Picking your wedding cake can be one of the most fun elements of your wedding planning.
As one of the essential parts of your wedding day, there are a lot of decisions to make to get the perfect one.
We at Engage Weddings have been looking at the history of the wedding cake, and how it became the cakes we design today!
During the 16th and 17th Century it was extremely popular to have a bride pie at your wedding. These pies would often be filled with ingredients that were considered to have aphrodisiac properties, such as oysters, prawns, and sweet potato. More elaborate recipes called for multiple pies to be combined into one large tart. Fillings would range from eggs to lamb testicles, to artichokes. Occasionally these bride pies would even include a secret compartment that would house live birds or snakes! As the 18th century approached pies became simpler, with brides opting for a minced meat filling. It was considered bad luck for a guest not to eat their slice of bride pie during the wedding reception.
Whilst bride pies were the more popular option, bride cakes were also seen in the 16th century, these were more spiced bread with dried fruit. This style of bride cake soon gave way for the ‘plum cake’, which today we know as a fruit cake. For wealthier brides, these cakes would be glazed with sugar icing – the whiter the icing, the higher your status! It wasn’t long until these wedding cakes became more embellished, with the introduction of coloured icing and sugar sculptures in the 19th century.
It was during Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s wedding (1840) that the size and tier of the wedding cake were considered important when displaying the social standing of the couple. With Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s wedding cake weighing 300 lb (136kg) and standing over a foot tall! Wedding cake tiers continued to grow over time, with Queen Victoria’s daughter setting a standard with a three-tiered cake standing between 5 and 7 feet high.
Rationing during the second world war meant that couples were more inventive when it came to their wedding cakes. Couples would often create prop cakes, which were decorated cardboard cakes, designed to sit over a plain sponge or fruit cake. We still see lighter sponge cakes being favoured in modern weddings, although most couples tend to bypass the overly decorated shells, opting for a naked, or barely decorated cake.
What is your dream wedding cake? How many tiers would you have?
Let us know in the comments below.