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Cake Basics

5 Popular Wedding Cake Traditions

Photo: Chung Li Photography

Cutting The Cake: Family, friends and photographers alike look forward to the moment the couple joins hands around the cake knife and cuts the first slice of wedding cake. Not only will your guests finally get to taste the gorgeous creation they've been eyeing throughout your reception, it is a classic wedding moment, up there with the first kiss and first dance, that no one wants to miss. Additionally, after the cutting of the wedding cake, your guests know they are free to leave your reception.

Make sure your caterer gets 15 minutes lead time before you head over to cut the cake. Even the swiftest trays in the catering biz will need that much time to give each guest a glass of champagne, as well as ready the cake table with all the necessary cake cutting accoutrements.
Cake Face: Although you may prefer not to have your perfectly made-up face smashed into that first piece of wedding cake, like it or not, it has become somewhat of a tradition. If you don't look forward to, well, cake on your face, we suggest a little heart-to-heart with your one and only beforehand, to avoid that first marital spat. 
Saving The Cake: If well wrapped in plastic, your cake can survive that first year of marriage -- a delicious reminder of your special day. Remember to remove all flowers, stems, leaves and other garnish, and make room in the freezer. When your first anniversary rolls around, taste your wedding day all over again. 
Lucky Charms: Although the custom of adding gold or silver charms into a beautiful cake is usually reserved for showers, it is such a darling tradition, we felt we would be remiss in leaving it out. Each charm baked into the cake has a special meaning attached. A different kind of special luck will fall on the guest who receives a charm. Be sure to instruct your guests to pull on the attached ribbon to take the charm out before they bite.

The meanings behind cake charms are traditionally: heart for true love, ring for upcoming engagement, clover, shamrock or horseshoe for luck, flower for growing love, wishing well for wishes granted, anchor, airplane or ship's wheel for travel and adventure, highchair or baby carriage for children, rocking chair for long life, coin purse or money bag for good fortune, wedding bells for upcoming marriage, telephone for good news, and picture frame for happy life.

Cultural Cakes: While we love towering cakes embellished with white icing and sugar paste flora, we also adore international wedding cake styles, especially the French croquembouche tower of cream puffs. Golden, statuesque and often wrapped in an aura of spun sugar, the croquembouche is a delicious alternative (or complement) to its more American cousin. We urge you to sample a profiterole (the singular term for the cream puff) the next time you go cake-tasting.

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