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Her First Wedding Cake

For a time, during the 40’s and 50’s, it wasn’t unusual for a girl to be married in a nice suit rather than a bridal gown.  My two oldest brothers were married during the 50’s and their wives did that. Money was tight.  Another way to save money was to make your own cake…..probably that means “Mom” makes the cake.  My oldest sister was married during that time period, but I don’t think Mom made her cake.  Probably my sister was more in control of the procedures surrounding her wedding and she had the local bakery do that.

I notice several things in this clipping that are much different now.  Although you can still buy powdered sugar in one-pound boxes, we more commonly by it by the two-pound bag.  But then, plastic packaging wasn’t as prevalent then.  I noticed several references to “sifting”…either the dry ingredients or the powdered sugar.  I got rid of my sifter many years ago when I downsized my kitchen utensils, so if following these instructions would you just say, “I don’t have a sifter….it’ll be ok without”…..I probably would.  I honestly don’t know if it makes a big difference or not.

At the time this was published, it would cost between $40 and $60 to get a wedding cake.  I know you can get a nice-sized sheet cake at Walmart for less than $40, but I think this contributor was comparing to a Mom & Pop type of bakery, and we had one in our town.  So, I can’t quibble about the price of a cake….maybe includes the price of delivery; I really don’t know.  I find the calculation that the cake could be made for an expense of only $7 amazing, especially since we’re talking 9 boxes of cake mix plus 8 boxes of powdered sugar!  Incidentally, the clipping doesn’t indicate how many people the cake is expected to feed.  Using the serving estimate on a box of chocolate cake mix I had in the freezer (12 servings), I’m guessing you could serve about a hundred guests, even after removing the top layer.

Her First Wedding Cake

Dear Hope and Household:  I’m writing in the hopes that I will be of help to the lady who wanted to know about wedding cakes.  I made a wedding cake for my niece’s wedding in October.  It was my first attempt and as the time drew near I had a bad case of the jitters.  Last spring I sent for a set of pans, never thinking I’d be needing them for a wedding cake.  I used the two smaller ones and the larger one.  I left out the other layer because it didn’t look like I’d have any space for cutting if I used it.  The top the bride was going to put in the freezer for the first anniversary so it didn’t matter about the space between the first two.  These were all two inches deep.  I used a large pan 15 inches across and three inches deep that my grandmother had, for the bottom.  (My mother made my wedding cake in that).

I didn’t trust my own mixing, so I used a cake mix.  All together I used 9 boxes of mix and almost 8 boxes of powdered sugar, and about 12 egg whites.  Here is the frosting I used, a very good one:

2 stiffly beaten egg whites
2 cups powdered sugar sifted
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon glycerine (optional)
1/2 teaspoon flavoring

I put 5 boxes of cake mix in the large bottom pan.  I mixed 2 boxes together twice, and then 1 box.  These I put all together in a large pan and beat together with my mixer.  I didn’t think I should mix more than 2 boxes at a time.  I also added 3 egg whites to this mixture,.  I baked it for an hour and 55 minutes at 325 degrees.  It was just as moist as could be. I received loads of compliments and people said it was nicer and prettier than the boughten ones.  They range from about $40 to $60 at a bakery.  I bought a few ornaments and made the rest of the frosting.  It came to about $7.  Quite a difference, and a wonderful experience.  I’ve been asked to make another one already.  It’s quite a challenge.  I hope I will do even better with this one.

Any large board or hard surface will do to move it on.  A mirror would be nice to use as a base.  I’d put something stronger under this if it is to be moved.  I used a large piece of three-quarter inch plywood.  A large bread board is fine.


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