When planning the wedding my cousins received numerous offers from the extremely talented women of our family to make them a wedding cake (any one of these women could have produced a most stunning cake, they are extremely good).
Now, someone uninitiated in the ways of our family would probably have accepted the first generous offer and had that wonderful cake at their wedding.
And we would display the corpses of these people as a warning against such innocent naiveté.
My cousins are wilier than that. They knew that accepting any one cake would be construed as a dire and mortal insult to every other half-way competent cook in the family, one that could only ever be matched by something equally severe, like murdering their first born and eating the corpse in front of them. But even that might not offend them so much as them asking another relative to make them a wedding cake.
To avoid offending any of them my cousins decided to get a caterer to bake a cake (now, on hearing this I instantly headed for the nearest nuclear shelter and set the timer for 10 years when I would emerge to pick up the pieces and set up a small monument on my cousin’s graves... but apparently this worked. I can only assume they sold their souls to a daemonic entity of choice to pull that one off).
Of course, the worthy ladies and their cakes are not so easily put off. The wedding comes round and it turns out that several of these good women have decided to surprise the happy couple with perfect, multi-tiered wedding cakes... Have you ever seen 2 women enter the same room, each burdened with a large wedding cake? *cue high noon music*
Now begins the dance of the cake and a whole new school of etiquette arises.
The Bride and Groom will avoid ALL cakes as much as possible. Any photographs will include ALL cakes or none (though pictures of them before a table of 6 wedding cakes looks quite stunning really). They will not cut ANY cake. They must eat all cakes in equal quantities. The bakers of said cakes WILL measure pieces to the micrometer. Efforts must be taken to hide the order in which cakes were eaten.
A guest eating any cake conveys 2 messages: 1, this cake is the best cake ever and all the rest taste like sawdust marinated in manure and 2, the baker of this cake is a saint before whom all good men should bow while the baker of all the other cakes are vile daemons in human form upon whom with vomit our derision and scorn. Bakers of cake will treat you accordingly.
A guest eating 2 different cakes will get all of the criticism and none of the comment.
Any guest may be ambushed at any time to give a full and complete appraisal of any cake. Failing to criticise an opponent’s cake with sufficient venom or praise her cake with sufficient glowing benedictions will result in you being cast into the nether hells. NOTE: the fact you haven’t eaten any cake is NO defence and no excuse.
Carefully manoeuvre through the crowd as at any moment you can be ambushed by a woman holding a platter full of cake who will demand you eat a piece (cue Jaws theme). There is no excuse to not eating. Being full/having already had a piece/being diabetic/being DEAD are not sufficient excuses. Once consumption is complete please refer to the above point.
The catered cake should be avoided at ALL cost. No-one will cut it, eat it or otherwise have any contact with it. You should not stand too close to the cake, should most certainly not mention it, should not take photographs of it and should avoid even thinking about this cake. Even heaping derision on this cake cannot expunge the sin of having even considered it for a second. I suspect my cousins will surreptitiously call guests to their home during the dead of night and furtively distribute pieces of cake that have been carefully wrapped in brown manilla envelopes.
On the bonus side, we’ll all be eating wedding cake for years to come