Saturday, November 10, 2012

A History of Groomscake

During the Victorian Era, it was traditional to pass small pieces of the wedding cake through the wedding ring of a happily married man or woman. The bridesmaids would then wrap the pieces and,  distribute them to all the wedding guests. custom had it that the unmarried women would then place the piece of wedding cake under their pillows that night in hopes of dreaming of a future husband.

Fruitcake was the traditional wedding cake in the United States until the mid-nineteenth century. Before the advent of the home freezer, the Groom's Cake, made of heavy fruit and liquor-soaked, had a long shelf life. That is why it was the one that was kept and eaten at the first anniversary celebration.

The Groom's Cake still retains the concept that it is a gift from the bride to her groom. While the wedding cake is served to all the wedding guests, the groom's cake is used for extra pieces that are packaged for guests to take home and "dream on." The Groom's Cake provides children and others who could not attend the wedding a way of "sharing" in the couple's good fortune. Superstition holds that a bride who keeps a piece of her wedding cake will have a faithful and loving husband.

In 2006 while I was cleaning out my paternal grandmother's basement, I  found a fossilized piece of wedding cake that had been saved by her mother, my great-grandmother, from her Christmas 1907 wedding cake!

I made a groomscake for my wedding and passed it out as the favor. William and Kate did the same with 650 boxed pieces of fruitcake, I only did 200. Here is the recipe I used and it was delicious!

White Groomscake Fruitcake
By Aida Mollenkamp


3 cups raw pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups currants

1 1/2 cups dried pineapple, finely chopped
3/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Cointreau

For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Bourbon, for aging (optional)


For the fruit:
1. Combine all ingredients in a large container and stir to mix. Cover tightly and let macerate at room
temperature for 24 hours.

For the cake:
1. Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with butter;
set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
3. Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix at medium-high
speed until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and continue mixing until fluffy, about another 3 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time, letting each mix in fully before adding the next. Stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Fold in the macerated fruit until just incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
6. Bake until the cakes are golden, set throughout, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out
clean, about 1 1/2 hours.
7. Let cool 30 minutes in the pans on a wire rack. Run a knife around the outside of each cake, turn
them onto the rack, and let cool completely before slicing and eating, or aging.
8. To age the fruitcakes, store each at room temperature in an 11-by-7-by-3-inch plastic container with a
tightfitting lid and brush with 1/4 cup bourbon every 10 days for up to 3 1/2 months.