by Samuel Abdullah
It sounds rather odd, doesn't it? Traditionally, we all know that weddings must have the requisite wedding cake, the higher-tiered the better. So what is a groom cake? And why isn't there a bride cake, as well?
Actually, there is a cake for the bride, it's the aforementioned requisite wedding cake with the many tiers. The groom cake is a darker cake, cut during the reception and packaged as smaller individual pieces for the unmarried ladies in attendance to take home. Tradition has it that these women will place a piece of the cake under their pillows to dream of their true love. The cake was originally made of fruit, nuts and honey, like a fruitcake, and hard enough to leave under your pillow without staining the bedsheet with frosting. Perhaps these women eventually realized that the dream-inducing cakes were unreliable and the groom cake later functioned as part of the dining menu, cut during the reception, but passed around the guests with a glass of champagne for toasting the couple.
So what was the bride's cake for then? Well, again according to tradition, the bridal cake was to be broken over the heads of the couple, so another cake had to be available for the guests, who are quite unwilling to pick bits of cake from a bride's head. As this particular tradition fortunately evolved into slicing the cake, the groom cake became unnecessary, especially for couples who are trying to save on wedding expenses, and the bridal cake became today's wedding cake. At some point, if you notice, it became the standard for wedding cakes to be fruitcake under the white fondant, in a merging of all these different traditions.
Recently, groom cakes have made a comeback. Brides have taken to ordering groom cakes as a surprise for their husbands. These cakes are usually specially designed to represent the grooms, what they are like, or even what the brides love about them. Some cakes have these symbolic designs placed as toppings on the cake, a model airplane perhaps for the pilot, or a sugar drumset for the musician, or the cake can be shaped and designed accordingly, into a sportscar or a golf course. Or the cake can also appear in its original form, being the cake your new husband makes you go out with him at 3 in the morning to satisfy a craving.
Groom cakes can be served at the bachelor party (and suddenly, other designs come to mind), the rehearsal dinner, or at the wedding reception itself, sitting beside the wedding cake and providing an alternative dessert. It celebrates the groom, and, why not? After all, it's his day, too.
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© 2007 Samuel Abdullah - All Rights Reserved Worldwide.