The 9 most important questions about Grover Cleveland’s wedding cake

As one of only three Presidents married while in office (and the only one married in the White House itself), Grover Cleveland’s 1882 marriage has attracted a lot of attention. That includes his wedding cake, which is why we’re answering nine crucial questions about Grover’s cake.

The basics

Q: What kind of cake did they have?

The Cake

Buffalo Museum


Yes, they had fruitcake at their wedding. In the 1800s, wedding cakes weren’t the elaborate multi-tiered productions they are today. Most cakes had a fruit base, and that included the President’s simple cake.

More specifically, it’s probably a baked plum cake.

Q: Was fruitcake Cleveland’s favorite or something?

Not necessarily. He probably preferred white cake (you can find a recipe here).

Q: Where did the cake come from and how did it get there?

The cake was delivered on an express train from New York, with individual boxes containing each layer. A carriage took the cake from the train station to the White House.

Q: Why do we even know about the cake?

The Clevelands gave out satin-covered cake boxes as souvenirs of their wedding. Guests treasured them and many saved the boxes (with cake intact). They also got bon-bons as wedding favors.

Q: Is that all that happened to the cake?

The cake wasn’t just a cake, it was a political gesture. Cleveland sent miniatures of the cake to all the surviving first ladies.

Q: Who cut the cake?

Frances did, with a pearl-handled knife.

The cake today

Q: Does the cake still exist?

Yes. There are pieces of the cake still out there. Because the cake was sent out as a souvenir, it’s difficult to know exactly how many exist, but we know of at least a couple of slices.

The cake is preserved because the jokes about fruitcake are true—it really does last forever.

Q: What’s been done with the cake?

At least one piece has been specially treated to “increase adhesion and prevent crumbling.” That helped determine the type of the cake and seal it against further crumbling.

Q: Can I see the cake in person?

Yes. You can see a different, untreated slice of the cake. It is one of the oldest cakes in America.

Your best bet is to visit Grover Cleveland’s birthplace in Caldwell, New Jersey.

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