Deeply symbolic or simply delicious, a history of the wedding cake
Story and photos by Katherine Larson

White or chocolate, pillared tiers or something completely different, wedding cakes can be as varied as the couples who make them a part of their celebrations. This multi-tiered wedding-day wonder, covered in chocolate icing and fresh raspberries, was created by Joe’s Cakes of Marquette.

A recent family wedding spurred questions: why a wedding cake? And what, if anything, does a wedding cake mean? The answers, or lack thereof, take us on a surprising journey.
Our primary tour guide is Simon Charsley, a social anthropologist at the University of Glasgow, whose scholarly tome Wedding Cakes and Cultural History is so definitive that it has been cited in the United States Supreme Court.
As to the question of why weddings involve cakes, the answer appears to be convention, specifically late Victorian convention in…

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