Sheila Sybrant

Finding cake at a wedding should be a cakewalk, right?

Besides a bride and a groom, one thing that always used to be a given at a wedding was wedding cake. At one time, whether a wedding included a full meal or not, you could be certain that if you went to the celebration, you would be able to indulge in a sweet, baked confection made from batter and topped with thick frosting.

This certainty has now toppled much like the top layer of a poorly assembled wedding cake.

Brides (and grooms) are rebelling against the cake tradition and getting much more creative in their dessert choices. My daughter-in-law chose ice cream and toppings as a dessert at her wedding to my son. And at a wedding we attended last weekend, although cake was served, the main attraction of the dessert table was an assortment of attractively arranged cupcakes. And that wedding was not the first we'd attended at which cupcakes were the pièce de résistance.

When I got married many years ago, it was an unspoken "rule" that cake should rule the dessert table. Weddings featured not only an elaborate tiered cake with a bride and groom figurine on top but also a groom's cake.

Cupcakes at the time … well, I don't think it's a stretch to say "the lowly cupcake." Cupcakes were unsophisticated, certainly not an item around which entire businesses were spawned, as is true today.

I do like cake, but I'm not married to it (pun intended) as a wedding dessert. I say kudos to all of the brides who work hard to create a one-of-a-kind day.

Granted, with anything other than a tiered cake, there is no top tier for the newly married couple to put in the freezer to eat in celebration of the one-year anniversary.

In truth, though, after a year in the freezer, many top tiers look about as ragged as a marriage verging on divorce. And even if the tier is all in one piece with the frosting still attached and not caking off in chunks, does anyone really want to eat it? No matter how well wrapped, after a year in the freezer, any food tastes like … well, the freezer. Is that how a couple who have hit the one-year milestone really want to celebrate — by eating stale, less-than-yummy cake?

I'm pretty sure our top tier resided in the freezer for a year, at which point it was unceremoniously tossed in the garbage.

Cake does have a long history of appearances in weddings, dating to ancient civilizations. Of course, the basic makeup of cakes has changed; at one time, they were not the sugar-infused, light and crumbly creations that we know today.

And the particular traditions affiliated with wedding cake have changed, too, depending on culture and time period. In ancient Rome, according to several sources, wheat or barley was used to make the cake, which was probably more like bread, and the groom would break the cake over the bride's head. Different sources give different reasons for this; regardless, since brides often take over the wedding planning, it is no surprise that this tradition went by the wayside.

Of course, still today, brides and grooms sometimes smash pieces of cake into each other's faces. Perhaps, more clearly than anything, this explains why brides today are choosing things like ice cream and cupcakes instead of cake.

Noncake choices, although not traditional, are still delicious, sound alternatives. Thus, in a metaphorical sense, not having cake means that you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Readers may contact Sheila at svsybrant@gmail.com or 45092 859th Road, Bassett, Nebraska 68714.

In other news

LYONS — Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur Northeast stuck with the Sutton Mustangs the entire night here in the Class C2 high school football playoffs Friday night, but the Wolverines couldn’t come up with a play down the stretch as they were eliminated in the semifinals, 38-28.

The Norfolk Senior Citizens Center serves congregate meals Mondays through Fridays at noon. Reservations for the meals are needed. These should be made the day of the desired meal or prior to 9:30 a.m. by calling the senior center, 402-371-8299 or 402-371-3930.