Almost every day, someone asks me about the groom’s cake. What is it? Where did the tradition start, and why do today’s couples keep it going? Should the groom’s cake show up at the rehearsal dinner, or the wedding? Is it supposed to be made of chocolate?

When many people think of the groom’s cake, they picture that quirky red velvet armadillo from “Steel Magnolias.” Often, their second thought is, “why would I want that my wedding?” In reality, though, the groom’s cake is a deeply-rooted Southern custom, every bit as traditional as the explosion of wedding cookies you find at many Western Pennsylvania weddings — and it doesn’t have to be an armadillo.

According to superstition, any single woman at a wedding should go home with a slice of groom’s cake and sleep with it under her pillow. That night, according to legend, she’ll dream of her future husband. Whether or not the folklore holds true, it seems that the old Southern tradition of the groom’s cake is making a comeback — not only in the South but in metropolitan areas all over the nation, where designers are whipping up elaborate confections that reflect the groom’s interests in a dramatic and memorable way.

This Isn’t Your Mother’s Groom’s Cake

For example, I recently attended a Manhattan wedding that featured a particularly spectacular — and humorous — groom’s cake. The cake modeled the groom’s Labrador Retriever, who was lying on a cake pillow, guarding the fondant-built keys to the groom’s BMW. The detail was phenomenal, from the dog’s realistic fur down to the BMW insignia on the keyring. And by all accounts, the groom was quite impressed with this clever surprise by his bride. Of course, not all groom’s cakes are this detailed or elaborate, but in a ceremony that typically seems to be all about the bride, there’s something to be said for spotlighting the groom’s unique personality in a special cake.

At Jody’s Pantry, we’ve seen the groom honored in cake form with requests ranging from a whimsical farm, complete with cows and John Deere tractors, to an intricate scale of justice architected with marbelized fondant — for a lawyer, of course. More common requests include cakes that resemble tuxedos, complete with lapels, bow tie and a small boutonniere made of fondant. Also popular this year are realistic “gift baskets,” complete with grapevine or fondant handles, and fresh fruit or chocolate-dipped strawberries that spill out from the center. Sports themes also make a frequent showing: footballs and basketballs are popular, and so are cakes in the shape of baseball caps.

It’s All About Timing

As for when to serve this tempting tribute to the other half? There’s no right or wrong answer — the rehearsal dinner is perfectly appropriate, as is the wedding reception itself. Either way, guests and groom alike are sure to enjoy this chance to see the groom’s interests or hobbies reflected in this once-in-a-lifetime form.

Still, there are guidelines involved, based on when you serve it. If serving the groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner, make sure the cake is whatever flavor the groom likes best — carrot cake, coconut cream, red velvet — whatever he loves.

But if you’re serving the groom’s cake at the wedding, this is a great opportunity to choose something rich and chocolate that offsets the traditional white wedding cake, such as a chocolate fudge torte with a decadent raspberry or chocolate mousse filling, or perhaps a peanut or almond creme. Seasonal factors play a role too. For example, many couples opt for a cream cheese-frosted, pecan-filled carrot cake for a fall wedding.

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How much does a groom’s cake cost? Just as with any other “occasion” cake, the pricing depends on the complexity of your design, the type of cake you choose, and any flavorings or fillings you desire. Basic buttercream designs start at around $1.25 per serving, and hit $8 a serving and up for the more intricate fondant designs. This is just a general guideline, though, as pricing differs widely from city to city, not to mention the variation between home-based bakers and licensed designers with storefronts. As always, if you want to make sure the finished result is a total delight, ask ahead of time for a taste test, customer referrals, and a Department of Agriculture license.

Now you’ve got the fine print out of the way, it’s time to get creative. From beer kegs to briefcases and race cars to reptiles, a talented baker can replicate just about anything in cake that your imagination can dream up. So honor your groom — and his vocation or favorite hobby — with a cake to remember, while adding a little whimsy to your reception. Who knows? Maybe even your single friends will benefit from your creative groom’s cake, and enjoy some remarkable “sweet dreams.”

Jody Wimer has been designing and creating custom wedding and celebration cakes since 1998, and is the proprietor of Jody’s Pantry at The Village Inn. Feeling passionately about taste, freshness and presentation, she’s created a scrumptious array of cake flavors and fillings, as well as an impressive portfolio of work. Complimentary tastings of cake and cookies are available by appointment. Published by special arrangement with FavorIdeas.

 

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76 Responses

  1. Tom

    I help run a wedding venue in Birmingham and can tell you that the tradition of a groom’s cake is alive and well! Although I come from the north where this was not a tradition, I really like this one!

    Reply
  2. Tiffany

    My brother is getting married in two weeks and the antler glasses we had broke when they had the name put on them so if someone could help me where I could get another set because where they got them is out.

    Reply
    • [email protected]

      Tiffany,
      * this might help
      * several links

      Reply
    • Kitty

      I am not sure what “antler glasses” are (maybe as in deer antlers?) so sorry, I cannot help you with this one.
      —MOG

      Reply
  3. Megan

    My fiance loves guns. I’m looking for pictures of gun groom’s cakes. If anyone could help me out it would be great.

    Reply
    • [email protected]

      Megan,
      * pics
      * more pics

      Reply
  4. laura

    I am getting married in April and my fiance is a huge deer hunter. Are there any designs that you have seen that incorporate deer hunting into the grooms cake??? I have been looking but have only found duck hunting, apparently these are very different! Thanks:)

    Reply
  5. Kimberly

    I’m getting married June 5th, 2010. And the world cup starts on the 11th. My fiance is a huge soccer fan. And is trying to plan our honeymoon around it. LOL But wanted to give him a grooms cake. Or incorparate soccer into our wedding cake. Just dont know how. Any ideas? I’m looking for a cake that looks like a soccer cake.

    Reply
  6. Kate

    I am getting married in April and my Fiance is a HUGE duck hunter. Can anyone give me some ideas for a grooms cake and/or table. I have seen one cake that had strawberries all around some ducks and i didn’t like that since he is allergic to strawberries. lol any suggestions are welcome! THANKS!

    Reply
  7. Fallon

    Hi! I really love all of the great groom cake ideas on here. I’m getting married next year and was wondering if anybody had any ideas for what I could do for my future husband – he is an aspiring rapper and spends all of his spare time writing songs and recording them at home. He also loves the NY Yankees. I was thinking of a way to incorporate both..maybe something to do with a microphone. IDK what else! lol HELP! 🙂 thanks

    Reply
    • stacey

      fallon, i might have found something that could work!! i ran across some ny yankee bling and thought it would work well with the cake i am posting. of course you could play it up like the pic or play it down with the money etc. i thought it would be neat to have the bling in place of the other chain with the money and $ symbol. thought i would take a shot at sending ya this, hope ya like it!! 😀

      Reply
      • Fallon

        This sounds great! I would love to do this but can’t seem to find a microphone cake topper thingy (lol) anywhere!

  8. Mia

    so i just found out what grooms cakes were and i want ideas for one. im going to be married in 6 months and i need ideas. he really likes music.. 😀

    Reply
    • stacey

      mia,
      great idea!! google image music cake you will see lots of neat pics for cakes. i love the musical notes!! what a way to establish his love for music with just notes it covers it all!! another idea is to take his fave band have someone design the album cover or band logo. another idea is to have round cake in shape and look of a record ( great for a vintage wedding).

      Reply
  9. Terri C.

    A MOG wrote that the bride’s family should pay for the grooms cake. I am planning to have a groom cake at the rehearsal dinner that I am planning for my son and his wife to be and guest. I feel that its our job to pay for everthing.

    Reply
  10. Lauren

    My husband to be is a huge plane fanatic as well as nascar. He knows every jet that flys over every event before they show it on tv. How can I incorporate both Nascar and the jets on a cake? Any ideas?!! Thanks so much ladies! (and gents)

    Reply
    • stacey

      Lauren, that is gonna be hard. unless you make it whimsical have a large cake with both a race track and a airplane runway parallel to each other. and make it look like they are about to race. have a racing number on the plane too. i hope that dont sound silly. but why not have a airplane cake… and for your wedding topper surprise him with this( i love this!!)…
      *NASCAR Wedding Cake Topper

      another idea is have a sheet cake, have like a road down middle, on both sides of road have a line of different planes and on other side have a lineup of nascars. it would look like a showcase of a hobby collection.
      one more idea: you know how thunderbirds fly over nascar? well why not have the nascar race track, and have planes flying over the track? it would be super amazing!! I think he would be astounded! i have posted a pic of a cake that could easily be done this way!! maybe it will inspire!

      Reply
    • Kara

      How about a sheet cake decorated as a Nascar track on the table, with a cake stand or two with jet-shaped cakes on them. It would give the illusion of elevation. You could drape a blue or cloud fabric behind the cakes and decorate the table cloth to look like earth.

      Reply
  11. Mellicent Wiley

    My daughter got married 07/07/2007. SEVEN was used throughout. Got married at 7:00 and 7 bells rang at 7:00 PM; 7 attendendants, 7 helped register, 7 aunts helped serve cake, etc. There were over 500 people there. Brides cake had 7 layers with 22 dozen roses between the layers. It was beautiful. Groom is an Elvis Fan…his cake was a huge shaped guitar that really looked real. The table decorations for his cake were a replica of Elvis’ house “Graceland” and a replica “Pink Cadillac”. People are still talking about her 7 layer cake and his Elvis table. The wedding was black and white with red roses and silver touches. Italian food was served at the wedding reception. My husband and sons went out in the woods and cut down trees over 20 feet tall (as she requested) and put them in boxes around the dance floor with little lights and black and silver balls. They left in a helicopter from the church parking lot. The rehearsal dinner was in another area at the church. BBQ was catered with a “Blue Hawaiian Theme” using Elvis and Hawaiian decorations. My daughter and I made “hotel” thank you bags for all the family and friends that stayed at hotels. I bought large gift bags and had all types of snacks with little notes from the newly weds inside. Examples for thank you gift bags were microwave popcorn with a label “Heather and Jason are so excited, they could just pop”; chocolate Hugs and Kisses “Hugs and Kisses from the Mr. and Mrs.”, etc. Now my youngest son is getting married in November 2009. My daughter and I are trying to come up with ideas for his wedding rehearsal dinner and cake for the wedding. He loves to hunt and fish. If anyone has any unique ideas, please share them.

    Reply
  12. nichole falcone

    😀 I’m getting my groom a surprise computer wedding cake. It’s his job, his hobby, his obsession! It will look like a flat LCD screen and a detailed keyboard. I can’t wait til he sees it at the wedding!

    Reply
    • Louise

      To Nichole… That’s exactly what I made for my nephew’s groom’s cake. He’s a computer guru for a large company in Charleston, SC. They got married at the beach in NC (closer to home). The lap top computer cake even had a Google screen showing his and his fiance’s nick names on it and the Googles search was “Love”. He was flabbergasted, to say the least, and extremely impressed. I’m sure your hubby-to-be will love a computer cake, especially if that’s his passion/obsession. 😀 Best wishes to you!

      Reply
  13. MOG

    “Camo” brings to mind green and for whatever the reason, green cake doesn’t cut it for me. Recently I became more aware that many of our soldiers wear “desert camo” that is shades of brown and tan — no green at all. That said, I can easily picture a yummy cake with shades of brown — actually chocolate — in patches and swirls that could be very pretty (and yummy). I realize you said the groom was into deer hunting so the difference in color might not work for you. In any case, enjoy and good luck to you both.

    Reply
  14. Marissa

    Sonya:

    My best friend Ashley had a chocolate cake with a browning emblem on it made for her groom and they had like an old fashioned wash tub and put bottled cokes in it and had mints in the shape of leaves. Hope this helps…

    Reply
  15. sonya

    Im looking to do my wedding with some camo stuff he is a huge fan of deer hunting any ideas on a grooms cake?

    Reply
    • Carole j

      Our son is also a hunter. I will have a chocolate mousse rectangle with a “shot gun shell” on top. Done in half round.
      Its fun. Since Chocolate and peanut better is favorite, we will have a Reese cup Choc. mousse.
      Good luck Carole j

      Reply
  16. MOG

    Sweet Home Alabama! I like it. I tend to agree the black frosting might discolor teeth — even if for only a short time. Chocolate icing is pretty close. Ask your baker if he could use dark chocolate and get a similiar effect. But please — consider involving the bride in the planning of the “groom’s cake.” By tradition, it is supposed to be from her (not the groom’s family) and this would be no time to steal her thunder so to speak! Have fun and enjoy!

    Reply
  17. Marissa

    😕 HI!
    MY BROTHER’S WEDDING IS NEXT MARCH AND MY FAMILY IS TRYING TO DESIGN HIS GROOM’S CAKE. WE HAD THE IDEA TO DO ALABAMA AND DO HOUNDSTOOTH, BUT THE PLACE WHERE WE WENT TO GO GET A PRICE SAID THAT THE BLACK HOUNDSTOOTH ICING WILL TURN PEOPLE’S MOUTH BLACK. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

    Reply
  18. MOG

    Marlene –
    Grapes? That’s a new one on me. There was “tradition” that included chocolate in so much as the groom’s cake was not to take away from the actual wedding cake (which was usually white in color) but that’s the only one I am familiar with. These days I think one can comfortably say “anything goes” (within taste, of course!)
    Good luck and enjoy!

    Reply
  19. Marlene Basham

    Does a classic groom’s cake have to have grapes on or around it?

    Reply
  20. MOG

    Good news, Larry – The groom’s cake doesn’t have to be chocolate. The original idea was that it should look different from the wedding cake. Whereas traditionally wedding cakes were white (vanilla) the opposite being chocolate became a natural. Now a days, the sky is the limit.

    By John Deere I assume you mean the tractor company? Check out their website for pictures. Match Box also manufactures mini versions as toys that could be incorporated into something for you as well. Just be sure (in this new age of awareness) they are lead free if you use them on the cake itself. Have fun creating!

    Reply
  21. Larry D. Oliver

    Hi, need ideas or pictures of a groom’s John Deere cake, and does the groom’s cake always have to be chocolate? As long as you put chocolate strawberries or peanuts or something on the table?

    Reply
  22. MOG

    Sorry, Paul — traditionally the “grooms cake” is a token from the bride and not the groom’s family. That said, the bride (or her family) should be paying for it. It’s sometimes hard for the groom’s family not to feel left out but have fun with your one true assignment — the rehearsal dinner — and choose a theme that reflects your son’s personality (country/western, sports, music — you name it) in much the same way you had thought of with the cake. Good luck and enjoy!

    Reply
  23. MOG

    Cheryl – recently went to a wedding where the “cake” was actually a tower of assorted cup cakes. It worked and worked well.
    As for the “cake table,” I assume you mean grooms cake — what about a sheet cake that is made to look like an apron? You could have cooking utensils coming out of the pocket (real or frosting). Course, the chef’s hat works for me, too.
    Good luck and have fun!

    Reply

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