Thursday, July 17, 2008

Let Them Eat Wedding Cake!

The wedding cake originated in ancient cultures as a fertility rite for the newlyweds. Grain was originally offered to the Gods, but it eventually evolved into baking cakes that were crumbled and broken over a bride's head to ensure her successful childbearing. The ancient Romans dictated that when her father gave a bride to the groom, they shared a ceremonial barley cake dedicated to the head god, Jupiter.

We have come a long way from those barley cake days. We've even gone past the days of a vanilla cake with white icing. Selecting a wedding cake is now an integral part of the wedding planning process. Today's brides are selecting wedding cakes with style, imagination, and verve. It's not unusual to find a deep chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse and raspberries.

Wedding cakes are coordinated with the wedding theme. They are also expensive so they need to be part of the wedding budget from the start. The number of guests determines the size and cost of the wedding cake. Also know that the most basic flavors are less expensive than more exotic types. So keep these thoughts in mind as you go forth to order that special wedding cake!

The best way to choose a wedding cake is to go and have a tasting with your baker. Invite your fiancé, the mothers, and your maid of honor to accompany you so that you have several opinions about the flavor of the wedding cake and type of frosting. You might also want to consider bringing along the dads as well, since they should get to enjoy some of the pre-wedding festivities - and usually like wedding cake!

There are several questions that you should ask your baker besides the price of each slice.

1) Will the bakery make a vegan or sugar-free wedding cake for those with dietary restrictions?

2) Does the bakery have references as well as pictures of previous wedding cakes?

3) What ingredients will be used? What type of frostings and flavors are available?

4) What does the baker need to know from the wedding couple?

5) What services are included - will the cake be delivered, is there a wedding cake knife included?

6) How soon does the cake need to be ordered to ensure delivery on time?

If you have a hard time determining your favorite flavor of wedding cake or your advisers are also confused, consider choosing several compatible flavors in separate layers and let the guests choose the type of wedding cake they prefer.

A popular custom - especially in Southern weddings - is a groom's cake. This wedding cake is usually designed along the lines of the groom's personality - sports, fraternity letters, vocation, etc - and is usually smaller than the bride's wedding cake.

You can have the groom's cake alongside the wedding cake or present it to the groom at the wedding rehearsal dinner as that is traditionally when the groom's family takes over the evening. Another nice custom is if the bride's wedding cake is served after the meal at the reception, the groom's cake is cut and placed into small gift boxes and given to the guests to take home.

There are a lot of wedding cake traditions and stories, and in future blogs we will deal with more of them. So bring on the wedding cake!

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