Southern Wedding Tradition: The Groom's Cake

The groom's cake is arguably the best-known Southern wedding tradition, thanks to staff favorite Steel Magnolias! Today we're sharing the scoop on all the details behind this quirky and deeply-seated sweet.

Armadillo groom's cake photo by Matthew Johnson Studios

Groom's cakes can be traced back to England's Victorian era, when there were three cakes at a wedding - the wedding cake, which was served to the guests; the groom's cake, which was served to the groomsmen; and the bride's cake, which was served to the bridesmaids.

The earliest groom's cakes were actually fruitcakes! Thankfully, fruit cake no longer rules as the flavor of choice, but groom's cakes are still usually made of dark chocolate with fruit or liqueur, perhaps to contrast with the white or light-colored traditional wedding cake. These days, almost anything goes for the groom's cake, from intricate designs customized to the gent of honor's favorite hobbies, to the red velvet armadillo made famous by Steel Magnolias. Some groom's cakes aren't even cakes at all but towers of Oreos and glasses of cold milk, hot doughnuts passed on trays, or a spread of favorite childhood treats baked by mama.

Groomsmen everywhere would no doubt be terrified to learn that the male half of the bridal party used to be responsible for whipping up the groom's cake on the morning of the wedding, but it's true! Legend also holds that if an unmarried woman sleeps with a slice of groom's cake under her pillow, she'll dream of her future husband.

We can't support singling out your single friends, but we think to-go boxes filled with cake would make any wedding guest quite pleased at the end of the night. Whatever sweet you decide to serve, and whenever or however you choose to serve it, make sure the groom's cake is an obvious nod to your handsome beau. This one's all about him!

Looking for more groom's cake inspiration? You can search for real weddings that included one in our gallery. And tell us: Did you serve a groom's cake at your wedding? What did it look like? What's the most interesting groom's cake design you've ever seen?

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