The bride's loaf and the wedding cake were two distinct cakes. The wedding cake was a dark fruit cake, usually piped with ornamental frosting. The piping outlined the cake for cutting into slices. The slices were of a size to be easily fitted into small white cake boxes. The wedding cake boxes were covered with ornamental paper, and often embossed with the united monogram of the bride and groom. When the cake was in place, each box was tied with white ribbon, and placed upon the hall table. Upon departing, each guest supplied himself with one of these souvenirs. The bride's loaf was any nice white cake, abundantly decorated with white frosting in a simple design. The cake was always be cut by the bride, who took the first slice and offered the next to the bridegroom. This "eating together" of what was offered by the bride is a relic of marriage customs which trace back to an old Roman practice.
Queen Victoria's wedding cake was covered with pure white sugar and the top featured the figure of Britannia in the act of blessing the illustrious Bride and Bridegroom, who were dressed in the costume of ancient Greece. These figures were not quite a foot in height. At the feet of HRH Prince Albert was the effigy of a dog, said to denote fidelity; and at the feet of Queen Victoria were a pair of turtle doves, denoting the felicities of the marriage state.
By the late 1880s, there were specialist suppliers of attachable wedding cake ornaments or wedding cake toppers. These were typically styled vases for flowers to complement the top of the cake. For wedding cakes divided into tiers and arranged on pillars, there would be a wedding cake ornament or a plain silver vase with trails and dainty white flowers placed on the top of the cake to give it a finishing touch. Wedding cake toppers included designs which showed cupids in a bouquet; cupid playing a lyre; cupid ringing a bell; or any bell-shaped ornamentation. Germans trimmed wedding cakes with a picture of the bride and groom, which would stand under a bell or against a floral background.
By the early 20th century, sugary figures of a standing bride and groom standing beneath a bunch of orange blossoms that overshadowed them like a palm tree. The groom had a mass of curly hair and a charming pink complexion; the bride figure with a heightened vermilion blush, a rosebud mouth, and a practicable veil made of silver netting. Also seen were bride and groom figures embarking on the voyage of life in a sugary boat freighted with orange blossoms or ornamented with silver balls as well as artificial flowers and icing. In the hands of a really expert confectioner, the wedding cake can become a veritable work of art, an ornate structure into which it seems scandalous to stick a knife.
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