From The Romans To The British: How Has The Tradition Of Wedding Cakes Evolved
Image Credit: Wedding Cake

While wedding cakes are a big part of wedding receptions today, there was once a time when ceremonies did not end with stark-white sugary pastries. Many many years ago in ancient Rome, wedding ceremonies ended with a scone (scone is in fact a British dessert) made from wheat or barley. The scone would then be broken into pieces and thrown on top of the bride. This is done as a symbol of luck and fertility. 

A bite of the scone would also be taken by the bride and groom to mark the unified act of marriage. And only after, the guests have severed the remnants of the scone. Later when the Romans captured Britain in around 50 BCE, they too made this part of their traditions. Later around the medieval era, the tradition took a new face. All varieties of sweets like sticky buns, scones, cookies and other pastries were stacked on each other very high. And the newlyweds would try to kiss each other trying to stay above the pile. A French chef took a whole new spin to the stacking tradition. 

He thought it would be much more elegant for the same type of foods (which could actually be successfully stacked) to create the pile through tiers. This quickly became a “thing” but with savoury instead of sweet. Pies also, strangely enough, became a part of the customs. In parts of Britain, a wedding ring would be hidden in the pie and the guest who found the ring would be the next in line to be married. Over the next couple of decades as refined white sugar became cheaper and more available white icing became visible on top of the cakes. The white colour represented purity and virginity. But it wasn’t till the eighteenth century that tiered cakes became common. It was made by a baker who fell in love with his boss’s daughter and in order to impress him, he created a piled and tall wedding cake in white.