An old tradition for modern weddings
If you’ve attended weddings recently were there was not one but two cakes, you may have enjoyed what appears to be a charming new tradition: the groom’s cake. The fact is, the groom’s cake isn’t new at all. With origins in the 17th century, the groom’s cake is really a very old wedding tradition, somehow lost and now rediscovered for the most elegant wedding receptions.
The history of the groom’s cake is as varied as its flavors and shapes. Some sources say it originally was a rich, dark fruit cake without icing; some say it was a fruit cake with white icing to match the bride’s cake which was decorated with spun sugar.
Still others take the lore a step further and say the groom’s cake became the top layer of the bride’s cake and was not served to guests. Instead, it was placed in a tin and drenched in brandy to preserve it for celebration of the couple’s first anniversary.
Many know the groom’s cake as the confection that was wrapped in individual, silver or white boxes monogrammed with the couple’s initials and tied with fancy ribbons. These dainty packages were distributed to guests as wedding favors to take home.
In the South, the groom’s cake tradition has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years, especially with single, female guests. Legend has it that if they take a slice of the groom’s cake and place it beneath their pillows at bedtime, they will dream of their future husbands.
Today, remnants of these various traditions remain or have evolved into other wedding customs. For instance, couples still reserve the top layer of the wedding cake for their first anniversary, but it no longer needs to be preserved in brandy. And although the Southern groom’s cake customarily was a dark fruit cake, it now comes in any flavor, shape or color.
Many couples are designing groom’s cakes baked and iced to reflect the groom’s hobbies or interests. Original and engaging, grooms cakes have resembled the groom’s antique car or cowboy boots, while others in traditional cake shapes have sported hunting scenes or his favorite hole on the golf course.
In the past, groom’s cakes, which were separate from the bride’s cakes, were either cut and wrapped to be eaten after the reception, or they were served from another table for those guests who preferred a darker, richer cake.
Today, the groom’s cake is still sliced and served separately, usually by a member of the wait staff. Some couples prefer to offer the groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner, a fitting time since the groom’s family hosts the occasion.
Whatever time or theme you choose for the groom’s cake, it is a charming tradition that adds a distinctive, personal touch to your wedding festivities while honoring the man you just married.