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Wedding Cake Traditions

Have you ever wondered where some of the Popular Wedding Cake traditions originated?  Why some couples save the top layer of their Wedding Cake, or where Grooms Cakes came from?  Well, here in Yorkshire we were a little bit curious, so we did a bit of research to bring you the origins of these sweet Wedding Cake traditions from Yorkshire, the UK and around the World….

Saving The Top Layer Of Wedding Cake

tiered wedding cakes in huddersfield

Lots of couples still freeze the top layer of their wedding cake and enjoy it together on their one-year anniversary. But couples didn’t originally save it for their anniversary – they’d save it for their first child’s christening.

Historically married couples often had children much earlier than couples do today. It certainly wasn’t unusual to have a child within the first year of marriage. And as a wedding cake grew taller, the top layer was often left over. Religious newlyweds quickly recognized the leftover wedding cake tier as a perfect dessert for the (undoubtedly upcoming) christening.  Today it is more desirable (and fun!) to choose a new and more appropriately designed Christening Cake when the time arises.

Of course, couples eventually started putting off having children, and that frozen layer only stayed edible for so long.  Of course, it was always fruit cake inside then, whereas couples now demand delicious, freshly baked tiers in a variety of flavours and fillings, so the freezing option wouldn’t really work in this day and age.  Now, the one-year mark is the more common occasion for devouring sweets, or as we have found, for the Groom to request an Anniversary Cake in the same design and flavour as the original Wedding Cake, as a romantic surprise for his new wife.

Cutting The Wedding Cake Together

wedding cakes huddersfield wedding venue

315 weddings wedding cakes huddersfield






Well, obviously you have to cut the cake to serve it, but we’re talking about the big event of cutting wedding cake. This tradition hasn’t lasted just because it’s an adorable first photo opportunity as the new Mr and Mrs!   Slicing the cake is the first task or activity the newlyweds do together, so it’s a special moment.

Historically, the cake was cut by the bride alone.  But as cakes became bigger and more intricate, it became more difficult for the bride to do it alone, so she’d enlist the help of her new husband.

Smashing Wedding Cake in each other’s faces

Not everybody is into the idea of smearing frosting all over their partner’s face, but its silly nature has kept this tradition going!  It turns out that messy food traditions have been around for years.

For example, in Yorkshire, the bride would eat a small piece of bride’s cake (which was more of a pastry than the wedding cakes in Yorkshire that we know today). Then, she would throw the rest of the cake over her head to ensure a life of wanting for nothing (and to ensure a huge mess to clean up). In even older times, the groom would break bread over the bride’s head and guests would pick up the crumbs.  Today wedding cakes in Yorkshire are thankfully respected a little more, and maybe the Bride is the main breadwinner anyway!

It’s not entirely clear how we got from picking up crumbs and throwing cake to smearing buttercream across someone’s face, but one thing’s for sure – brides and grooms have always played with their food!

Grooms Wedding Cakes

Grooms ended up getting a little jealous of the bride’s cake, so by the 17th century, the desserts were made in pairs – a bride’s wedding cake and a groom’s wedding cake, which was usually a small fruitcake. But instead of being served at the reception, the groom’s cake was cut up, packaged and given to guests as favors. So, that’s a cool idea to perhaps make the most wow-factor on your Wedding Cake Dessert Table and save the cost of these days, white icing and cake are far from required for weddings, but white was the norm for quite sometime.

White Wedding Cakes

wedding cakes yorkshire traditions

wedding cake traditions

There’s the whole white symbolizing virginity and innocence thing, but the real reason was more for practicality than tradition or symbolism. Icing is made of sugar……and sugar is white.  But as time went on, a whiter-than-white frosting became a status symbol – a more refined (and expensive) sugar resulted in a purer white.

Did you know… “Royal icing” got its name from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s cake in 1804, which was decorated in white.

Tall Spectacular Wedding Cakes

Spectacular Wedding Cakes

Amazing Wedding Cakes


While we love small wedding cakes (one or two tiers can be adorable on their own, and simply stunning as part of an Amazing Wedding Dessert Table), traditionally, wedding cakes had up to seven tiers.  We actually specialise in really Tall Wedding Cakes, they are so show-stoppingly awesome that they are amongst some of the most Amazing Wedding Cakes we have been creating over the last decade.   Incorporating dummy tiers into the design really gives an accessible option for a Spectacular Wedding Cake, and all the portions of Wedding Cake you require can be provided with separate cutting cakes iced in the same colour.

This is a tradition that probably stems from a different type of baked goods.  Apparently in medieval times, spiced buns were stacked as high as possible in a giant pile. If the newlyweds could kiss over the tower of pastries, they’d be in for a lifetime of prosperity. As wedding sweets moved from buns to cake, chances are that nobody wanted to do away with the showstopping display of dessert.


Who knew that dessert could be so symbolic?  Of course, some of the symbolism has worn off over the years, so if any of the strange origins make you uncomfortable, just rest assured that most people won’t relate the tradition to its unusual origins. And like all wedding traditions, none of these is mandatory!  Want a black wedding cake, a Designer Handbag Wedding Cake, or a Chalk and Cheese Grooms Cake representing the whole family?  Go for it!

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