If you're like most people, you might only be familiar with one wedding cake—that is, the one the bride and groom cut into on their wedding night and feed to each other as a significance of their shared love. But wedding traditions from other cultures incorporate more than just one cake. The groom's cake, which originated in Victorian England, is one such example. "As tradition has it, there were typically three cakes served during a Victorian wedding," says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. "There was the wedding cake that was served to the guests, the bride's cake, which was served to the bridesmaids, and the groom's cake, served to the groomsmen." Eventually, Southern brides and grooms in the United States adopted this tradition, making it their own. (Who could forget the armadillo-shaped groom's cake in Steel Magnolias?)
While the tradition has changed over time, the groom's cake is still alive and well. In fact, it may be becoming more popular than ever. Couples across the United States and abroad—even Prince William had one at his wedding to Kate Middleton!—are serving a second confection tailored to the groom's specific tastes. Thinking adding another cake to your party in honor of new husband? Here are some interesting facts to know about the groom's cake.
The earliest groom's cakes were actually fruitcakes.
Fruitcakes are a dark, rich cake filled with candied fruits and nuts that tend to keep well, especially with all of the liqueur used in their creation, explains Lehman. This is also why they are so popular to give as gifts during the holiday season! "Today, groom's cakes are usually made with dark chocolate and may be filled with fruits and liqueurs, however, the groom's favorite cake flavors and fillings should definitely take priority in this luscious dessert," she says.
The groom's cake is not always served at the wedding reception.
These days, especially for the less traditional couples, the groom's cake is served at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. "This is always a nice touch because it spreads the fun across your wedding weekend," says Catherine George, owner of Catherine George Cakes in Washington, D.C. She suggests leaving the cake out on display for a while before it's served.
Although designated for the groom, couples are designing the groom's cake together.
Though the cake design you select for your wedding reception will likely be fairly traditional in terms of color and decoration, the groom's cake can be a bit more lighthearted and fun. Choose the look together as a fun detail you can both have some say in. If you like a classic look, though, feel free to go for it. The groom's cake doesn't have to show off his hobbies or interests. "As couples are veering away from a traditional cake (in the last few months we have seen a cookie truck, donuts, cobbler or pie, and ice cream for dessert instead) the need for a groom cake as an expression of the groom's personality is becoming unnecessary," says Isadora Martin-Dye, a wedding planner and owner of owner of Rixey Manor.
In terms of flavor and design, there really are no limits.
"Although the Southern tradition is to make a red velvet cake, I don't believe wedding cakes in general need to have limits on flavors," says Liz Berman, Boston-based baker and owner of The Sleepy Baker in Natick, Massachusetts. The same goes for its overall look. "I had a groom joke around about how he wanted a wedding cake that was a pegasus with him riding on the back. The bride refused to allow that and ordered a traditional tiered cake, but then secretly hired me to make a groom's cake. The wedding cake was displayed next to a sculpted pegasus cake with an image of the groom riding on the back!"