The multi-tiered wedding cake is not part of the ancient cultural heritage
of eastern Europe.
The book, Wedding Cakes and Cultural History, by Simon R. Charsley and
William Woys Weaver goes into great detail on the history of the modern
wedding cake and its origins in England less than 150 years ago.
From Publisher's Weekly:
The earliest recipe recorded from Britain for a dish specifically for a
wedding is in fact a pie, writes Charsley, an anthropologist at the
University of Glasgow.
The wedding cake as we know it today--with its successively smaller layers,
supporting pillars, fancy frosting and festoons--had its origins some
hundred years later, in a confection that commemorated the marriage of one
of Queen Victoria's daughters in 1859.
Even then, a few refinements were missing: only the base tier was actually
cake (the rest were pure sugar), and the layers were stacked like hat boxes.
It would take the wedding of Prince Leopold in 1882 before guests could
enjoy an entirely "cake" wedding cake, and another 20 years before the
tiers were separated by columns (usually disguised pieces of a broom handle).
There are many shrewd observations here, particularly those that link the
evolving elaborateness of the wedding cakes to the growing commercialization
of private ceremonies (most Victorian amateur bakers lacked the engineering
skill to keep the higher layers from sinking into the lower ones).
Charsley is also enlightening on the way the ritual of cake-cutting reflects
the changing role of women in marriage.
But general readers should be warned: Wedding Cakes is not a novelty item
or gift book.
Although Charsley's writing is relatively free of jargon,
his book is clearly aimed at an academic audience; there is thorough
documentation of such minutiae as flour proportion and the development of
icing, and even the most intellectually inclined gourmands may quickly find
that they have bitten off more than they can--or care to--chew.
Still hungry to learn more about wedding cakes? Visit Schroeder's
Wedding Cake site that features a cake of the week photo.
Lovin' Oven, wedding
and grooms cakes are their specialty.
Wedding Cakes and Consulting offers custom-design cakes for weddings and
special occasions in the Canadian Rocky Mountain region.
Sweet Flours has refreshingly
different wedding cakes, petit four and desserts.
Nelson Glass for handblown glass
wedding caketops and wedding accesories including personalized cake tops.
The Wedding Cake Book
by Dede Wilson is a one-of-a-kind resource presents an idea book that shows
readers how to bake a beautiful wedding cake. Thirty complete recipes
are featured, with detailed, step-by-step instructions. 30 color photos.
192 pp. 15,000 print. This is the best selling wedding
cake book right now.
The wedding market is a $32 billion business. Experts say that brides-to-be
generally buy every book and magazine they can get their hands on when
planning a wedding, and yet, remarkably, The Wedding Cake Book is the first
cookbook of its kind a gorgeous idea book that really shows you how to bake
a beautiful wedding cake.
There are 30 complete recipes in all, with detailed, step-by-step
instructions. A one-of-a-kind resource, with gorgeous photography throughout,
The Wedding Cake Book is sure to become a classic cookbook among bakers,
and makes the perfect shower gift. Dede Wilson has worked as a pastry chef,
recipe developer, product demonstrator/cooking teacher, and caterer. She
writes food features and cookbook reviews for numerous publications.
A professional wedding cake baker and member of the IACP, Dede lives in
Bride's Little Book of Cakes & Toasts
by the Editors of Brides Magazine is a lovely book that will charm readers
with beautiful pictures of wedding cakes of every description, from stately
to whimsical, along with a taste of cake lore, advice on making a proper
toast, recipes for a perfect cake and a perfect punch, and even ideas for
decorating the cake knife. 30 full-color photographs.
If you are the do-it-yourself type, try
Exciting Designs with Full Step-by-Step Instructions
by Sylvia Coward and published by Sterling Publishing Company, Incorporated.
Say It With Candles has eight inch tapered
candles individually wrapped with personalized transparent labels.
Your family and guests will treasure these unique wedding favors for years
VSE Associates Wedding Favors
has over 100 great ideas in their wedding favors guide.