The Untouched Groom’s Cake

by admin on February 20, 2013

I recently attended a wedding that was held at the house of the parents of the bride. It was the first wedding I’d been to in many, many years, so I guess I’m a bit rusty on how weddings progress nowadays. I don’t really know if this was an etiquette faux pas or just my lack of knowledge about the wedding cakes tradition nowadays. They had two wedding cakes, the first traditional big, tiered one, then a smaller groom’s cake that was in the shape of something regarding the groom’s occupation. Both were on display, side by side. When it came time to serve the cake, only the big, tiered cake was cut up and served. The same thing happened with the cake-feeding between the bride and groom. The groom’s cake just sat there untouched all night. I thought that was a bit odd, but is that the normal tradition with groom’s cakes? Is that perhaps for the couple to enjoy by themselves later on? Many of us guests were curious as to what kind of cake it was, if it was going to be served, etc. 0210-13

No, it is not a typical tradition to leave the groom’s cake untouched.  If it is presented on the cake table or buffet, it is there to be eaten.

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Shoegal February 20, 2013 at 8:37 am

I had a big white/ rasperberry filled tiered wedding cake and a smaller (2 tiered) chocolate groom’s cake – displayed side by side. When it came time to cut the cakes we first cut the wedding cake and then cut the groom’s cake. I fed my husband the chocolate cake and he fed me the white one. Both cakes were then served to all of our guests – depending on what you prefered you could have had a slice of either one. We did have leftover wedding cake but the groom’s cake was completely eaten.

Reply

WildIrishRose February 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

Interestingly enough, in all the weddings I’ve been to, I don’t recall ever even *seeing* a groom’s cake!

Reply

Wim February 21, 2013 at 6:47 am

Never heard of a separate groom’s cake either… not even at my own wedding, which had two grooms and no bride :)

Reply

WildIrishRose February 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Ha ha!

Reply

Nicole February 20, 2013 at 9:54 am

I attended a wedding years ago in which the groom’s cake was served instead of the beautiful tiered cake. The groom’s father used to own a bakery and his gift to the couple was the tiered cake. He was insulted and hurt that they didn’t serve it. Mid-point through the reception, long after the groom’s cake had been cut and served, he went over and started cutting the tiered cake for those of us who were excited to taste his lovingly-made and lovely cake. It was much better than the store-bought sheet groom’s cake.

Reply

InNM February 20, 2013 at 11:11 am

I guess I’m like the OP here. I’m not sure I understand the point of the groom’s cake. I mean, if the groom wants a cake, let them buy an extra one. But I was of the belief that part of the whole point of a wedding was two becoming one, and in that they could share a cake.

(I’ll also admit this is not the only wedding “tradition” I don’t understand. Mini brides are another.)

Reply

XH February 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm

From how we did it – the groom’s cake is there to provide a second option to the wedding cake for people to eat something they would prefer. Our wedding cake was a delicious yellow vanilla cake with a caramel pecan filling. Not everyone likes caramel and pecans and the kids there wouldn’t touch it. Since none of our guests were allergic to nuts the groom’s cake was a chocolate cake with peanut butter filling shaped like a giant Reese’s cup. It was fun and super delicious while also making sure that nobody was left out of the opportunity to eat really good cake.

Because both our cakes were so tasty I know most guests eventually got a slice of each, but I could totally understand having a second cake for people who don’t like whatever’s in the first one. It would also be a good way to provide a sugar-free, nut free, or chocolate cake option.

Reply

InNM February 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

I can understand that. I thought it was one of those “new etiquette” requirements that you just had to have. Thanks.

Reply

kingsrings March 17, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Actually, I probably would have preferred the groom’s cake to the regular one, which was a flavor I personally didn’t like. I’d heard through the grape vine that the groom’s cake was chocolate….yum!

Reply

Thel February 20, 2013 at 11:31 am

I wonder if the groom’s cake was there for show and not actually edible or not very good to eat? I know sometimes these fancy cakes in odd shapes are designed to look pretty, but they are not very good.

Reply

Ashley February 20, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I’d assume if food is there, it’s there to be served. But, thinking back to all the weddings I’ve ever been to, there are always people who don’t eat cake. Whether the guests go get a slice off the table, or the wait staff is bringing it around on a tray, there is cake left. Even if there are a multitude of flavors and guests get to pick between them, there is leftover cake. So if I had to hazard a guess about this situation, I’d say maybe all the guests had been served and there were not enough people who wanted cake to warrant cutting both the wedding cake and the grooms cake?

