Informative Speech - History Of The Wedding Cake
Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about the history and development of the modern wedding cake.
Central Idea: Our decadent, modern wedding cake took centuries to evolve from its humble beginnings as rough breads.
I. The origins of today’s wedding cake can be traced back to ancient Roman
II. With the Roman conquests, the Roman wedding traditions were carried to
III. During the 1660’s, a French chef visiting England was introduced to the
English wedding custom and changed it forever.
IV. In Victorian England, the wedding cake made its most dramatic
transformation into the cake we know today.
V. Over the past 150 years, the wedding cake continued to evolve.
VI. In my experience as a wedding cake designer, I have been asked to
create many special and unique designs.
(Transition: Let us begin the evolution of the wedding cake with the Roman traditions.)
I. As I mentioned, the wedding cakes origins have been traced to ancient
A. It was customary for guest to bake round breads and bring them to
1. These breads were very course and dry.
2. They were baked from wheat for their symbolism, not their
B. These breads were then broken over the bride’s heads.
1. The wheat of the bread symbolized fertility.
2. The act of breaking the bread over the bride’s head was to
II. The Roman tradition was carried to England with the Roman conquests.
A. The tradition was then adapted by the Normans and Saxons.
B. The Normans began stacking the breads.
1. The Norman custom evolved in the belief that the stack not
only symbolized fertility but prosperity as well.
2. The bride and groom were then expected to kiss over the
a. If they successfully kissed without knocking over the
tower of breads, their marriage would be prosperous.
b. Very few brides and grooms were successful.
C. The Normans and Saxons also made the breads more cake like
with the additions of sweet dried fruits, sugars, eggs, and alcohol.
III. In the 1660’s, during the reign of King Charles II, a French chef visiting
England attended a wedding ceremony.
A. He was appalled at the haphazard way the cakes were stacked.
B. The chef thought that the brides and grooms would be much more
successful in their attempt to kiss over the tower of cakes if they
C. This unknown chef is credited with introducing icing to the wedding
IV. During Queen Victoria’s reign of England the wedding cake underwent it’s
A. During the Victorian Era, there was an emphasis on purity and
1. The transformation of the wedding cake reflected these
a. The cakes were now iced completely in white to
b. In the United States, the modern white cake made it’s
B. With the marriage of her eldest daughter, Queen Victoria
commissioned a chef to create a magnificent, towering, and
1. This confection is regarded as the first modern wedding
2. The wedding cake was the first to be elaborately decorated with icing and fresh flowers.
3. Brides all over the world were awestruck with this confection and began adapting what they could from it to their own wedding cakes.
V. During the last 150 years, the wedding cake took on new tastes, decorations, and shapes.
A. The taste of the wedding cake began to take center stage as it
became customary for the cake to be the only dessert served at
1. The cake had traditionally been a heavy fruit cake.
a. Many brides getting married in summer months did
not want to serve what was considered a winter
b. Pastry chefs began developing recipes from
traditional pound cake recipes for lighter, sweeter
B. The most revered decorations were done in what is today called the
1. This method uses layer upon layer of piped designs in
C. In the United States, buttercream icing became very popular.
1. It became common practice to replace fresh...
Bibliography: Charsley, Simon R. “The Rise of the British Wedding Cake.” Natural History Dec.
1993: n. pag. Online. EBSCO Host Research Databases. 16 Oct. 2002.
Wilson, Bee. “Cake Talk.” New Statesman 26 Jul. 1999. Online. EBSCO Host
Research Databases. 16 Oct. 2002.
Charsley, Simon R. Wedding Cakes and Cultural History. London: Routledge, 1992.
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