❦ The Wedding Cake ❦

The history of the wedding cake dates back to the Roman Empire when wedding ceremonies were completed by breaking a cake of wheat or barley over the bride's head as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity. The crumbs from the wedding cake that landed on the floor symbolized good luck and fertility for the bride and groom, and it was considered good luck for guests to eat the crumbs -- single women would scramble for them to ensure their own betrothals. After the cakes were used up, guests were given handfuls of confetti -- then a mixture of nuts, dried fruit, and honeyed almonds. These sweetmeats that were showered over the bride and groom were an essential part of the wedding banquet and continued to be so for hundreds of years. Eventually, the sweetmeats were replaced with rice, flower petals, and colored paper -- today's confetti. During the Middle Ages, bridal pies were biscuits or scones. In the seventeenth century the bride pie developed into bride cake, the forerunner of the modern-day wedding cake. Some superstitions follow: Sharing the cake with family and friends increases fertility and propserity; the bride who bakes her own cake is asking for trouble; a taste of the cake before the wedding means loss of the husband's love, while a piece of cake kept after the big day ensures his fidelity; and the newlyweds must cut the first slice together to ensure a passionate love life. And finally, every guest must eat a small piece of the cake to ensure that the happy couple will be blessed with children. Today wedding cakes have undergone a major transformation -- they are elaborate affairs, prepared in intricate and artistic designs, and are the center of attention at wedding ceremonies.