Cake Pulls: A Southern Tradition

Posted by Haydel's Bakery on 13th Mar 2013

Ahh, the South. With its grand tradition and fanfare, this Louisiana native thinks there is simply no finer or more magical place. We cherish and celebrate long-held customs, many of which have either fallen by the wayside elsewhere or simply never existed…the blessing of a hand written thank you note, use of the classic monogram anywhere we can put it, a gentleman holding the door for a lady (especially the car door *sigh*), and of course, our customary greeting, a kiss on the cheek. If you’re not a Southerner, bless your heart, you may have never heard of cake pulls, but here in New Orleans, they’re as traditional and beloved as red beans and rice on Monday night.

The history of cake pulls can be traced back to Victorian times. Originally called “ribbon pulling,” a bride would place tiny charms of fortune in the wedding cake for her single friends. Still popular with modern southern brides, sterling silver charms are placed inside the cake and attached to ribbons or bracelets. Members of the wedding party are invited to pull a charm from the cake before it’s cut.

Sometimes, the bride will request that a member of the wedding party receive a

specific charm. In this case, the special charm is denoted with a different knot or a slightly different ribbon than the others. The bearer keeps the charm and often the bride will give a charm bracelet as a gift to her bridesmaids on which the charm can be displayed.

Charms are not baked into the cake, but rather added after baking. They are hidden between the layers or underneath the cake for easy removal. Each charm has a different meaning. Here are some of our favorites, many traditional and others unique to New Orleans:

High Chair – Next to have a baby
Rocking Chair – Long life ahead
Chili Pepper – Red hot romance
Telephone – Good news is coming
Cinderella’s Carriage – Happily ever after
Clover/Shamrock/Horseshoe – Good luck
Money Bag – Financial security
Wishing Well – Wish will be granted
Guardian Angel – Someone special is looking after you
Captain’s Wheel – Confidence
Flower – A blossoming relationship
Tiger – Wisdom
Button – Old maid or bachelorette
Ring – Next to marry
Bells – Soon to be wed
Heart – Your love is a true love
Hot Sauce Bottle – Sizzling love
Fleur De Lis – New beginning or rebirth
Oyster with Pearl – Wealth and prosperity
Lamp Post – Bright future
Street Car – Good news is coming with travel
Water Meter – Strength and stability
Mardi Gras Bead Dog© – Young at heart

No matter where it is you call home, embrace your local tradition by including it (or even some of ours) in your festivities and laissez les bons temps rouler!

Happy wedding season y’all!