Reply

Heather February 20, 2013 at 12:58 pm

It is also sometimes tradition for the groom’s cake to be cut up and boxed for guests to take home as a favor. However, if they were planning on doing this you should have gotten a piece of cake to take home or something.

Reply

Decimus February 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

How odd. I thought the groom’s cake was often (although not always) served at the rehearsal dinner. When my wedding comes up, I am planning to eat my groom’s cake – unless I’m too anxious to enjoy it!

Reply

Puzzled February 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Groom’s cake. Yet another unnecessary expense whether it is eaten or not.

Reply

clairedelune February 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I suppose you could call any cake an unnecessary expense, since no one actually NEEDS cake to survive. But if it’s eaten (though in this case it sounds like not), it can’t really be called a waste. I don’t know if maybe you’re thinking that it’s one of those extras that the wedding industry has convinced everyone they suddenly need, like save-the-date cards or a separate “reception dress”? I’m not sure of the origins of the groom’s cake, but it’s definitely not a new thing–as Ellen points out, it’s a fairly established tradition in the American South. I saw my first groom’s cake probably 25 years ago, and I’m sure it’s older than that.

Reply

Angela February 25, 2013 at 7:45 am

It might be less costly to have two smaller cakes than one big, elaborate cake.

Reply

Ellen February 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I was under the impression that groom’s cake is a regional tradition – it’s very popular in the US South, for example. Every wedding I have been to down here has one, but not always in other parts of the country.
I don’t know the origins, but usually it is a more whimsical or casual cake, and reflects the groom’s tastes or references to his side of the family. I think it gives an outlet for couples who want personal touches without totally deviating from “traditional” expectations.

At our wedding, we had a white tiered “bride” cake with almond paste, whipped icing and sprinkled with rose petals. The groom’s cake was a ginger spice sheet cake with chocolate swirl, and a cream cheese icing, decorated with fruit. The white cake was lovely, but the groom’s cake was delicious!!!

Neither one was expensive, by the way.

Reply

Jen a. February 21, 2013 at 6:23 am

I’ve heard the same thing, Ellen. I’ve never seen one at any wedding I’ve been to (perhaps because I’m Canadian), but I have heard it’s a tradition in the South. Also, both your cakes sound delicious.

Reply

Kate February 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Yep, I’ve never seen one here in Australia.

Reply

gwenhara March 2, 2013 at 9:58 am

I lived in the South (Louisiana) for 7 years. Groom’s cakes are a tradition but they are served at the reception and usually are cheeky or irreverent to reflect the groom’s personality. Yeah, there are a lot of hunting themed ones and LSU Tigers themed ones, but some were gaming consoles or cars. I never saw one at an actual wedding reception, though. Always at the rehearsal dinner.

Reply

gwenhara March 2, 2013 at 9:59 am

That should read “served at the rehearsal” not reception. My bad.

Reply

Cherry February 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm

I was a bridesmaid to my mother’s best friend a few years ago.
The happy couple decided not to have a big wedding cake, but as a surprise, the bride had a Groom’s Cake made and iced in the colours of the groom’s football team. They cut it and it was served with other nibbles in the evening.
It was a really nice touch for a fantastic day, and a refreshing change to have something to remind everyone that a wedding is as much about the groom as the bride.

Reply

Kate February 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm

That’s a really cute idea!

We are having cupcakes instead of a cake, but since my fiance and I met through footy, we are having a bride and groom cake topper in football jumpers in our respective teams’ colours.

Reply

Xena Xavier February 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Funny, I’ve just been reading the archives (Wicked Witches of the Wedding) and there’s a groom’s cake story on there. The OP was dancing with her brother at his wedding, and commented on how pretty the groom’s cake was, and asked about the flavour. He informed her that it was not being served at the wedding, but was to be taken home and served at the post-wedding brunch at the bride’s parents’ house the next day.

I’m convinced the whole groom’s cake tradition must be an American custom, because I’ve attended weddings in several countries and never seen a groom’s cake, served to the guests or not.

Reply

Powers February 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Don’t blame us! It started in England, but the English have forgotten it. Southerners picked it up over a century ago.

Reply

katwoman February 20, 2013 at 10:21 pm

At my sister’s wedding there was a groom’s cake, but between the hustle and bustle of everything it didn’t get cut and served. It was a total oversight. Maybe that happened here as well?

