Wedding cake design evolved over the centuries as bakers began experimenting with more textures, flavours and design techniques; however, design aspects from earlier eras are still displayed in today's cake creations.
Many events and movements of the '30s, such as the Art Deco period, influenced the ingredients, decorations, overall design and significance of wedding cakes. Today, some pastry chefs still weave defining characteristics of the 1930s into wedding cake creations.
The Art Deco movement, which began in Paris in the 1920s, is an eclectic design style that garnered international influence throughout the 1930s. Characterised by bold lines of symmetry, it inspired design themes for many items, including clothing, jewellery and household goods.
Wedding cake designs were also affected by the Art Deco period, as bakers begin using bolder and more vivid icing colours and more defined decorations. Many wedding cakes mirrored the Art Deco architectural structures of that time, such as The Golden Gate Bridge and the Chrysler building. The result was structured, symmetrical cake forms with defined lines and stacked square shapes, as well as blunt edges combined with smooth curved cake pieces.
The decorations on 1930s wedding cakes consisted of strategically placed flowers, colourful objects and theme-inspired additions. Many designs were intricate and time consuming, yet very simplistic in regard to the end result. Most cakes had white icing bases and included details, such as coloured piping accents, small sculpted flowers made from sugar and coloured strips of fondant.
Some Art Deco designs were adorned with elaborated bows and ruffles in colours like black, red and orange, while more subtle designs inspired by the economical aspects of the Great Depression displayed a few thoughtfully placed flowers or leafs on a plain white fondant icing surface.
1930s wedding cake toppers were inspired by the fashions, economics and social influences during that decade. Popular topper designs included the bride and groom as small children clothed in wedding garb, wedding figures clothed in Victorian era fashions, and grooms holding top hats.
Bakers designed the surfaces of 1930s wedding cakes using icing types that were very popular during that time, such as fondant and butter cream. The soft and flexible texture of butter cream icing allowed bakers to create textured cake decorations like swirls and waves on the outside of the cake.
Fondant, a harder pliable icing, was stretched around cakes to provide a smoother and more polished looking cake surface. Both butter cream and fondant were widely used during the '30s for wedding cakes and were sometimes used together to create designs with varying textures.
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