A wedding is a gala affair. It's a solemn occasion when a bride and groom decide to marry and live their future life together. The marriage ceremony is itself a sacred covenant. The end of the ceremony signals a feast in the traditional style. A significant part of the feast is the wedding cake. A cake is a baked edible that is sweet in taste.
A cake normally has basic ingredients as wheat or flour , which is meshed with sugar and beaten eggs. Butter or margarine is folded in the mixture and then a leavening agent like yeast is used to help in its formulation. The entire mixture is then baked at various temperatures for an excellent end product. Most marriages take place in the morning. The ceremony may be followed by a sumptuous breakfast.
The traditional cake is served to the guests at the end of the wedding. The size and shape of the cake depends upon the number of guests attending the wedding. The practice is to have a large cake. This cake could be multi-layered or tiered and will be decorated with icing or cream. A motif or a small figure may also decorate the top of the cake.
Doves, gold rings and horseshoes are fairly common motifs. Most motifs try and denote good luck for the couple. Baking a wedding a cake is by itself a test for a baker's caliber, as it has to be large and well structured. The wedding cake can trace its origin to antiquity. However records exist that show that during medieval times the wedding cake had carved a niche for itself in the marriage ceremony. This was the period when each guest at a wedding generally brought a small cake as a present.
All these cakes were then stacked on top of each other and the bride and groom were supposed to kiss over the top of the cakes. This kiss was thought to be a harbinger of good luck. The modern tiered cake is derived from this old practice. These days you have multi layered and tiered cakes. Baking and constructing them is an art in itself. Thus you have specialist marriage cake bakers. Sweets have for centuries been the traditional items of dessert at almost all weddings in all cultures. But the oriental practices of marriage do not generally partake of cakes. They have their own brand of sweets. But now even in the east the cake is recognized as a part of marriage festivities.
Cakes have however remained a phenomenon that adorns weddings in the western world. The cake is a western fixation from very early times. The Roman period is the first instance of recorded distribution of cakes during a wedding. Historical records also mention the partaking of cakes during the Medieval and Renaissance periods.A large cake can take a long time to make. It also involves great effort. Cakes in olden times when there was no modern refrigeration, were still kept for long periods.
Bakers then used a heavy fat and sugar frosting which prevented the cake from being spoiled as exposure to moisture was curtailed. Modern cakes are prepared days ahead of the ceremony. The tiered design of the wedding cake originates from the tiered spire of a well known medieval church in London, England, called St Brides. St Brides Church is one of the most ancient churches dating back to the seventh century. Its tier originally measured 234 ft. Henry VIII (1491-1547) King of England was the first who legislated a law that specified the quantity of sugar a cake might have. His motive was ulterior as he wished to tax this conventionDuring World War II (1939-45) sugar was rationing was imposed in Great Britain. This resulted in sugar also being rationed. So wedding cakes had to do away wit icing and cakes the size of cakes was greatly reduced.
It was only at the end of the war and the Marshal plan that helped England do away wit rationing. During the war the British subjects fully cooperated with the government and started to serve cakes inside a box, which had been decorated with plaster of Paris. After the wedding ceremony the bride and groom together perform. The first cut of the cake is as a tradition done by the bride and groom together. A ceremonial knife decked with a ribbon is often used but it is not uncommon to use a sword for the same purpose. After the cake is sliced, the bride and the groom usually share the first piece. The bride and groom as per tradition usually feed each other to the accompaniment of claps and cheers. The bride and groom may also plaster the face of each other with the cake instead of eating it. This is a sign of happiness and glee.
Marriage signals the end of one facet of a bride's life and the start of another. She leaves her husbands home to enter the abode of her husband. An old tradition has the wife serving portions of the cake to her inlaws. This is symbolic of the transfer of her household bonds from her family to the grooms family. Other guests then partake of the cake and portions may be taken home. Pieces of cake could also be sent to people who could not attend the ceremony for any reason. A portion may be stored, and eaten by the couple at their first wedding anniversary, or at the christening of their first child.
The cake may be frozen and kept for this purpose. wedding cakes are no longer simple affairs. Many cakes come with a host of toppings. All these add to the sacredness of the marriage ceremony. The symbol of two figurines is used very often. These are supposed to represent good luck and happy married life for the newly weds.Wedding cake toppers are now available in a wide variety of colors, designs, and styles that will allow couples to choose any style that best represents their marriage. Cakes during a marriage ceremony add to the allure and sacredness of the ceremony. It is like a seal on the ceremony itself. One really can't have a marriage ceremony without a cake.