Reply

Mer February 21, 2013 at 1:51 am

Wikipedia has something about the history of groom’s cake. If posting link is okay, here it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groom's_cake

Reply

Kiki February 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm

That was pretty interesting. I was a little taken aback by the thought that “most grooms know that the wedding is for her and not for him.” What?!? I thought a wedding was about joining both parties. My DF has been by my side and helping with planning since the beginning. I doubt that he’s in the minority.

In fact, I thought it was such a load of hooey, that I edited the Wikipedia page to remove this unsupported opinion.

I’ve never been to a wedding with a groom’s cake so I won’t be having one at mine, but, if that’s your thing, that’s cool with me.

Reply

Tracy February 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Whether or not you happen to agree with it, *traditionally* the view has been that the bride plans the wedding and a good groom simply says “yes dear.” Which would explain the desire for a cake that reflects the groom’s tastes.

Reply

Ange February 23, 2013 at 12:22 am

Probably shouldn’t be touted as ‘fact’ though.

Reply

clairedelune February 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm

But “traditionally” only means so much in conversations about weddings. You could also argue that *traditionally* neither the bride nor the groom had much say in anything, including partner selection. I’m with Kiki–”the wedding is for her and not for him” kind of mischaracterizes the big activity that everyone is showing up for.

Reply

KiKi March 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

Traditionally, a dowry was given for the bride. Just because something is a “tradition” doesn’t make it right or relevant. This is not a fact, it is an opinion. One that really doesn’t stand the test of time in today’s world.

Reply

Mary February 21, 2013 at 7:45 am

I have never been to a wedding that has a groom cake. I’m in the Upper Midwest. So I’ve never known what the point of one was. However, if the regular wedding cake has multiple flavors , are the guests supposed to be offered a choice? I was at one wedding where my entire table was served carrot cake while the next table received chocolate. Almost everyone at our table asked if they could have the chocolate instead and the server said no, a choice was not available. Personally I love carrot cake and could have eaten multiple pieces if I had wanted to since so many people at our table disliked it.

Reply

No Wedding February 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm

That’s terrible! I would think multiple flavors mean the guest would get a choice – unless a particular flavor runs out. I have some food allergies, so say if I had been at a table that only got peach cake, no cake for me. I’m a grown-up, so if I don’t get cake, I’ll live, but I would have been staring longingly at the next table over with their plain vanilla. LOL.

Reply

another Laura February 21, 2013 at 8:40 am

Does anyone remember the groom’s cake in Steel Magnolias? It was a red velvet cake in the shape of an armadillo. When it was cut it looked like it was bleeding.
I have heard of the tradition of unmarried female guests taking a boxed piece of the groom’s cake home to put under their pillows, the superstition being that they would dream about the man they will marry.

Reply

Margaret February 27, 2013 at 7:26 pm

When I was a kid, wedding cake was always some kind of fruit cake/pound cake, and the cake was sliced up in long little bits and you were supposed to take it home to put under your pillow etc. I remember when I was about 15 or 16, a cousin of mine got married and she had a chocolate cake for a wedding cake. This was NEW! And WONDERFUL! And now I can’t remember the last time I saw a fruit cake/pound cake for a wedding cake.

No such thing as groom’s cakes where I come from.

Reply

Joni February 21, 2013 at 11:42 am

The only wedding I’ve ever seen with a groom’s cake, it was served at the rehearsal dinner. It was long gone by the time the wedding rolled around.

Reply

emwithme February 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm

At my wedding, our “tiered” cake was actually six different cheeses.

We also served traditional, iced fruit cake and had both a “grooms” cake, a “brides” cake and a “Best Woman” cake. On the surface, this may seem odd, but there is a story behind it.

When initially planning our wedding, I asked my then-fiancé what kind of cake he wanted as a wedding cake. He was thinking about other things and flippantly said “A Yoda cake” (from Star Wars). I said to him that if he was having a Yoda cake, I was having a Hello Kitty one. At the time, we lived with my Best Woman, and she joked that if we were having cakes, then she needed one too. For some reason, she just cannot say the word “caterpillar” (It comes out “capertillar” every time) and so we joked that she could have a caterpillar cake.

So, on our wedding day, we had six tiers of various cheeses, a traditional, iced fruit cake, two vanilla sponges – one with Yoda, one with Hello Kitty, and a chocolate swiss roll iced like a caterpillar.

