Groom's cakes make a comeback

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Guests and well-wishers expect to see at least one cake at wedding receptions. But wedding guests should not be surprised if they attend a wedding and notice two cakes sharing the spotlight on the dessert table.

Groom’s cakes have existed for generations but have fallen out of favor in many parts of North America since the 1970s. Now groom’s cakes are experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

A groom’s cake traditionally represents something masculine, providing a contrast to the oft-feminine features, such as floral bouquets and frilly gowns, that dominate many weddings. Groom’s cake designs often reflect a particular hobby or interest of the groom’s.

Historically, groom’s cakes are chocolate, a sharp contrast to traditional wedding cakes, which tend to be vanilla and white. Tradition once called for single women at the wedding to take home a slice of the groom’s cake to sleep with under their pillows. It was believed the cake would help them have sweet dreams of the man they would eventually marry.

Women today are likely no longer snuggling up to fondant and mousse cake slices at night, and wedding cakes are no longer relegated to vanilla cake with vanilla icing, which may account for the waning popularity of groom’s cakes. Yet with wedding cake bakers showing off their creative prowess on television or through their own artistic bakery displays, it’s no wonder that couples looking for something unique are once again embracing the tradition of groom’s cakes.

Couples who are mulling whether or not to add a groom’s cake to their menus should consider the following tips.

• Make sure it is highly personal. Groom’s cakes typically reference hobbies, affiliations or interests of the groom. Some men may want their cake to showcase the logo of their favorite professional sports team, while others may want a cake inspired by a favorite superhero.

• Involve the groom in the process. Despite the name, groom’s cakes may not always involve the groom. A cake may be designed or selected by the groom’s bride-to-be or his mother. Some forward-thinking brides may want to encourage their grooms-to-be to select their own cakes and offer input on their designs.

• Find a bakery that has experience in whimsical cakes. Groom’s cakes are very often intricate structures and sculptures. The groom’s cake may be more labor-intensive than the traditional wedding cake, so couples may want to shop around for a cake chef with the experience to pull off the design they desire.

• Experiment with flavor combinations. Because the groom’s cake is all about that special guy, the flavor of the cake should be centered around what he would enjoy. The sky is the limit on flavors and can include traditional chocolate, candy bar-inspired flavors, coffee, coconut, or even a bacon-infused cake.

• Consider serving the groom’s cake at the rehearsal. Some couples prefer to serve the groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner rather than having two cakes at the wedding. Guests may not be able to fit two slices of cake after a large wedding meal, so serving the groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner may be the best of both worlds.

The bride – and her cake – typically steal the show at the average wedding. Therefore, a groom’s cake can be a special touch that allows the groom to bask in his own wedding-day spotlight.

A number of couples are bringing back the tradition of a groom’s cake at their wedding celebrations.