One of the most important decisions to some is the wedding cake, so many flavours, styles, tiers, and decorations. The traditional or something different? Cupcakes or Profiteroles? The list goes on.
As much as we can be very adventurous with our wedding cake designs the traditional tiered wedding cake is a timeless classic and carries some history. Typically, a fruit cake covered in marzipan and royal icing not to everyone’s tastes but offers longevity, the tradition being seen more nowadays is couples choosing tiers of sponge cake with the smallest tier being fruit so they can keep it.
Why traditionally three tiers? History has shown that the three-tier wedding cake was important, the bottom tier was to be enjoyed with the wedding guests, the middle to be sent to guests who could not make it and the small to be kept by the couple, the smallest tier used to be saved for the christening of the first child and needed to last, hence why it was always fruit cake.
The traditional wedding cake is steeped in history! It’s believed that the first ‘wedding cakes’ date back to Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, where a cake of barley or wheat was broken over the bride’s head, in the belief it would bring the couple good fortune in their married life. Fortunately, we have seen this tradition disappear over the years.
The layers of the wedding cake started to increase to show the couples social standing. Iced in pure white was also becoming popular, to match the wedding dress, it showed money and importance. Nowadays the reasons behind you have so many tiers does not matter.
Royal icing gained its name after Queen Victoria’s wedding cake which was pure white. In medieval times the cake would be stacked as high as possible, and if the couple managed to kiss over it, they were destined to have a successful union, one of many theories surrounding the traditional cake and its tiers.
The most known reason we have tiered cakes with so many is due to a baker in the 1700’s who wanted to create a truly special wedding cake and was inspired by the distinctive shape of St Bride’s Church in London – leading to the tiered shape we know so well today.