And there was no cake left over!

Reply

Phitius February 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

This is adorable!

These kinds of personal touches are amusing, fun, and memorable.

Reply

Gracie C. March 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

If I had thought of it, I would have had a tiered cake of cheese! :-) I skipped the cake in favor of brownie sundaes at my wedding. No one seemed to miss the cake.

Reply

Allie February 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I’ve never heard of a groom’s cake. Believe it or not, at most of the weddings I’ve attended, the fancy, tiered cake is cut by the couple, who feed a piece to each other, but is not served to any of the guests. There is another type of dessert provided to the guests (usually ice cream or pudding). It’s always been a disappointment to me being taunted by this fancy cake that you don’t get to eat. However, as another poster has observed, they often don’t taste as good as they look.

Reply

No Wedding February 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

So no one eats the cake? Odd. Maybe a cultural/regional thing?

Reply

Yvaine February 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Probably most of the cake is fake, with the exception of a small top layer for the couple. But they’re doing it wrong–if you do this, there’s at least supposed to be a sheet cake that gets cut up for the guests.

Reply

WildIrishRose February 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Why would anyone spend money on a huge cake and then not serve it to their guests? This is a new one to me!

Reply

Yvaine February 27, 2013 at 8:13 pm

If most of the cake is fake, and then they feed the guests a plain sheet cake instead, it’s a lot cheaper than a whole real cake of the same elaborateness. I think it’s kind of tacky, but it does save money.

Kippie February 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

My MIL has been a professional cake maker for 20+ years in the Midwest. We had a groom’s cake (chocolate candy curl) that we served at our rehearsal dinner and a multi-tiered white cake (each layer a different flavor) that we served at our reception (except the top layer, which we froze and then ate on our first anniversary). Both cakes were gorgeous, and they tasted as good as they looked!

Reply

acr February 24, 2013 at 10:42 pm

I live in the South, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding that didn’t have a groom’s cake – like the (in)famous red-velvet armadillo cake in “Steel Magnolias”! In my experience, the groom’s cake is usually simpler or more playful than the tiered wedding cake. It’s also usually tastier. I’ve seen them done in sports team colors, in camouflage, etc. I think the point of the groom’s cake is simply to have another flavor of cake available.

Re: the OP – my thought is that nobody was officially charged with cutting the cake – and polite people don’t cut a cake they aren’t told to cut!

Reply

Marozia February 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I’m sure under the rules of etiquette, the groom’s cake should’ve at least been given to the groom and his attendants, if not anyone else who was there.
I think having a groom’s cake is a great idea. My spouse has phenylketonuria and cannot eat our protein-laden foods. A small cake was made for him only, and he enjoyed it.
BTW, I hate fruitcake (is that an eti faux pas?), so I only has a very small sliver of my wedding cake. Nobody seemed to notice, though. They were all tucking in. I’m glad they enjoyed it.

Reply

Sarah Jane February 25, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I’m from the US South and had to chime in :). I’ve only ever been to a couple of weddings where there was no groom’s cake. It’s usually whimsical or decorated in very bold or bright colors (in contrast to the wedding cake) and offers a flavor alternative (usually chocolate or red velvet cake.) They have always been cut and served at the reception along with the wedding cake. I usually eat a slice of both :)

Reply

NostalgicGal February 28, 2013 at 3:25 pm

@acr–that’s not a given, that if someone isn’t told to cut a cake they won’t. People have cut into the wedding cake before the B&G, some even took handfuls out of it, if I recall… from the archives here.

But usually yes, the groom’s cake is cut and served up to those that want it…

Reply

acr February 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm

@NostalgicGal – that’s why I said POLITE people. :) Sadly, I’ve seen a few birthday cakes (never a wedding cake or groom’s cake) where somebody helped themselves.

I’ve never been to a wedding where the wedding cake wasn’t served. At my sister’s wedding, the top 2 tiers were cake, and the bottom 2 were frosted rings of styrofoam.

Reply

NostalgicGal March 2, 2013 at 12:25 am

@ acr … that is better than some places where the entire cake is fake…

Some decades ago already, the western style of wedding went from fad to popular in Japan, and the couple could rent the entire thing including a lavish several tier wedding cake that was fake… they could pose both holding the cake knife as if they were going to cut it but, they didn’t. It was just a picture prop….

yep, POLITE people don’t. Reality, people do.

Reply


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: