Throw It At the Bride: A History of the Wedding Cake

published Apr 25, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Did you know the first wedding cakes were thrown at brides to ensure fertility? They were then piled up with other baked goods in a mound over which the bride and groom tried to kiss. If they did it without upsetting the pile, they were guaranteed a prosperous life.

From mutton pies to cardboard cake decoys, read on for more strange moments in the history of the wedding cake.

The evolution of a loose pile of baked goods to the multi-tiered cakes of today began when a French chef visiting England in the 1600s was shocked by the messy cake mound and recommended using broom handles to create a more stable system.

Weddings of that time also included “bride pies,” mincemeat or mutton pies baked around a glass ring that, if found by a single woman, predicted the eater’s imminent marriage, a more hazardous version of today’s bouquet-throwing practice. (Although anyone who has ever been elbowed in the face while reaching for the tossed bouquet might disagree with the “more hazardous” part.)

A century after the opulent wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert made elaborate cakes the norm, the rationing of World War Two downsized wedding cakes to the point that some couples rented large cardboard cakes for display, tucking the real, smaller cake inside — a good strategy to remember if you have your heart set on Will and Kate’s royal wedding cake.

What is the most unusual wedding cake you’ve ever seen?

Related: You Can Make a Wedding Cake!