This old fashioned wedding cake recipe makes a charming heart-shaped Bride's Cake that's absolutely delicious and suitable for serving at weddings and on special occasions. Plus, its White House history makes it a great conversation piece.
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)
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.
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. (You might need to double the recipe for 2 layers depending on the size of your pans.)
The dainty heart-shaped bride's cake carries with it an illustrious background. Its creator Mrs. Betty Lyles Wilson was a noted domestic chef, the Martha Stewart 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 of the wedding, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) was the 28th President of the United States serving from 1913 to 1921.
The vintage 3D photo below reveals the spacious opulence of the East Room in the White House as it appeared in 1902. It would likely have looked very similar a decade later at the time of Jessie Wilson Sayre's wedding in 1913.
Wedding cakes are traditionally served to wedding guests at a formal reception, or at an intimate wedding breakfast. An old fashioned 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 bride's cake perfectly complemented the formal White House marriage celebration.
Traditional Wedding Anniversaries and celebration themes: