Often thought of as a niche southern tradition, the groom’s cake has become increasingly popular everywhere – Prince William even chose an elegantly decorated but unconventional biscuit cake for 2011’s royal wedding.

Although historical accounts vary, one theory states that the groom’s cake originated in the 17th century as a rich, dark fruit cake baked by the groom’s parents that was then wrapped in small packages and distributed to guests to enjoy on their long trip home. (Some people still slice it and send it home as a favor.) According to legend, if an unwed woman placed the pastry beneath her pillow, she would dream of her future husband.

These days, the groom’s cake may make its appearance at the reception, (separate from the wedding cake), where all the guests can share in the creativity. But the detail and magnitude can overshadow the wedding cake, so couples choose to serve it at the rehearsal dinner. Chocolate and candy flavors always are popular. Funfetti-style cakes are a groom favorite, as is red velvet.

On the whimsical end of the design spectrum, the groom’s cake is a great way to showcase his passions or background in an event that is often largely about the bride. Sports themes to a replica of a fraternity house, a couple dancing in the Stanford water fountain, the groom’s favorite car and a wolf howling at the moon, for a groom named Wolfe.

But if you’re looking for a sophisticated twist, separate cakes taste just as sweet.

©CTW Features