White Wedding Cake Recipe

White Wedding Cake Recipe from White House Wedding of Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre In 1913White Wedding Cake from the 1913 Wilson-Sayre Wedding

Enjoy trying this old fashioned white wedding cake recipe. The charming heart-shaped bride's cake is delicious and suitable for serving on any special occasion, not just weddings, and its history as outlined below makes it a great conversation piece.

Baked in a round pan, it's the perfect cake for any party or get-together where you've been asked to bring a cake. People will love it, and you'll feel pride in having made it.


Make Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre's
White Bride's Cake from Scratch

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

A heart-shaped bride's cake requires that two cakes be made, one square and one round. Cut the round cake in half and position the halves on two sides of the square cake to make the heart. You'll need to double the white wedding cake recipe to make two cakes, unless a heart-shaped baking pan is used.

Cream 1 cup shortening and 2 cups sugar together well. Sift 5 teaspoons baking powder, 4-1/2 cups flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together five times; add alternately a little at a time with 1-1/4 cups sweet milk, and beat thoroughly. Add 8 egg whites which have been beaten stiff, and 1 teaspoon almond extract, and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract last.

Bake in slow oven at 325°F until perfectly firm to the touch, or about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Makes one 9-inch round loaf.

Decorate the wedding cake using traditional white icing and trim with pink.

About the White Wedding Cake Recipe

This dainty bride's cake carries with it an illustrious background. Mrs. Betty Lyles Wilson was a noted domestic chef, the Julia Child of her day. Though unrelated to the Woodrow Wilson family, she adapted a favorite white cake recipe to bake a small heart-shaped bride's cake decorated in pink and white frosting for the White House wedding of President Woodrow Wilson's daughter.

Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre (1887-1933), a Princeton graduate, was the second daughter of President Woodrow Wilson. At age 26, she married Francis Bowes Sayre in the famous East Room of the White House on Monday, November 25, 1913. At the time, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was the 28th President of the United States serving from 1913 to 1921.

The East Room in 3D

The vintage photo below reveals the opulence of the East Room in the White House as it appeared in 1902. It would likely have looked very similar at the time of Jessie Wilson Sayre's wedding in 1913.

Stereoscopic Image Of The White House East Room In Washington, DC, 1902White House East Room in 1902
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C., LC-USZ62-105552

View in 3D

Antique StereoscopeAntique Stereoscope

The double image is an old fashioned stereoscopic photograph. It can be viewed by leaning close and staring through the images while slightly crossing the eyes until the two images converge to form one 3D picture in the center. Some people find this method easier to do than others, but it is fun to try.


Bride's Wedding Cake Recipe

Wedding Bride CakeHomemade Bride's Cake Perfect for a Wedding
(Source: Selected Recipes and Menus)

Selected Recipes and Menus (ca.1920)

3/4 cup shortening
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk
3-1/2 cups flour, sifted
3-1/2 level teaspoons baking powder
4 Egg whites

Beat the sugar and shortening to a cream. Add flour, baking powder, and milk alternately. Beat eggs whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Bake in large round pan in a moderate oven (325°F) for 50 minutes. (Double the recipe for 2 layers.)

Wedding Cake Tradition

Wedding cakes are traditionally served to wedding guests at a formal reception, or at an intimate wedding breakfast. A white wedding cake recipe typically calls for the finest in lightest-colored ingredients.

The white color of the cake symbolizes the purity of marriage, and the joint cutting of the cake by the bride and groom symbolizes their first joint task in married life.

The beauty and simplicity of Betty Wilson's famous white cake perfectly complemented the formal White House marriage celebration.

Traditional Wedding Anniversaries:

First year, Cotton; 2nd, Paper; 3rd, Leather; 5th, Wooden; 7th, Woolen; 10th Tin; 12th, Linen; 15th, Crystal; 20th, China; 25th, Silver; 30th, Pearl; 40th, Ruby; 50th, Golden; 60th, Diamond; 65th, Blue Sapphire; 70th, Platinum.


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