As Far Back as 1685
A cookbook dated 1685 had the very first wedding dessert recipe. It was not a cake, it was an elaborately decorated pie. The pie filling was made with a variety of savoury meats, spices and offal. Some traditions included hiding a ring in the pie so that the woman who found the ring would be the next to marry.
The history of wedding cakes dates back to ancient Rome. It was a tradition at that time, upon the conclusion of the wedding, for the groom to break bread over the bride’s head, which symbolized fertility. The wedding guests would then rush to pick up some of the crumbs to take home for good luck.
A tradition in medieval England was to have a tall wedding cake made of spiced buns. The bride and groom would then attempt to kiss over the tower of spiced buns without knocking over the pile. If they were successful, the tradition would then be that they would live a life of prosperity.
Wedding Confection Superstitions
As mentioned above, an English wedding confection superstition was that the woman who found the ring in the pie would be the next to marry. Other superstitions include :
- Sharing the wedding cake with guests would provide the bride and groom with fruitfulness and prosperity.
- It is bad luck for the bride to bake her own cake.
- If a bride tastes the cake before the wedding, the superstition is that she would lose her husband’s love.
- To ensure the happy couple will be blessed with children, every guest at the wedding must eat some of the cake.
Middle of the 16th Century
Wedding cakes became more popular than pies by the middle of the 16th century. This was because sugar became widely available. White sugar was the most prestigious commodity in Britain.