What is a Groom’s Cake?

The groom’s cake is a long-standing tradition in the southern United States. The custom dates back to the 19th century, but today’s cakes have shed the old fashioned rules. A modern groom’s cake is a fun, unique, and playful addition to your wedding plans. And it is quintessential for a New Orleans wedding - in a city well known for incredible food, why have one cake when you can have two?

A groom’s cake is as simple as it sounds: a cake made for the groom. It is traditionally a gift from the bride that reflects an intimate understanding and support of his passions. Today the cakes are often presented with humor and affection, with creative designs, flavors, and shapes. The groom’s cake can be as personal or as peculiar as you see fit.

Your Guide to Groom’s Cake: A Creative Southern Wedding Tradition | New Orleans

The Groom’s Cake Tradition

The groom’s cake is a custom brought to the South by British colonists that dates back more than a century. In the olden days, the traditional wedding cake was considered too feminine for the groom. So a smaller, richer, and often liquor-infused cake was made to meet the groom’s manly tastes.

The groom’s cake was not traditionally served to female guests during the wedding reception. But once the celebration was over, the groom’s cake was sliced up, placed into packages, and given to guests as favors when they departed. Single women at the wedding would take their pieces of groom’s cake home and sleep with it under their pillows - this would supposedly cause them to dream of their own future husbands.

While serving a groom’s cake is still an established practice, modern times have gotten rid of the macho etiquette and the messy folklore. Now it is acceptable to serve the groom’s cake to whoever and whenever you see fit.

Popular Themes

Traditionally, groom’s cakes were adorned with whatever hobby the groom enjoyed most, like hunting, fishing, or golfing. But today, there are no rules when it comes to themes for the groom’s cake. Common motifs still include hobbies and sports, but there is no limit to your options. Your groom’s cake can be as unique as you’d like - anything can be used as inspiration to make your groom’s cake a personal confection.

Need some ideas for your groom’s cake creation? New Orleans has all the inspiration you need. This city knows a thing or two about fun decorations. You can make every slice of your groom’s cake festive with a Mardi Gras color scheme. If you want an iconic cake, use an iconic New Orleans symbol like a fleur-de-lis. Or a streetcar-shaped cake to keep the wedding party rolling. With New Orleans in mind, you can craft a creative dessert that everyone will want to try.

What Kind of Cake?

Today’s groom's cakes are often served on a table separate from the wedding cake at the reception, offering a second flavor choice for guests. But your groom’s cake filling is entirely up to you. Any kind of cake will do, but for a New Orleans style wedding, you can’t go wrong with Doberge cake. An original New Orleans recipe, Doberge cake combines thin layers of cake and pudding that make a delicious choice for your big day.

If you want a groom’s cake that fits right in with your New Orleans wedding festivities, gift your groom the most coveted dessert in the city: a king cake. King cakes are a Mardi Gras tradition that is always the life of the party. These Danish braided pastries are blissfully sweet, laced with cinnamon, and topped with colorful icing. While the official season for king cakes only falls between January 6th and Ash Wednesday, there are plenty of local New Orleans bakeries that will custom bake this carnival treat for your carnival themed groom’s cake.  

Joyce Bracey
King Cake with Beads
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