6 Royal Wedding Cake Traditions You're Going To Want To Borrow
As soon as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially announced their engagement, many of us had the same two thoughts: a) How can I score an invite? and b) What kind of cake will they serve at the royal wedding? When rumors swirled they were going with banana — and simultaneously saying, "Meh, no thanks," to one of the royal wedding cake traditions of having fruitcake — people were yet again reminded that this was no ordinary couple. They're ~modern~ and ~unique~ and can't be tamed. Traditional fruitcake, be damned! What other rules might they break for the May nuptials? And the plot thickens...
The flavor of the cake is but one of the royal wedding cake traditions we've seen throughout the generations. The royals are *big* on tradition, and the fine art of eating cake is steeped in history. From the flavor to the size to the number of cakes served, you can move from generation to generation and see some of the same patterns repeated. The Queen herself, Diana and Charles, William and Kate — they all followed at least a few royal rules.
While there's no telling what Harghan's (Marry's? what would be their celebrity hybrid name?) wedding cake will look like, if they follow royal tradition, here are six things we might end up seeing.
1. Everybody Loves A Good Fruitcake
Well, maybe not. In the states, fruitcake is notorious for being the one holiday dessert nobody wants. Each season features a nail-biting game of Who's Going To Get Stuck With The Fruitcake, as everybody tries to duck out of Grandma's house before she sticks 'em with it.
For the royal family, however, fruitcake holds a different place in their heart: it's the traditional wedding cake flavor of choice, according to Saveur. Why fruitcake, you're wondering? I'm glad you asked.
As explained by Gastronomica, around the 17th century, fruited cakes called "bride cakes" became all the rage. They symbolized fertility and prosperity. Around this time, men also had groom's cakes made out of — you guessed it — fruit. Hey, if it's good enough for royals, it's good enough for the rest of us, right?
2. Saving Some For Later
There's yet another tradition that goes along with the fruitcake: the top tier is sometimes saved for the christening of the royal couple's first child.
The tiered wedding cake tradition comes from a trend set by Queen Victoria, according to A Little Cake Place. Through the years, people who weren't royals developed their own version of this tradition that was more budget friendly. The bottom tier of the cake would be eaten at the reception; the second tier was given away; and the top tier was saved for the christening, in what has to be the oldest leftover ever.
While this was a money-saving hack for the average Joe, there have indeed been royals who saved the top layer of their fruitcake for the first child's christening — like William and Kate.
Fruitcake: it never dies.
3. It Takes Two
The royals take their cake seriously. In fact, one cake doesn't cut it — they have two (or, as you'll read in a minute, dozens). According to Apryl D. Roberts of Memorable Events by Apryl, LLC, royal weddings often have the traditional fruitcake plus a second cake of another flavor. I like to imagine the above photo depicts Harry and Meghan at a cake sampling, even though it definitely doesn't.
Harry: "Dahling, do you like this banana cream?"
Meghan: "I do, but I think I prefer the chocolate hazelnut."
SO, royal weddings. Multiple cakes. Huge win. How can I get invited to one of these things?
4. The Leaning Tower Of Cake
While this might not "technically" be tradition, there's one thing royals are consistently good at doing: eating massive amounts of cake.
While the royals have indeed stuck to tiered cakes, they haven't really limited themselves to just three layers (or two cakes, for that matter). Oh no. Kate and William's cake was eight tiers high, according to the HuffPost. Princess Diana's was five tiers high, and she had 27 cakes in total, says the Daily News. OH! OH! And Mini Museum says the official cake took 14 weeks to prepare, counting the identical twin cake they had, you know, just in case.
Finally, there's the Queen and Prince Philip. Royal.uk says their cake was nine feet tall, four tiers high, made with ingredients from all over the world, and was cut using a sword. Oh, and they had 11 cakes.
5. You've Got Mail
As if royal weddings don't sound amazing enough already, there's yet another tasty tradition you're going to love: mailing out slices of cake after the wedding is over. While this might be done as a way to say thank you to people who attended, according to Magpie Wedding, it was also sent to people who couldn't make it, or people "who were not quite important enough to receive an invitation."
"Sorry we don't like you enough, but here's a piece of cake!" An acceptable consolation prize? Yes.
6. It's All In The Details
As you've probably guessed by now, royal wedding cakes don't typically come from a box of Betty Crocker (not that there's anything wrong with that, because Betty is tasty AF). Not only are they ginormous, but they're also often incredibly ornate. Take Queen Elizabeth's cake, for example. As Vanity Fair explains, it was covered in "cathedral-like carvings," including tiny figures, decorative columns, and royal insignias. Lady Di's was topped with gorgeous blooms. Kate and William's was covered in flowers like roses, thistle, daffodils, and shamrocks, plus oak and acorn, according to The Spruce. It's not like a regular cake. It's a cool cake.