Old Fashioned Wedding Cake Recipe

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.

Old Fashioned Wedding Cake Recipe for Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre's White Bride's Cake

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

Vintage Bride IllustrationBeautiful Young Bride circa 1920
(PD Source: Adapted by Don Bell)

The 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 shape.

You'll need to double the cake recipe to make two cakes, unless a heart-shaped baking pan is used.

When 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.

White Bride's Cake

White Heart-Shaped Wedding Cake1913 Wilson-Sayre White Wedding Cake
(PD Source: Adapted by Don Bell)

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.

Old Fashioned Wedding Cake Recipe

Selected Recipes and Menus (ca.1920)

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

Wedding Bride's Cake

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.)

About the Old Fashioned Wedding Cake Recipe

Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre In Her Wedding Dress 1913Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayer - 1913
(Source: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library)

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 White House East Room in 3D

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.

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
Girl with an Antique Stereoscope

How to View Vintage 3D Photos: The double image is an old time stereoscopic photograph. It can be viewed in 3D 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 always fun to try.

Wedding Cake Traditions

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:

  • 1 year, Cotton
  • 2 years, Paper
  • 3 years, Leather
  • 5 years, Wooden
  • 7 years, Woolen
  • 10 years Tin
  • 12 years, Linen
  • 15 years, Crystal
  • 20 years, China
  • 25 years, Silver
  • 30 years, Pearl
  • 40 years, Ruby
  • 50 years, Golden
  • 60 years, Diamond
  • 65 years, Blue Sapphire
  • 70 years, Platinum

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