At many weddings, the wedding cake is one of the focal points of the room at the reception. Often highly detailed, wedding cakes are like works of edible art. Many customs have blossomed around this wedding dessert over the years, including the charming tradition of adding wedding pulls to your cake.
Cake pulls are tiny charms, typically made of silver, that are attached to long ribbons and inserted into the wedding cake. The ribbons are then fanned out and guests gently pull their charm from the cake. Each charm stands for something and tells a fortune of sorts to whomever pulls it from the cake. Many times, the cake pull is also done at the bridal shower, rather than the wedding itself.
Once the charms have been removed from the cake, it is customary for the bearer to keep the charm. If the bride chooses to have only her bridesmaids pull the charms, she will often gift them with a charm bracelet so she can display the charm.
The wedding cake pull tradition dates back to Victorian England. Charms were baked into wedding cakes, and then the attendants and bridesmaids all had a chance to pull their charms from the cake. Over time, the tradition has evolved, and it is no longer limited to members of the wedding party. Children, family and guests are often invited to retrieve a charm from the cake. The wedding cake pull is seen more often in southern weddings in modern times, but it is still a quaint and sentimental part of many wedding receptions.
The Meaning of the Charms
Couples have a large variety of different charms that they can choose from for their wedding cake. Each one is supposed to stand for a particular fortune or virtue that the bearer either possesses or will be blessed with. Some traditional charms and their meanings are:
A ring - symbolic of an upcoming marriage An anchor - adventure is around the corner A heart - new romance is blossoming A star - a wish will be granted
There are also a wide variety of more contemporary charms available. Some brides may even choose to use charms that tie into their wedding theme, rather than specific fortunes.
How to Add Charms
Prior to popular belief, wedding cake charms are not actually baked right into the cake. The cake should be baked charm free, and the charms are hidden between the layers of cake and even between the cake and the cake stand itself. To do this, charms are first tied to satin ribbons. These ribbons can either be plain white or in colors that coordinate with the wedding colors. The charms are then placed between layers, and the cake is iced all around, with the exception of the sides. The ribbons are then pulled outward, and then the sides of the cake can be iced. Once the cake is completely covered, then the ribbons are fanned out.
Baking the charms directly into the cake can have disastrous results when it comes time to actually remove the charms. Cakes have been destroyed from the force of the pull and some have even been pulled over. Once the charms have been placed in between the layers, then the cake can be iced and the ribbons carefully fanned out.
Another concern is that you remind your guests to remove any charm that they find in their piece of cake before eating it. No one wants to have to perform the Heimlich maneuver on their big day.