The groom’s cake is a highly popular tradition in the South that has infiltrated other parts of the country over the years. In fact, it’s an old wedding custom that dates back to the 17th century. Groom’s cakes are customarily thought of as a gift to the groom from the bride and are a way to offer a more masculine dessert that stands in contrast to the oft-white tower of buttercream that’s center-stage at the wedding.
My personal preference, and many wedding bakers agree, is that the focal point of the wedding is the main wedding cake. The groom’s cake should be served the night before at the rehearsal dinner, which is an event that is traditionally hosted by the groom’s family, anyway. This way the confection, which can be quite clever and sophisticated, enjoys an exclusive moment of glory.
While I have not been a huge proponent of the custom, if you decide to have a groom’s cake, it should not be overly elaborate. It should be clearly more masculine than the wedding cake and somehow tied to the groom’s aesthetic. Ken Romaniszyn, the president of the ultra chic Lady M Confections in New York City says they do get a lot of orders for groom’s cakes for the rehearsal dinner.
“Lady M’s signature Mille Crêpe in chocolate is exactly the kind of groom’s dessert that is taking off these days,” he says. It’s not your grandmother’s layered cake; this pastry is made of 20 layers of delicate crêpes with silky whipped pastry cream between each thin French sheet. Set with a crème brûlée-like topping, this splendid sweet far surpasses any confection that looks like a cheeseburger.
When it comes to groom’s cakes, chocolate is one classic flavor and the other is liquor. A touch of rum-soaked raisins or a brandy-flavored filling is a great alternative for a masculine-inspired groom’s cake. Frequently, the bride surprises her hubby-to-be with a cake for him but while this is a tradition, it can just as well go by the wayside. Why prevent your betrothed from joining in the cake selection?
Ultimately, the question of whether you need a groom’s cake is best answered by your taste and preference. It’s certainly not required but could be a nice touch that makes your groom feel extra special. But if you are looking to cut costs on your wedding, put all your resources into one cake that represents both the bride and the groom and is the focal point of the wedding reception.
As always…more to come!