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History of the Groom's Cake

Get the story behind this wedding dessert tradition, and learn the proper way for serving it on your big day.
Martha Stewart Weddings

The tradition of the groom's cake can be traced back to the Victorian era in England, when, in addition to the main wedding cake, there was also a groom's cake and a smaller bride's cake. At the end of the wedding, the two cakes were sliced and served to the groomsmen and bridesmaids.

The groom's cake eventually made its way to the United States, and its popularity has endured, especially in the South. Many brides find the groom's cake appealing because it's a way to give the groom special recognition on a day when most of the attention seems to center on the bride.

Today, groom's cakes are usually made of dark chocolate and often contain fruit and liqueur. The earliest groom's cakes, however, were fruitcakes, perhaps harkening back to the time when the typical wedding cake was also a fruitcake. When processed flour and baking soda were introduced in the eighteenth century, the wedding cake as we know it came into existence.

Traditionally, the groom's cake is not served at the wedding. If you are not serving any desserts other than wedding cake, however, you might break with tradition and serve the groom's cake to all your guests after the wedding cake is served. Perhaps more typically, individual slices are boxed up before the wedding and given to the unmarried women at the reception. Legend has it that if an unmarried woman sleeps with a slice of the groom's cake under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband.