Wedding Cake Portion Guide
There are two portion sizes we use as standard when referring to wedding cake servings, the first is a dessert portion of 2” x 1” x 3.5” slices, which is an ample and generous size.
Top tip: Save some pennies and think about having a two course sit down meal and then incorporating the wedding cake as your dessert.
This serving size would be perfect for this idea, especially if you serve with ice-cream, fresh cream or a fruit coulis.
If you are planning on serving the cake after a three course sit down meal, you may be happy for your guests to have smaller finger slices with their coffees, in which case a finger coffee slice of 1”x 1”x 3.5” may be the right size for your guests. You will of course, get more portions from your cake if you choose this size. Be sure to let the venue, or who ever is cutting your cake what size you have chosen for your guests.
Please note. Fruit cake portions are normally always cut into the smaller finger slices.
The below guide should give you a rough estimate of what your cake will provide, depending on what style of slice you choose.
Choosing The Right Wedding Cake For Your Big Day
Think of a wedding cake and the traditional white tiered fruitcake with a floral arrangement tends to spring to mind. This classic wedding cake style remains popular even today but increasingly, brides and grooms are thinking outside the box and choosing from the many modern styles of wedding cakes out there.
To help you decide on what style of wedding cake is for you, think about your overall setting and style of the day. For instance, a grand stately home venue is just the place to see a more traditional tiered Victorian style wedding cake, while a vintage themed event could be the ideal setting for a naked, semi naked or rustic style buttercream wedding cake.
Popular wedding themes have included modern vintage and 'shabby chic' designs. Soft colours such as pastel pinks, sage greens, and light golds are being used together with cameos, pearls, Vintage jewellery, Victoriana patterns, vintage lace and English country garden flowers all beautifully adorning the wedding cake. However more bold patterns and modern elements such as dark blues, greens and burgundies are being teamed with metallics to give striking statement pieces. Geometric patterns continue to be popular and give a really modern look to a wedding cake. Cake makers are experimenting with new mediums and wafer paper is emerging as a fantastic product to create patterns, cut-outs, lifelike flowers, feathering and really add texture to an otherwise minimalistic wedding cake.
Make sure the wedding cake makers on your shortlist specialise in the type of wedding cake you're looking for, research this important factor even before you even consider making a booking. A cake maker who makes a croquembouche tower or chocolate wedding cake, may not have the right skills to create an novelty style wedding cake. Of course, equally important is the flavour, texture and taste - make sure you get to have a taste along with seeing photographs of their work. Ask for advice, a good wedding cake designer will be able to take inspiration from your ideas, (not neccesarily replicate it) and the style of your wedding to come up with a sketch of your ideal wedding cake design.
Final point to remember- your wedding photographer will take alot of photographs in and around the wedding cake. In order to get the best from your wedding photographs consider the following at your wedding venue , a white or light coloured wedding cake may stand out better on with a darker background vs. a white painted wall. If there is a window behind the wedding cake, the lighting for the wedding photos may need to be adjusted. Also watch for unattractive elements at the wedding venue that may be in the background, such as a radiator, pipes, electric cords, toilets, fire exit signs, and other doors, etc. Generally, take a look at your reception wedding venue in advance to find the ideal place to set up the cake table.
The Curious History of Wedding Cakes
The wedding cake has a long tradition in which its history dates back to the Roman Empire. This was long before the cake was elaborately decorated with beautiful icing and bouquets.
The original wedding cake tradition was that the bride and groom would share a piece of a barley bread loaf and then the groom would break the rest over the head of the bride. The breaking of the bread was a symbol of the breaking of the bride’s virginal state and the groom’s dominance over her. Of course, this belief has long ago been lost as we moved into a more modern era of beliefs and wedding cakes.
In the era of Medieval England, cakes were often breads that were unsweetened. There are accounts of several of these cakes or sweet buns being stacked in front of the newlyweds. The couple is believed to have had to kiss over the pile of cakes in front of them. Which goes to show that wedding cupcake towers are still, very much. in keeping with history and tradition!
In the 17th century, there was a popular dish called a “Bride’s Pie” that was used in place of a cake. The pie was filled with sweet breads, mince pie or mutton pie. These pies would have a glass ring that would be hidden in the pie and the women who found it would be the next to be wed.Early cakes were simple single-tiered plum cakes, with some variations. There was also an unusual notion of sleeping with a piece of wedding cake underneath one's pillow which dates back as far as the 17th century and quite probably forms the basis for the tradition of giving cake as a gift. Legend has it that sleepers will dream of their future spouses if a piece of wedding cake is under their pillow. In the late 18th century this notion led to the curious tradition in which brides would pass tiny crumbs of wedding cake through their rings and then distribute them to guests who could, in turn, place them under their pillows. The custom was curtailed when brides began to get superstitious about taking their rings off after the ceremony.
