An Old-Fashioned Outdoor Wedding from 1972

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One of my first blogs was about my favorite vintage food magazine, Sphere, which began publication in February of 1972.  It also is the blog that people still find in Google and are so excited to learn that there are other die hard fans of the magazine to this day.  There has never been a time since I wrote that original blog, that I don’t receive at least several requests per month for an old favorite recipe.  Almost every email starts out –  “I loved Sphere magazine.  One of my favorite recipes was from the magazine, but I lost it.  Could you help me?”  The writer will go into detail about why they loved it, what occasion they first made it for, and what memories it brought back.  Most times I can find the recipe and sometimes I can’t – but I always try.  This summer, I had requests for the homemade ice creams, frozen desserts, and anything with berries.  At Christmas, the requests are for cookies and holiday meals.  I am expecting many requests for soups, stews, and breads coming soon.  I had a request for a recipe in this particular issue from August/September 1972, and found it was the “HeritageWedding” article.  I have had many, many requests for this one.
The article is about planning your own old-fashioned outdoor wedding, including the cake-  and even the dress!  It said this wedding and all its elements are like “poking into your grandmother’s treasure chest, finding the cameo you always wanted, and finally putting it on.”  The food is simple and good, but the cake is the scene stealer, next to the bride, that is.  You can see the unusual cake on the table, with its 12 layers, and displays of thistles, sunflowers, and mushrooms, all made of meringue.  Six date-nut and lemon pound cake layers are stacked alternately, each layer covered with a cranberry, apricot, or plum filling, then sprinkled with a fruit liqueur.  The frosting is coffee buttercream, along with chocolate leaves and stems.  The layers of the cake can be baked three weeks ahead and frozen, the meringue decorations a week before, and the cake itself can be assembled and frosted the day before.  The meringue mushrooms maintain an old European tradition.  The mushrooms not on the cake are piled into baskets and distributed by the bride as a good luck wish. 
Here is a beautiful slice of the cake.
The bride’s dress is embroidered with the theme of the simple foods and the natural outdoor environment.  There even was a pattern you could send for to make the gown with the crewel embroidery, and bridemaids dresses, all for the huge sum of $2.25, which included the postage!  The crewel on the dress captured the charm of Queen Anne’s lace, lunaria, wheat shafts, and mushrooms, done in white, ecru, and beige, with accents in rust and rosy beige.  Made of ivory-colored Kettlecloth, the dress bears a decollete neckline elegantly, with sleeves that arch gently above the shoulder line and curve into a flair at the waist.  The lines of the bridesmaids dresses dresses are identical to the bridal gown, but with a different fabric.  As the article states, “Both are fun to wear; you can frolic in them!” 
Now fast forward to the October 1973 issue of Sphere.  There is an article titled “Encore for a Great Cake,” which is a smaller version, seen above, of the famous original.  The tiered cake fed from 80 to 100 guests, while this scaled-down version serves 16-18.  It could even be a groom’s cake.
One of these days I am going to make this cake;  I have wanted to do it since I first saw it in 1972.  Now all I need is a bride! 

21 Responses to An Old-Fashioned Outdoor Wedding from 1972

  1. September 6, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    Oh my gosh, I would love this recipe! I just did a search on this issue and the article, and came up empty. Any suggestions on finding the recipe?

  2. September 6, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    Hi Kathleen! I don’t think any of the old Sphere recipes can be found online, but I would be glad to make a copy of the article and recipe and mail it to you. Send me an email at [email protected] and give me an address where you would like it mailed. I’ll get it out to you right away!

  3. September 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    That cake looks really good! I’ve never heard of this magazine! Sad, that so many food magazines are gone!

  4. September 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Lisa, you would love Sphere. So many wonderful recipes!

