Wedding cakes make the life’s special occasion unforgettable and create desserts that offer a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. No doubt about it. Of course, wedding cakes are amped up with sugar flowers, ribbons and baroque details that do their magic to add an extra flavour to each bite of the wedding cake (there is no secret that we start eating with the eyes).
But honestly, do wedding cakes really taste better than regular cakes? Besides the adornments and design, what is the difference between wedding cake and regular cake?
Difference between wedding cake and regular cake
Yes, wedding cakes do taste better because only the finest and freshest ingredients are used to make unique, moist and delicious desserts that will leave guests asking for more:
- real butter not margarine
- fresh eggs not powdered eggs, and as many as it’s needed
- better quality flour
- first grade whip cream
- food grade colourings, even sometimes taken from nature source such as colours from some kind of leaves or something
- no artificial preservatives for a long shelf life
Modern pastry chefs and cake designers use various ingredients and tools to create a cake that reflects the personalities of the couple. Marzipan, fondant, gum paste, buttercream, and chocolate are among some of the more popular ingredients used.
Wedding cakes bring good luck
Traditionally, wedding cakes are made to bring good luck to the couple and all guests. They are usually served at wedding receptions following dinner. In some parts of England, the wedding cake is served at a wedding breakfast, on the morning following the ceremony.
Wedding cakes can certainly range in size, from a small cake that feeds ten people, to a very large cake that will feed hundreds, all depending on the wedding.
Along with ranging in size and components, cakes range in price. Cakes are usually priced on a per-person, or per-slice, basis. Prices usually range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, depending on the Pastry Chef hired to make the cake.
Wedding cakes and cake decorating in general have become a certain pop culture symbol in western society; many TV shows like Cake Boss or Amazing Wedding Cakes have become very common and are trending in today’s popular culture.
A little bit of wedding cake history
The contemporary wedding cake has grown out of many traditions. One of the first traditions began in Ancient Rome where bread was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple.
In Medieval England cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over, if they successfully kissed over the stack they were guaranteed a prosperous life together. From this the Croquembouche was created.
A Croquembouche is a dessert consisting of choux pastry puffs piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel. The myth behind this cake tells that a French pastry chef, visiting Medieval England, witnessed their tradition of piling sweet rolls between the bride and groom which they would attempt to kiss over without knocking them all down. The pastry chef then went back to France and piled sweet rolls up into a tower to make the first Croquembouche.
The modern croquembouche is still very popular in France however it is common to place the croquembouche tower on a bed of cake and make it one of the top tiers of the wedding cake. This traditional French wedding cake is built from Profiteroles and given a halo of spun sugar.
During the mid-17th century to the beginning of the 19th century the “bride’s pie” was served at most weddings. Guests were expected to have a piece out of politeness; it was considered very rude and bad luck not to eat the bride’s pie. One of the traditions of bride’s pie was to place a glass ring in the middle of the dessert and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry, similar to the modern tradition of catching the flower bouquet.
Bride’s pie eventually developed into the bride’s cake. At this point the dessert was no longer in the form of a pie and was sweeter than its predecessor. The bride’s cake was traditionally a plum or fruit cake, the myth that eating the pie would bring good luck was still common but the glass ring slowly died out and the catching of the flower bouquet took that meaning.
The action of throwing the bouquet has its roots in the Ancient Greek myth of the Apple of Discord. Fruit cakes were a sign of fertility and prosperity which helped them gain popularity because all married men wanted to have plenty of children.