The tradition of wedding cakes began not with the Celts, but with their foes, the Romans. Back then, the groom took a loaf of bread and cracked it over the bride’s head. The symbolism in this lovely gesture was to show she was owned. This is something that is obviously a little bit dated in today’s world.
But what would a wedding be without cakes and surely cake has come to mean something more in today’s Celtic wedding, right? Well, after the Romans, being whacked on the head was some kind of weird fertility blessing. Then, with Christianity, the breaking of bread, daily bread, sharing bread, the eating of bread made from wheat, the very staff of life —all these things became about being blessed with abundance and prosperity. This extends to weddings where cake, to some degree another form of bread, have both ritual and celebration — standard in all weddings.
Cake is a kind of sweet bread for a sweet life and these days, as in weddings in general, the cutting of the cake by the bride and groom represents their first task as a married couple. Feeding cake to each other that is sweet and delicious (the start of connubial bliss, hopefully) represents partnership and commitment.
Even the color of the traditional wedding cake, white has come to represent purity of heart and spirit; and even virginity. Forget it. Sorry Grandma. As for the Celtic tribes, they were not bakers, so there no traditional Celtic wedding cakes. The type of cake, whether lemon, marble, coffee, vanilla or chocolate or some more exotic flavor, just depends upon what you like. The challenge is choosing among the various icings. Mocha butter cream, or strawberry? Orange marmalade or dulce de leche?
These days, Celtic people express their heritage mainly through decorations on the cake. For example, you can have your own Claddaugh Wedding Topper. But that’s a little bit too much kitch for me. Bakers can create castles out of cakes, or decorate cakes more au natural.
Tying into the Celtic, close to nature theme, you can line your cake with berries and flowers, as shown here. I would choose what berry to eat based upon what’s fresh and in season, though I admit that I love Raspberries with chocolate. If you want to decorate your cake with Celtic designs, this is the cake which takes the cake!
Check out the knot work patterns. They’re symbolic, I believe, of how everything in the world is connected by a mysterious web of relationships. The only limiting factor in what direction you go may end up being the price of the cake.
How Much $ To Have Your Cake And Eat It Too
The price of a wedding cake depends upon size, quality of the material, artistry and also the reputation of the baker and the market where he sells his cake. Usually bakers price the cake according to serving. It can range from a few dollars a piece up to over fifteen dollars, depending upon the intricacy of the design and complexity of the cake. For example, the marvelous Celtic cake shown above is $8.50 per 1x2x4 inch portion in traditional flavors.
The cake as on the picture (sage green Celtic with calla lilies and vines) has 74 portions. If you want to go even more gourmet, you can begin to get into the rarefied world of apricot chocolate butter cream, or coconut lime zest, or caramel and dark chocolate truffle. Go all out with Remy Martin vanilla with strawberry and white chocolate, or roasted honey covered walnuts torted with sour cream.
One thing that you can do to save money, particularly if you are having a big wedding, is to have a relatively small layer cake, perhaps to serve thirty to fifty people. Then have a larger sheet cake somewhere in the back with the exact same cake and frosting. No matter what you choose to do, whether it is a sheet cake from a supermarket or some fancy cake with Celtic design, in the end, what makes a cake delicious is the beauty and community that have gathered around you for your wedding. Hopefully, the sweetness in the cake will be a harbinger of the blessings of being married to the person you love more than anyone else in the world.