Let them eat wedding cake

METRO — Wedding receptions culminate when the happy couple stands before their tiered and towering wedding cake to cut the first slice.

The tradition of wedding cakes has endured since ancient times, and cakes have been presented in many incarnations since their introduction. In fact, some have not been cake at all. One of the first wedding “cakes” was made in ancient Rome and was comprised of bread. This bread was broken over the bride’s head to symbolize future fertility and good luck for the couple.

Until the 19th century, wedding cakes were actually bridal pies. A “bride’s pie” was made of flaky pastry and filled with oysters, pine kernels, cockscombs, lambstones, sweetbreads, and spices. According to Gastronomica, a journal of food studies, humble versions of wedding cakes were also created with mutton and mincemeat.

Bridal pies eventually gave way to sweeter offerings, including fruited cakes that served as symbols of fertility and prosperity.

Today, wedding cakes run the gamut from all-white, fondant-covered confections to simple sheet cakes. Some couples even opt to serve their guests cupcakes or cookies.

Although white is the preferred color of wedding cakes, couples may opt for hues that evoke the color schemes of their weddings. Queen Victoria of England was one of the first people to have pure white icing on her wedding cake. It is believed that this is how “royal icing” received its name.

Wedding cakes are usually priced by the slice, and prices can range anywhere from $1.50 per slice and upward. Couples can budget around $300 to $500 for moderately priced wedding cakes for parties with 150 to 200 people. According to the wedding resource The Knot, the most expensive wedding cake commissioned to date was made by Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery. At the request of New York City socialite Devorah Rose for her diamond gala event, the $30 million cake was topped with jewels.

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