  5. March 31, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    You have touched on a subject I have thought of for many years–that wonderful wedding in Sphere magazine! Thank you! It’s so nice to find someone else who appreciated that wonderful magazine. I have only 1 or 2 issues, but still have the Essential Guide to Herbs and Spices that they published–a wealth of information. That magazine had so many arts and offshoots that Sphere really was a good name for it. I have been so bold as to send you an email asking for the above two recipes for that wonderfully appealing woodsy cake recipe. If it’s too much trouble, don’t worry about it. But if you can, I will forever be in your debt!
    Thanks for your great blog!!!
    Jeanne Nooney

    • March 31, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

      Jeanne, I am so happy to hear from another Sphere lover! I sent you a separate email about the wedding. I get requests for that one a lot! I don’t remember the Essential Guide to Herbs and Spices, but I’m sure it’s great just like everything else they did. I just finished writing the second blog in the series of blogs I will be writing about Sphere. It will be posted on April 9th, so look for it! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. May 3, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    I fell in love with the wedding dress while is college, just months before I became engaged. I made this dress and loved it. My roommate hooked me on Sphere, but a drunk took her away from her family and friends. Her dear mother offered to help with the embroidery, giving us time together as we talked about missing Marcia. Mrs. K. and I became close friends. She lived to age 90. She was a gift to the world.

    • May 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

      Lorrie, I’m so sorry about the loss of your friend Marcia. It sounds like you were such a comfort to her mom during a time of grieving. The wedding dress was quite amazing and it must be so special to you. God Bless.

  7. May 20, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    I just emailed this web page to my daughter with the note, “This was your mommy’s and daddy’s wedding!” I still have the wedding dress my mom made and embroidered (although I can’t get into it anymore!). A friend of my mom’s made the cake and I remember it was wonderful! The bridesmaids wore pink and purple print halter dresses and the groom and groomsmen were dressed in blue cotton suede pants and vests, and white shirts! We were married in a public garden and my father always referred to it as the “hippie wedding”! I have my mom’s copies of Sphere and Cuisine and I still use them (an easy strawberry pie recipe is a summer family favorite). Thanks so much for the memories!

    • May 23, 2014 at 8:54 am #

      Denni, I love hearing from my readers who actually did that fabulous Sphere wedding! Every person who has written me about this over the years always remembers it with such fondness and how wonderful the cake turned out. Thank you so much for writing and finding another kindred spirit with our beloved Sphere!

  8. May 17, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

    Does anybody have the wedding dress pattern from this issue?

    • May 17, 2018 at 3:05 pm #

      Heidi, I would love to find someone who has the pattern for the wedding dress because I get requests all the time for it. That issue of Sphere with the wedding is the most requested that I have received of all the Sphere magazines, mostly for the dress and wedding cake. Some of the required ingredients for the cake are no longer on the market, but for all of you out there who want to recreate the beautiful cake, I am currently working on a way to accomplish this. I will most definitely post it when it’s done. As far as the dress goes, I am always on the lookout for someone who has the pattern that I can copy and share.

      • May 18, 2018 at 2:33 pm #

        Thank you!!

  9. July 19, 2022 at 5:42 pm #

    Researching the above mentioned wedding cake. I married in 1975, and actually made this 3 tiered cake. I also made the gown.
    Over the years, I’ve lost the recipe, I’d love a copy of the smaller cake.
    Thanks in advance

    • July 19, 2022 at 8:16 pm #

      Cat, I love hearing from readers who made the cake, and especially the gown! I will be happy to make a copy of the smaller cake for you. I’m sending you an email.

  10. January 21, 2023 at 11:00 am #

    I, too would love a copy of the smaller cake recipe of October 1973. My daughter wants this cake for her wedding and I have to make a “test version” for taste testers in the family.

    • January 21, 2023 at 10:31 pm #

      I’ll get on it, Ellen!

  11. January 22, 2023 at 7:18 am #

    Thank you Debbie. Actually, this Encore for a Great Cake recipe size may work for the small wedding my daughter is having. I could double if needed. I am looking forward to receiving the recipe.

    • January 22, 2023 at 8:03 am #

      Ellen, check your email. I had to send it in 3 separate emails. Let me know if you got them and you can read them okay. Wonderful that you are making this lovely cake!

  12. January 22, 2023 at 11:05 am #

    Good Morning Debbie,
    Yes, I got your emails and was able to read the recipe. What a wonderful service this is and it has taken so much stress off of me to attempt to modify a recipe. I was hoping to create this by February 5th. Thank you so much! My family thanks you,

    • January 22, 2023 at 11:44 am #

      You’re welcome, Ellen! I’m so happy you found me in time for the wedding.

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