There are various accounts of where the tradition of wedding cake began. Some believe it stems from ancient Roman times when a loaf of bread or biscuit was broken over the bride’s head as a symbol of good fortune. Guests would then pick up and eat the broken crumbs for good luck. Others believe the tradition finds its roots in the sixteenth century as a more festive alternative to the bread that was blessed and passed out at Sunday mass.
In either case, the beginnings are a lot humbler than the elaborate and artistic wedding cakes we see today. With the discovery of royal icing in the fifteenth century and the development of fondant in the nineteenth century, bakers were able to create increasingly intricate decorations to adorn wedding cakes. This led to highly developed techniques, rich detail and prestigious craftsmanship becoming synonymous with wedding cake design.
As with all other aspects of a wedding, various incarnations of the wedding cake have fallen in and out of fashion, but all are decadent and beautiful, befitting such a special occasion.
Sugar Cakes by Linda Knop
Linda Knop, a leading authority in South Africa’s wedding cake industry, and long-time customer of CAB Foods, believes a wedding cake should always be romantic and stylish with something unique and beautiful in each design. Linda creates lifelike sugar craft flowers from scratch in her studio, as well as intricate figurines and sculpture cakes according to the bride’s chosen theme. She participates in more than ten international cake collaborations each year and has featured in more than 40 local and international magazines. No wonder the brides queue up to have one of Linda’s creations at their wedding.
According to Linda, modern wedding cakes are colourful, creative and quirky. She likes adding bold coloured flowers to her designs as this creates a strong focal point. Base relief work, i.e. gorgeous embossed detail on the body of the cake, and waiflike flowers made from rice paper are currently all the rage among fashionable brides.
Lucky for us Linda is not sparse with sharing her expert skills. You can attend beginner or advanced classes at her Sugar Cakes studio in Durbanville to learn the various flower making and decorating techniques she uses to achieve her famous wedding, novelty and celebration cakes.
We’re very proud to say that Linda uses CAB Foods products in all her classes, as well as to create the cakes that have made her a celebrity in the world of baking and sugar craft.
Learn more about Linda and Sugar Cakes Studios by visiting Sugarcakes.co.za.
Fun wedding cake facts
Queen Victoria was one of the first brides to have a wedding cake completely decorated in white icing. At the time rations were put in place to monitor food supplies, so white sugar was a scarce thing to come by, hence the prestige. The cake was so impressive and famous that the icing used is now known as royal icing.
Unmarried women attending a wedding are often encouraged to take a piece of wedding cake home and sleep with it under their pillow. The belief is that they will dream of their future partner.
Cake topper, like the famous little bride and groom featured on wedding cakes, only became popular in the fifties.
The most expensive wedding cake on record was worth over $30 million It was made for Devorah Rose by Buddy Valastro, better known as the Cake Boss, and featured various precious gemstones and diamonds.
The now commonplace multi-tiered wedding cake was first made by a London based baker’s apprentice who fell in love with his boss’ daughter. When she agreed to marry him, he was so thrilled that he baked her a cake inspired by St. Brides Church and its tiered white tower.
Want to try your hand at decorating a wedding cake? Stock up on all the equipment, icing, fondants and specialist tools you’ll need at any CAB Foods store, or shop online and we’ll deliver straight to your door.