The popularity of tiered wedding cakes came, legend has it, as a result of a baker’s apprentice in late 18th-century London. The story goes that William Rich set up as an apprentice in Ludgate hill and fell in love with his boss’s daughter. When he asked her to marry him he wanted to impress her with a large, beautiful cake and his inspiration came from the spire of St Bride’s church. However, there are no surviving records of this cake. Wedding cakes reached their high popularity point in the 1800’s in both Europe and the United States. A very famous wedding cake of this time period was that of Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter. Her cakes stood five feet high and weighed about 225 pounds. Another famous cake was that of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. Their cake stood nine feet high and weighed 500 pounds! The cake was four tiers and featured sugar replicas of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Palace and Balmoral Palace.
The multi-tiered cake was originally reserved for the English royalty. They would also use these cakes for christenings, as the wedding and christening events would take place very near each other. This fact rationalized the thought that all weddings should have three tiered cakes. The bottom tier was for the wedding reception, the second tier would be distributed amongst guests and the third tier would be for the christening. As the wedding and christening became disassociated with each other, the top tier was then saved by the bride and groom for their first anniversary. The top tier is now considered a nice reminder of their wedding day.
It was the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 that really set the fashion for weddings – the dresses and cakes both became big and white as a norm. In the minds of most people, wedding cakes are supposed to be white. The symbolism attached to the colour white, makes explaining this tradition rather simple. White has always denoted purity, and it relates to white wedding cake icing that first appeared in Victorian times. Another way in which a white wedding cake relates to the symbol of purity, has its basis in the fact that the wedding cake was originally referred to as the bride's cake. This not only highlighted the bride as the central figure of the wedding, but also created a visual link between the bride and the cake. Previous to Victorian times, most wedding cakes were also white, but not because of the symbolism. Ingredients were very difficult to come by, especially those required for icing. White icing required the use of only the finest refined sugar, so the whiter the cake, the more affluent the families appeared. A white wedding cake became an outward symbol of affluence. As time went on sugar became cheaper and it became much easier for working class families to imitate the weddings of the rich.But of course this affluence couldn’t last, and wartime rationing rather limited wedding cake options. During the Second World War there were strict rations so cakes were much smaller. The average person would have probably had some ingredients donated from friends and relations. Others used deceptive tricks so their cakes looked the part. Gravy browning made fruit cakes look richer or cardboard cakes were rented and the real, smaller cake was concealed inside.
Cake decorations also developed with the size and beauty of wedding cakes. Pillars were used in early-tiered wedding cakes as a way to support the many upper tiers. In order to keep a cake from sinking, the bakers began to harden the icing for support.
Cutting of the Cake Tradition.
Wedding cakes take centre stage in the traditional cake cutting ceremony, symbolically the first task that bride and groom perform jointly as husband and wife. This is one tradition that most of us have witnessed and wedding photographers have captured many times . The first piece of wedding cake is cut by the bride with the "help" of the groom. This task originally was delegated exclusively to the bride. It was she who cut the wedding cake for sharing with her guests. Distributing pieces of wedding cake to one's guests is a part of that tradition from the Roman Empire when guests clamored for the crumbs. But, as numbers of wedding party guests grew, so did the size of the wedding cake, making the distribution process impossible for the bride to undertake on her own. Wedding cake cutting became more difficult with early multi-tiered cakes, because the icing had to be hard enough to support the wedding cake's own weight. This made cutting the wedding cake a joint project. After the cake cutting ceremony, the couple proceed to feed one other from the first slice. This provides another lovely piece of symbolism, the mutual commitment of bride and groom to provide for one another.
As the days get shorter and the wedding season madness of 2019 draws to a close I'm thinking back to all the wedding cake creations that left my kitchen this year and I lovingly waved a fond goodbye to over the summer.
It's been a whirlwind of a wedding season here. We've made wedding cakes of all sorts of colours and styles, from bold, modern and striking, to rustic naked and semi naked wedding cakes, to the romantic and floral. In particular, however, I noticed traditional white wedding cakes came up again and again.
Shades of white for a wedding cake is so traditional, so timeless and so beautiful, maybe Meghan and Harry kicked this off when they chose a simple but stunning off white buttercream wedding cake for their wedding last year.
Anyway, I thought I'd showcase some of our white wedding cakes here.
Ten of our white wedding cakes - timeless, traditional and beautiful, to inspire and maybe give you some ideas for your big day.