Grooms Cakes Make a Comeback: A New Take on a Southern Wedding Staple

The grooms’ cake, a wedding staple with Southern staying power, has been garnering interest from couples nationwide. And why shouldn’t it? Its varied flavors, sometimes accented with chocolate-covered strawberries and other fruits, provide an extra option to guests who are not typically inclined to eat white wedding cake with hints of vanilla, almond, and other flavors.

Plus, because brides have most of the say-so in the big day, the groom’s cake gives new husbands a chance to put their stamp on the occasion with a cake that exclusively reflects them and their interests.

The trend is resulting in grooms’ cakes that are innovative, spectacular, and downright zany. Want more info on this popular pastry craze and the history behind it? This recap on the trend, as well as a glimpse into groom’s cake history, should give you your fill.

Re-emergence of Grooms’ Cakes: A Look at the Trend

On the big day, the groom’s cake is displayed next to the wedding cake and serves as a bride’s gift to her groom. It’s not a reception requisite, but it’s gaining favor with brides nationwide, as is evident with its huge comeback.

In the past, grooms’ cakes have featured chocolate cake, chocolate icing, liquor, and sometimes fruit. This version is still quite popular, but as the concept takes hold across the country, the sky is the limit. If you can dream it, guests can eat it.

Grooms’ cakes have branched out from their single-level sheet cake predecessors to feature fondant-molded football helmets; heart-shaped tuxedos; and even full scenes with couches, remotes, and TVs. The most important thing is to make the groom’s cake reflect the groom’s hobbies, interests, or career.

If you’re unsure of whether to include a groom’s cake as part of your reception, simply ask the groom. If he does want it as part of your big day, it never hurts to get him involved in the planning process. Maybe he is in the military, and you’re debating whether to have the cake feature his branch’s insignia. On the other hand, perhaps he is extremely devoted to his two Labrador Retrievers, and you’re envisioning a canine-shaped confection. When you’re planning the groom’s cake as a surprise, it may help to consult his close friends and family members to get a second opinion.

To get some ideas, the following are some popular groom’s cake themes and shapes:

– Sports (think baseballs, football helmets, golf balls, etc.)

– Affiliations (alma mater, college fraternity, military branch, and more)

– Interests (guitars for music lovers, poker chips for card players, and vintage cars for those who love classic models)

– Food (envision a cake covered with whole Oreos, Snickers bars, and the like)

– Comical (maybe a reference to an inside joke for the couple, or a scene from a favorite comedy film) 

When are popular times to serve a groom’s cake? It’s really up to the couple, but it can either be served with the wedding cake, so guests have two choices, or it can be served as dessert at the rehearsal dinner. If you want to follow suit with Southern tradition, you could have the groom’s cake sliced and individually boxed to send with guests as a party favor.

Groom’s Cake History 101

The history of the groom’s cake goes back centuries and is steeped in Southern tradition. The verdict is still out on the original form of the groom’s cake. It is thought to have originally been a fruitcake without icing, or a fruitcake with icing to match the bride’s cake. In more recent times, before today’s burgeoning trends, grooms’ cakes were customarily chocolate and liquor-soaked, or accented with fruit and chocolate strawberries.

There are actually several explanations for how this longstanding wedding staple, dating back to the 17th century, got its start.

Some believe that the groom’s cake was actually the top of the wedding cake, taken away and soaked in brandy, to be eaten a year later upon the happy couple’s first anniversary. Others are familiar with the idea of a groom’s cake that was sliced and placed in individual boxes to be distributed as wedding favors.

Perhaps most entertaining is the lore behind the tradition: that if a single woman took the cake home and slept with it under her pillow, she would dream of her future husband. It’s a pleasant concept but a messy endeavor, nonetheless.

Not only has the groom’s cake of today evolved to include a variety of shapes, themes and toppings, but also its endless—and most important, tasty—possibilities are now embraced nationwide to the benefit of wedding guests coast to coast.