The History of the Groom's Cake

Not familiar with this dessert tradition? We'll break it down on how the trend started.

football helmet groom's cake
Photo: Ivory Door Studio

The groom's cake, or a separate reception dessert created specifically to suit the groom's tastes, is not a new phenomenon. In fact, some sources say its first appearance may have been as early as 1897. What began as a Victorian custom was brought over to the United States and find a new home in the South, where it served as an alternative to the "feminine" wedding cake. Traditionally, these more masculine cakes featured strong, unexpected flavors-think rum or dark cocoa and even cheesecake and fruit cake-and were typically served to just the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Guests outside the bridal party often wanted a slice, too. Some actually believed that an unmarried woman who brought a slice home and slept with it under her pillow would soon find her own husband. Sounds messy, right?

Now, the groom's cake is seen as a fun dessert addition, and is usually a surprise a new bride plans for her husband. Instead of being used to satisfy "stronger taste palates," the groom's cake is seen as an opportunity to showcase some creativity and personalization. But Victoria Zagami, owner of Made in Heaven Cakes, has seen a drop in this confection's popularity. "Men are more involved in the planning of the actual wedding cake now," she says, "so I feel like that cake is the main event."

However, when a couple does opt for the second dessert, she says the treats often feature a groom's favorite hobby, team, or another detail near and dear to his heart. With the main cake often limited by the parameters of a wedding's theme, this one is free to break the mold and comes in just about any shape or size.

As for when it's served? That is entirely up to the couple. Some like to share the sweet creation with the bridal party during the rehearsal dinner, while others opt to bring it out on the big night as a second slice for all to share. The only thing we suggest? Don't waste a good slice under your pillow.

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