Wedding cake was originally a luxury item, a sign of celebration and social status, made to bring good luck to all guests and the couple. The bigger the cake, the higher the social standing. As with most wedding traditions, everyone’s favorite part of a wedding actually has slightly superstitious beginnings.
In medieval England, bakers would stack small spiced buns as high as possible for a couple’s wedding dessert–similar to the modern French dessert croquembouche–for the newlyweds’ to kiss over. If successful, they were guaranteed a damn good life together. If they failed and the delicate tower of cream puffs came down on top of them, everyone had a good laugh but their marriage was officially fucked.
The modern wedding cake as we know it would originate at the 1882 wedding of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany; his wedding cake was the first to actually be completely edible.
Cutting the cake was an important part of the reception–told to set the tone for the union between families. Wedding cakes in England and early America were traditionally fruit cakes, often topped with marzipan and icing with tiers. White icing was also a symbol of money and social importance in Victorian times. Newlywed couples would try to keep the cake until their first anniversary to prevent them from marriage problems in the future.
Today, wedding tradition uses that same concept. Couples freeze a layer or a piece from their wedding cake to eat on their first wedding anniversary.
Long ago, I realized that I was born to make my own rules… and tradition hasn’t really been my thing (sorry, ancestors). When I met my now-husband, I knew I found someone that felt the same way.
We wanted to do things our own way by carving our own path. Together.
So, we used the bones of the tradition and made our own.
That’s what our life is all about.
In 2016, we eloped.
We still wanted a wedding cake, but not just any cake would do.
Specifically, we wanted a funfetti cake.
From Milk Bar.
In New York.
But we want to eat it in Seattle where we planned to elope.
I ordered a Milk Bar birthday cake and had it waiting for us in our hotel room after we said “I do” on the roof of the municipal court. Six inches of white sprinkled cake layered with rainbow cake crumbs, topped with vanilla frosting. It was perfect.
Our tradition? A Milk Bar funfetti birthday cake every year on our wedding anniversary.