It seems like cakes have always been extreme. No child asks for a simple chocolate cake with sprinkles anymore for their birthday. Instead, cakes are elaborate, whimsical and downright amazing at times. The art of cake decorating has much humbler beginnings though.
Take a brief walk through history with these cake decorating historical facts.
The Romans were the first to introduce a special cake tradition at weddings. Foods such as fruit and nuts were often considered foods that would please the gods and this is what wedding cakes were first made from. The cakes were crumbled over the bride’s head in an effort to please the gods so that they would bless the bride with abundance.
Julius Caesar introduced this tradition to England in 54 BC. The tradition was strongly followed by members of all classes, except that if a cake was too expensive for a family, pieces of wheat or corn would be used to bless the bride instead. This tradition eventually turned into the throwing of rice that is more common today.
Tall Wedding Cakes
Want to know where the idea of a tall wedding cake came from? Ideally, small cakes, similar to a bun, were made for weddings. The buns were either consumed, given to the poor or crumbled over the bride. The remaining buns were stacked in a tower and the bride and groom were encouraged to kiss over this tower of cake. Eventually, the tower of buns became one cake, giving us the familiar shape that we have today.
If a cake made from nuts and fruit being crumbled over your head doesn’t sound appealing, you aren’t the only one. Eventually, people wanted more out of their cakes. Molded almond paste decorations began showing up in England during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Sugar sculpting became popular during the seventeenth century in Italy. Chefs were always looking for a new way to work with sugar or shape it to impress royalty. The Experienced English Housekeeper, a book printed in 1769, is the first document that suggests that commoners were also experimenting with modern cake decorations. Recipes for cake, marzipan and icing were included in the book.
As techniques became more readily available and materials became more affordable, the average housewife became interested in cake decorating. Once shows like Ace of Cakes became popular, there was no turning back. The world was hooked on cake decorating. The wedding cake is almost more important than the choice of food or the bride’s dress.
A birthday cake is now one of the first items that a guest looks for at a party. If there’s a reason for cake, you can believe that it will be unique and fabulous.
If you want to get more involved with the art of cake decorating, Wilton Products are the perfect way to start learning. They have products that will take you from novice right through to expert with their cupcake decorating tip sets. Wilton Products have lots of tools, tips and techniques to get you decorating cakes like a pro in no time. And ‘kids in the kitchen’ time is lots of fun decorating the wonderful cakes they have just baked.