Wedding Cake Traditions Around the World
In the United States, wedding cakes are the traditional dessert served at many weddings and receptions. Comprised of multi-layered cakes covered in white frosting, wedding cakes are the norm for many couples; however, outside of the United States, there many other options for wedding desserts. As couples search for more ways to make every aspect of their wedding celebration meaningful, some are turning to their families’ cultures and customs to find a wedding cake that’s from another world.
In Great Britain, for instance, wedding guests are treated to an elaborate fruitcake. The cake is filled with items such as dates, raisins, and prunes and soaked with brandy or cognac. Then, it is covered with marzipan, iced and decorated. On the outside, a traditional British wedding cake may not look unlike a wedding cake from the United States, but it has a totally different taste.
The traditional wedding cake from the Caribbean isles is also a fruitcake. Often soaked with rum or wine and stuffed with dried fruits, the cakes from these exotic islands are kept hidden at the reception. A white tablecloth is laid over the cake; guests, then, give the happy couple money to buy a chance to get a glimpse of the cake. Even family members who aren’t in attendance at the wedding get to share in this dessert as pieces of the cake are mailed to family members and friends.
Japanese wedding cakes, on the other hand, are actually an elaborate show rather than a dessert. Since multi-layered cakes are too expensive for many Japanese families to purchase, large plastic or wax cakes are created prior to the wedding reception. These “faux” cakes stand in for a traditional cake during the bride and groom’s cake-cutting ceremony. They even feature a special slot for the happy couple to pretend to cut into when the “cut” the cake. More affordable sheet cakes are kept out of sight for cutting and serving to the guests.
Traditional wedding cakes from Iceland share the same layered shape of the wedding cakes from the United States, but their appearance is very different. Kransekake, or ring cake, is made up of a series of ring-shaped cakes stacked on top of each other. These almond-flavored rings are often decorated with marzipan. The hollow center of the stack is sometimes filled with candies, chocolates, or even a bottle of wine.
Finally, some wedding cakes aren’t cakes at all. In the Ukraine region of the world, weddings are celebrated with a bread-like dessert known as Korovai. This traditional bread, decorated with symbols representing the joining together of two families, is considered a sacred part of the Ukrainian wedding ceremony.
Whatever type of culture there is in a family’s history, the decision to honor that culture can add a great deal of meaning to a wedding celebration. Brides and grooms who select a traditional wedding cake from their family’s culture pay homage to their pasts while the get read to embark on their futures.