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Place of origin
|England, United States|
Region or state
|Cookbook:Groom's cake Groom's cake|
A groom's cake is a wedding tradition originating in Victorian England, but observed more often in the modern age in the American South. While a wedding cake may often be decorated in white and light in texture or color, the groom's cake can take a variety of forms, many incorporating chocolate or fruit. Cheesecake sometimes serves as a groom's cake. The groom's cake is often served at a table separate from the wedding cake at a wedding reception or wedding breakfast, though it may be served as a dessert for a rehearsal dinner.
Originally, the groom's cake was a British tradition. The groom's cake was often richer than the bride's, since the addition of flavors like chocolate, fruit, and especially alcohol were better served to "the stronger sex" with the stronger stomach. During the Victorian era, the first groom’s cakes were heavy and dense fruit cakes. A characteristic recipe for the groom's fruit cake was published in the “The British Baker" in 1897. Eventually, flour cakes, either white or chocolate, supplanted fruit cakes as the most popular choice.
Groom’s cake is a tradition most popular in the southeastern United States that began during the Victorian era, inherited from Britain. By the 1890s, the groom’s cake had become a popular complement to the “lady's cake." Traditionally, the cake was cut by the bridegroom and served with wine to the bridesmaids before going to the church. Groom's cakes never became particularly popular in England, but in the Southern United States, the practice of having two separate cakes became very popular, with the bride's cake being light and the groom's being dark. Groom's cakes are traditionally served at the wedding reception but can also be served at the wedding ceremony. It is usually considered proper for the groom's cake to be served separately from the bride's. Traditionally, groom's cakes are chocolate and are often garnished with fruit. Many are decorated to reflect the groom's hobbies, such as golfing, fishing, or hunting.
By the middle of the 20th Century, a competing custom incorporating both cakes on the same table had arisen. The bride's cake would form the base, and the groom's cake would be mounted on top. The bride and groom would cut the cakes and then give pieces to each other to eat. The cakes would then be served to the guests.
One tradition was to cut a piece of the cake and put it in a small box, then present the box to an unmarried woman attending the wedding. The woman was not expected to eat the cake, but rather to put it under her pillow. Superstition held that this tradition would help an unmarried woman find a husband.
- "US-style 'groom's cake' for William and Kate". The Daily Telegraph (London). 2011-03-28.
- "What is a Groom's cake?". WeddingChannel.com. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- Charsley, Simon R. (1992). Wedding Cakes and Cultural History. London and New York: Routledge. p. 23.
- Bette, Mathew (2000). Cake. New York: Friedman/Fairfax.
- Gray, Melanie (1998-05-28). "Wedding cakes sharing space with a groom's cake". The Time Union.