A wedding cake is the traditional centerpiece at the wedding reception. You might find it interesting that originally, the cake was not eaten by, but thrown at the bride! It developed as one of the many fertility traditions surrounding a wedding. Ancient Romans believed that wheat and barley were symbols of fertility and so, wedding cakes included one or both of these ingredients. Incidentally, wheat was among the earliest grains (predating rice) to be ceremoniously showered on the bride and groom. In its earliest origins, the unmarried young women attending the wedding were expected to scramble for the grains to ensure their own betrothals, much as they do today for the bridal bouquet. Somewhere around 100 B.C.E., Roman bakers began creating small, sweet cakes with it. The tradition of pelting the bride, or breaking it over her head, died hard. The Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius in "On the Nature of Things" ("De Rerum Natura") wrote that the throwing tradition mellowed into a custom of crumbling the sweet, wheat cakes over the bride's head. As a further symbol of fertility, the couple was required to eat some of the crumbs, a custom known as "confarreato," translated into "eating together." After all the cakes were used up, the guests were supplied with handfuls of "confetto," a sweet meats mixture of nuts, dried fruit, and honeyed almonds.