After the religious ritual of a christening, it’s time for the festivities – and that usually means a feast, followed by a christening cake.
A christening is a “life-cycle” event, where guests gather to mark an important ritual which welcomes a new member of their religious community.
Birthdays and weddings are celebrated with a ritual of cake-cutting – and it’s also part of the celebration of a christening to take some time during the celebratory event afterwards, to gather around and celebrate the new parents, the Godparents and the newly christened baby as the christening cake is cut and speeches are made.
In some traditions, the christening cake used at the christening of a married couple’s first child, is actually the top layer of a multi-layered wedding cake. However, it’s not always the case that a christening takes place soon enough after a wedding for the top layer to be used! And for subsequent children, of course, a new cake is baked.
Like wedding cakes, the design of a traditional christening cake is often a fruit cake that has been decorated with thick marzipan-style white icing and decorated with faux icing flowers.
Contemporary christening cakes are often designed to have less formal decorations, with colourful baby-themed design such as toys or alphabet blocks, perhaps with a pink-for-girls or blue-for-boys design highlighted through the decorative icing.
Some families choose to ditch the heavy fruit-cake for a less heavy madeira cake, a light vanilla sponge – or even a chocolate cake; though of course, unlike the traditional fruit and nut cake, a cut slice of these cakes won’t last for more than a day or two, so it doesn’t make a good take-home for guests.
Cutting the christening cake is a good way to indicate to your guests that the end of the party is near; it is often followed by opening the gifts if you choose to do so while the guests are still present.
Often, the new parents will cut the cake together and speeches will thank the godparents and those who helped to prepare for the event.
Depending on how young – and how tired, the new baby is, parents might try to time the cake-cutting and speeches section of the celebration so that baby is awake and able to participate in photographs.
This article was written by Fran Molloy, www.ultraverse.com.au, journalist and mum of four