Are you looking for something a bit different, here’s my guide to Wedding Cake Alternatives and busting through the traditions.
Has your wedding prep become a list of ‘shoulds’? Is it stressing you out, because actually half of it you don’t really want? You’ve heard you should have a wedding cake. It should be tiered, white, have flowers and maybe a bit of fruit cake. Why? Because tradition says so. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s just not true!!
Why do we even have a Wedding Cake?
Why are Wedding Cakes even a thing? It appears they may date back to the Romans – yes, I know, ‘what have the Romans ever done for us?’ – wedding cakes, they’ve done wedding cakes.
Roman Wedding Cakes weren’t what we would have called cake. They were probably more like dense bread rolls or loaves. They were broken over the heads of the bride and groom to symbolise good fortune and the blessing of many children. Guests would pick up the crumbs, so they could share in the good fortune.
Medieval Brides, apparently had similar cake (bread rolls) thrown at them, also to symbolise fertility and prosperity. How about that – celebrate your marriage by being pelted with bread? There are also stories that the breads, along with scones and biscuits were piled high, and if the bride and groom managed to have a kiss over the top of it without knocking it over would have, you guessed it, good luck and loads of kids.
I’ve done a little online research for this post, and from what I’ve found the first Brides Pye was recorded in 1685 and was a traditional pastry crust filled things like oysters, lamb testicles, throat, rooster comb, and pine kernels – mmmmm, tasty.
The 17th Century saw the cakes becoming a little sweeter, with 2 cakes, one for each the Bride and Groom, but it was Queen Victoria that revolutionised things and had a cake that we would begin to recognise today. A large fruit cake, covered in crisp white icing, and topped with a little scene – ring any bells?
The Victorians are responsible for so many of the modern day wedding traditions. Queen Victoria wore a big white dress and a veil (and was even buried in her veil). Prince Albert wore a frock coat, they had bridesmaids, they even introduced the idea of the engagement ring.
The Victorians often had 3 cakes. One was cut with guests taking slices home in little boxes – sounds familiar. But interestingly the brides cake was kept, untouched and saved for their….wait for it…..25th wedding anniversary!!
But what about the modern day traditions, of which there seems to be many? For example the couple cutting the cake to show their commitment to each other, feeding each other cake to symbolise the first meal they feed each other, the bride feeding the groom to represent the loss of her virginity, keeping the top tier for the christening of their first born……and on and on and on.
Now don’t get me wrong, some people love a tradition. I do! I was married 25 years ago (and no I don’t have any cake left), in a very non-traditional wedding. But there were still a few traditions we did keep, for example, I wear a ring, I had a bouquet, we had a cake. But I didn’t wear white, we didn’t feed each other cake, I didn’t throw my bouquet and he doesn’t wear a ring.
Traditions are great, but what if they just don’t speak to you? What if you see your wedding as a great way to celebrate your marriage ahead? What if it’s a great big party, and of course no party is complete without cake? Well it’s your wedding, you are organising the party, so you do exactly what you want! And here are a few of my suggestions for Wedding Cake Alternatives.
Still Cake but…..
You still want a cake, but you don’t want a white tower covered in flowers. Fine, how about something coloured, textured, sculpted, or themed to you and your lives together. Ingredients and food technology have come a long way since the Victorians, which means the styles, flavours and structure of your cake can be as versatile and individual as you. You can still do the ‘cutting the cake’ thing if you want, but your cake just looks a little bit different.
Dessert Tables and other baked things
Again, its still cake based, just not a cake. It may be that you just can’t decide what sweet treat to have so have them all. Dessert tables can be formal or not. They can be based on colour themes, and they can have ALL your favourites from cake pops, to cupcakes, to layer cakes and beyond.
Or maybe you are a Millionaire Shortbread addict so have plates and plates of that. Maybe a Brownie Tower? A Fondant Fancy Tower? A donut wall? Whatever is your favourite, have it and have enough to share!
Afternoon Tea Favourites
Like a dessert table, but for those who love the idea of people just digging in and helping themselves. Maybe your party is more informal, and you just want everyone to feel comfortable and chilled. Your guests decide how big a slice of cake they want, or even how many different slices they want to try. It’s just lots of different cake and lots of choice, and everyone helps themselves.
There are so many options here! What’s great about this is you can really incorporate it into your menu, possibly even subbing out a sit down dessert.
How about a Macaron Tower? A traditional Croquembouche or a less traditional croquembouche? A cheesecake tower or lots of jars of individual cheesecakes? A spread of different patisserie? Jellies? Cake Pops? Really the list is endless.
Now this one is slightly out there but bear with me. I once gave advice to someone who was a guest at a wedding and who was making the cake. She’d never made a cake before, so you can only imagine my horror.
After a little more digging, it turned out the couple had issued a challenge to all guests to make a wedding cake if they wanted too. The couple would then judge them all and choose their favourites. All the entries were then sliced and eaten for the party. It was a genius idea, and the lady in question then came back and told me she had won!!!
Not all cake ideas have to be sweet. It might be that you just don’t have a sweet tooth. There are so many other options available now such as Cheese Towers and Pork Pie Towers (even the GBBO did those). It really is a case of choosing your favourite treat and making it work for you. Savoury Wedding Cake Alternatives are a great way to bust even the most traditional traditions.
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought, and that you can find your perfect Wedding Cake Alternatives. I specialise in cakes that are slightly different so if you need any advice just get in touch.
Bronya at DCC is part of Daisy Cake Company