Ballpark Estimate: $3 to $8 per slice
If you’re in the midst of planning your wedding, most of your decisions are probably dictated by the bride’s taste and preferences. But often the groom is also eager for a way to incorporate his interests into the big day in some small, but significant, way. If this is true in your case, then you might consider adding a special touch by ordering a custom groom’s cake.
The Groom’s Cake
Never heard of a groom’s cake? It’s really just a second cake that you can display and serve at your wedding that has a less formal feel than the primary wedding cake, and as such, often offers a fresh alternative to the more formal cake’s flavor and taste. Some groom’s cake are of the most basic designs (such as one or two round tiers), while others are formed into all sorts of fancy shapes. Further, many groom’s cakes reflect a special passion, be it collecting sports memorabilia, supporting a local athletic team, being an avid golfer, bowler or sports car racer, or even drinking beer. Whatever you enjoy, you can likely find a good wedding cake designer who can translate your interest into an edible display.
An Age-Old Tradition
There are several different versions of how the groom’s cake originated. One such story is that the tradition of having a groom’s cake dates back to the Victorian era. According to historians, couples in those days living in England had separate cakes for the bride and groom to serve to their wedding party members. Another story traces the first groom cakes back to France. The legend is that that the wedding cake would be broken over the newly-married couple’s heads there. In response to this practice, the groom’s cake is said to have come about in order to be used for this instead, thereby saving the formal wedding cake to feed to guests.
Regardless of where and when the first groom cakes were made, over the decades the concept eventually spread to the United States. They continue to be popular today, especially among brides and grooms in the Southern states.
There is also a superstition that if an unmarried woman puts her piece of groom’s cake beneath her pillow, its presence will spark her to dream of her future husband. This idea has many single women, both in the South and elsewhere, lining up at the end of the wedding for this most meaningful taste.
A Reflection of the Groom’s Taste
While single women many relish the idea of a sliver from the groom’s cake to show them a glimpse of their future, many grooms themselves also enjoy the idea that there is something in their wedding that is reflective of their present state. Just as the bride has a chance to capture a certain feel and look with the choice is her dress and accessories, the groom’s cake is a way he can leave a mark on the event in his own unique way.
Some groom’s cakes are more basic designs, but others can go to great lengths to capture more complicated concepts in the most dramatic – and of course tastiest — ways. Some particularly noteworthy groom’s cakes include a three-dimensional replica of the groom’s dog, a winning hand of cards in a poker game, a copy of a special landmark such as the Eiffel Tower, or a model of a special car, boat or plane. Of course, just how detailed the replicas get will make all of the difference between a basic cake and an over-the-top creation. In fact, if money is no object, a very high-end cake designer can create a truly lifelike display of almost anything you desire.
Time to Indulge
When, where and how you serve the groom’s cake can vary a great deal. Some couples decide to let this masterpiece take center stage at their rehearsal dinner, where it makes a nice treat to share with their closest family and friends. Others prefer to showcase it during the reception, either on the same table as, or at least near, the primary wedding cake. Wedding etiquette dictates that if you do display the groom’s cake at your wedding, one with a very simple design can appropriately share the spotlight with the main cake. However, a more elaborate version groom’s cake should always stand alone in a separate area of the room so it won’t compete with the larger cake.
Regardless of where the groom’s cake is displayed, you also have several options as to how to share it with your guests. Some couples serve it right along with the main wedding cake so guests can enjoy both flavors, while others prefer to offer it as an alternative for guests who might prefer this instead of the main cake. Further, other couples don’t serve it at all but instead follow the old tradition of boxing slices and sending them home with guests to enjoy at a later date.
Flavor of the Day
Most of the earliest groom’s cakes were fruitcakes, but these days, they are more commonly dark chocolate and are often filled with fruit, liqueurs or rich creams, making them a very decadent treat. You don’t have to feel limited to these choices, though. The sky is the limit when it comes to selecting the ingredients you want to incorporate into your own cake.
To help you weed through the options, wedding cake designer suggest ordering a groom’s cake that is completely different from your more formal cake in order to provide a nice complement for the guests to taste. Cheese cake, carrot cake, chocolate torte, lemon or red velvet are just a few of the numerous flavors that are popular among groom’s today. In addition, if the groom’s cake has several layers, many bakers will use different fillings such as praline, peanut butter, Irish cream, coffee and cappuccino to secure the tiers in place.
It is also worth noting that some grooms want to design their own special cake, either with the help of their bride or else on their own in order to keep the design a surprise. However, some brides prefer to order the groom’s cake on her own so she can offer it as a special gift to her spouse on their wedding day.
Where to Buy
You can order a groom’s cake from most bakeries that make wedding cakes. You should also ask to see pictures of past designs in order to get a feel for the cake designer’s personal style and see it it’s a good fit to meet your desire. Wedding planners recommend that if you are looking for unusual flavors, you make sure that the baker can accommodate your needs up front. In addition, if you want any characters, logos or other designs that are copyrighted, you’ll need to find out if your baker is licensed to be able to provide this. Once you find a bakery you like, ask about having a tasting to try different cakes and fillings to help you decide on all of the details you would like. To locate bakers in your area that specialize in wedding cakes, you can do a search online, look in your yellow pages, or visit some of the popular Internet wedding sites that provide advice, forums for networking and vendor guides. Some of these online resources you might try include Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, The Wedding Channel, and My Wedding.
What It Costs
What you can expect to spend on a groom’s cake can span quite a wide range. A lot depends on how large, rich and detailed you want your creation to be. Generally, the more ornate your cake, the more it is likely to cost. In addition, the larger, more well-known bakeries in metropolitan areas can command higher rates than their smaller suburban counterparts.
Often bakers will charge for groom cakes by the slice, similar to how they price the regular wedding cake. The going rate can be anything from $1.25 a slice for the most simple cake with butter cream frosting on up to about $12 a slice for a shaped cake iced with fondant (a, sweet, elegant topping used to cover gourmet cakes that can be worked into all sorts of fancy swirls and shapes).
To help you narrow in a little more on what to expect, some wedding planners say that the majority of groom’s cakes fall somewhere in the middle range, with couples spending about $3 to $8 a slice, or $300 to $800 for the cake to feed 100 people.
Ways to Save Pennies
If your budget is tight, you can talk to your baker about how much you have to spend and let him or her suggest what you can do within your price range. Often by selecting a basic shape and opting for simple ingredients, you can do get a beautiful and delicious cake without breaking the bank. Some bakeries will also be willing to give you a discount on the groom’s cake if you order both the wedding and groom’s cake from the same place. In addition, all things specifically created for wedding cost more than their counterparts, so if you want to cut your costs, you can always order a regular birthday style cake instead of a specific “groom’s cake.” This is a great way to save money without sacrificing on the taste. Finally, some couples break with tradition today and order the groom’s cake as the main desert, foregoing the formal wedding cake entirely. This is a great way to save pennies without sacrificing a sweet end to your special day.