5-6 hours so any decorations can set. Then, cover with plastic wrap, foil and place in an airtight container to avoid freezer burn.

To Defrost a Wedding Cake:

Remove from freezer at least 12 hours before serving. Let thaw in its wrappers so condensation forms on them and not the cake.

Transporting a Wedding Cake:

Cakes should be 'dismantled' and transported in separate pieces rather than try to move the whole tiered stack at once. Put each tier in its own individual sturdy box and if you have any delicate decorations or sugarcraft accessories then leave them off until you reach your destination. It would be a good idea to take a 'repair kit' with you if there are last minute touch-ups required.

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