During the 16th century to the 17th century, the “bride’s pie” was served at most weddings. Different from the modern sweet wedding cake, bride pie is savoury. Bride pie is a pie with pastry crust and filled an assortment of oysters, lamb testicles, pine kernels, cocks’ combs from Robert May’s 1685 recipe. For May’s recipe, there is a compartment of bride pie which filled with live birds or a snake for the guests to pass way the time in a wedding when they cut up the pie at the table. Guests were expected to have a piece out of politeness. It was considered very rude and bad luck not to eat the bride’s pie. One tradition of bride’s pie was to place a glass ring in the middle of the dessert and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry, similar to the modern tradition of catching the Flower bouquet.
In the 17th century, two cakes were made, one for the bride and one for the groom. The groom’s cake would die out and the bride’s cake become the main cake for the event. When the two cakes were served together, the groom’s cake was typically the darker colored, rich fruit cake and generally much smaller than the bride’s cake. The bride’s cake was usually a simple pound cake with white icing because white was a sign of virginity and purity.
Wedding cake was originally a luxury item, and a sign of celebration and social status. The bigger the cake, the higher the social standing. Wedding cakes in England and early America were traditionally fruit cakes, often topped with marzipan and icing with tiers, Cutting the cake was an important part of the reception. White icing was also a symbol of money and social importance in Victorian times, so a white cake was highly desired. Today, many flavors and configurations are available in addition to the traditional all-white tiered cake.
In Medieval England cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over. A successful kiss meant they were guaranteed a prosperous life together. From this the Croquembouche was created. The myth behind this cake tells of a Pastry chef, visiting Medieval England who witnessed their tradition of piling sweet rolls between the bride and groom, which they attempted to kiss over without knocking them all down. The pastry chef then went back to France and piled sweet rolls up into a tower to make the first Croquembouche. The modern croquembouche is still very popular in France, where it is now common to place the croquembouche tower on a bed of cake and make it a top tier. This traditional French wedding cake is built from Profiteroles and given a halo of spun sugar.
In 1703, Thomas Rich, a baker’s apprentice from Ludgate Hill, fell in love with his employer’s daughter and asked her to marry him. He wanted to make an extravagant cake, so he drew on St Bride’s Church, on Fleet Street in London for inspiration.
Traditionally the bride would place a ring inside the couple’s portion of the cake to symbolise acceptance of the proposal. Bride’s pie would evolve into the bride’s cake. At this point the dessert was no longer in the form of a pie and was sweeter than its predecessor. The bride cake was traditionally a plum or fruit cake. In mid-18th century, double icing, which means covering the cake first with almond icing and then with the kind of white icing, was used in bride cake. White-iced upper surface of the bride cake was used as a platform on which all sorts of scenes and emblems could be mounted. The decoration was appeared, they were often at least partially three-dimensional, were colourful. However, since some decoration were made in a variety of substances, sometimes the decoration or even parts of wedding cake were inedible. In The myth that eating the pie would bring good luck was still common but the glass ring slowly died out and the flower bouquet toss replaced it.