My mum offically rocks. She is amazing support to me, and a fantastic Grandma to my two little ones. She also made my wedding cake and so has offered to write a bit about how the custom of serving a special cake originated. Over to you mum!
In medieval times cakes were made of wheat as it was a symbol of fertility and prosperity. They were then thrown at the bride! I am glad that tradition has not carried forward.
The Romans had a cake of barley which was eaten by the groom and the rest broken over the brides head. If the guests got a crumb then they hoped to share in the couples good fortune. I suppose the more recent custom of giving gifts of the cake to people who were unable to attend the wedding is a derivative of this!
History also describes the stacking of small buns in a pile for the newly weds to kiss over the top. (Our modern day cup cakes?!) This pile eventually became tiered and was stuck together with lard in order to preserve the cake which was then scraped off before eating. They later added sugar to this mixture!!
Victorians introduced white icing . This was not only a symbol of purity but the whiter the cake (more refined the sugar ) the more affluent the wedding.
The multi tiered cake, traditionally 3 tiers, had a tier for the reception, a tier to send to friends and relatives in specially made cake boxes, and the top tier was ofter retained until required as the christening cake. We used our top tier for Emma’s Christening. I love a bit of tradition!
Nowadays cakes can be tiered, multi flavoured and not just the traditional fruit cake, made of chocolate, choux pastry, sponge etc. They could be cup cakes .The cake is often served now as a dessert at the wedding meal. Which leads nicely to the cake I made for Emma and Jim which was 3 tiers, Traditional fruit, Carrot cake, Lemon Drizzle, each had different icings and was served as the dessert!