Let Them Eat Cake

Brantford Golf Club | Brantford Wedding

Photo by Blossom Avenue

Wedding cakes are as solid and ancient a wedding tradition as veils and flowers, with roots that can be traced back to medieval times. Way, way back in the day eating grain products (the original cakes were actually breads) was considered a fertility rite, so we can see how they established themselves as a wedding tradition. The earliest wedding cakes were actually called Bride’s Cakes and were white; white being the symbol of virginity and purity. Over the centuries, wedding cakes have evolved from bland fertility symbols to stunning works of edible art.

Wedding cake design really took off in the 1800s. As with many things wedding (and Christmas for that matter) we can thank Queen Victoria. In 1871 her daughter, Princess Louise, married the Marquis of Lorne. This union caused much controversy – The groom was a commoner! Can you imagine! –  not the least of which was their crazy extravagant wedding cake. It soared over 5′ and weighed about 225 lbs. For reference: the size of both Olsen Twins.

Princess Louise | wedding cake | marriage to Marquis of Lorne

More recently, royally speaking, the wedding cake of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (you might know them as Kate and Will) was an eight-tiered traditional fruit cake decorated with cream and white icing and 900 sugar paste flowers. Created by Leicestershire baker Fiona Cairns, it stood over 3 feet tall and weighed over 200 lbs.

William & Catherine | Wedding Cake | Fiona Cairns

The Wedding Cake of Prince William & Catherine Middleton

Probably you have something more modest in mind. So what should you expect of the wedding cake design process? A talented cake designer will meet with you, learn about your style, your colour palette, and, of course, your budget. Designers can take inspiration from the details of a wedding dress, your florals, or your favourite hobbies. I did a wedding last year where the cake designer, Deena Delaney of Sugar Garden, created this cake that reflected the bride and groom’s love of hiking. While not to everyone’s aesthetic sensibility, this cake acknowledges the bride and groom’s interests in a fun and unique way. They were thrilled. And the cake was delicious!

Deena Delaney | Barrie Wedding Cakes

And this is an important point: your wedding cake should not just be beautiful, it must also be delicious. I remember talking to a well known cake designer at one of the high-end bridal shows a few years ago. I commented on her stunning and original cake designs. She was happy for the compliment but confessed she really didn’t enjoy the cake baking aspect of her work. (Coincidentally she was one of the few bakers not offering samples of her work.)  I’ve never recommended that designer to anyone. Happily, I believe she is the exception. Most designers put their heart and soul into both the look and the taste of their creations. Toronto is blessed with some amazing cake designers. Many are – no surprise – graduates of Bonnie Gordon College. This internationally acclaimed institution has produced some of the most outstanding cake designers in Toronto, many of whom are truly creators of edible works of art. If your cake designer is a BGC grad you’re in very good hands.

Cake design can run the style gamut from sweet and simple to multi-tiered extravaganza. Such cakes were once the exclusive realm of royalty, but now anyone with the budget can create a custom cake of stunning beauty. Check out this masterpiece from Bobbette & Belle, one of Toronto’s best designers:

Bobbette & Belle | Toronto Wedding Cakes

Marie Antoinette declared, “Let them eat cake” – and promptly lost her head. But there’s no reason for you to lose your heads over the design of your wedding cake. I can recommend many cake designers who will create a delicious and beautiful tribute to you and your beloved for your wedding celebration. From sweet and simple to architectural wonder, the wedding cake is one ancient tradition that deserves a place of prominence on your wedding day. 


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