This chapter opens with the recipe for the Chabela Wedding Cake. This is the same type of cake that Tita and Nacha make for Rosaura and Pedro’s wedding. Still upset by Rosaura’s decision to marry Tita’s lover Pedro, Tita misses the engagement party because of a “’headache’”. As punishment Mama Elena charges Tita with the preparation of all the wedding food needed for the 20-course meal they plan to serve. For the wedding cake Tita and Nacha must use 170 eggs. In order to have this many eggs fresh at one time they must preserve them by storing them in a cask, cooling and then covering them. Tita and Nacha work together to prepare the batter; while Tita stirs, Nacha cracks the eggs into the bowl. When Nacha reaches to crack the final egg Tita stops her and grabs the egg claiming that she can hear a baby chick peeping inside. Mama Elena, overhearing the commotion, chastises her daughter for her behavior and cracks the egg into the bowl. It shocks Tita to see that there is no chick inside but only a very fresh egg.
Mama Elena finally goes to bed and leaves Tita and Nacha alone to finish the filling for the cake. Free from her mother’s surveillance, Tita begins to cry and Nacha comforts her. Nacha remembers how she always preferred Tita over Rosaura. Rosaura was a picky eater and sometimes fed Nacha’s dishes to the dog. Nacha hopes that Pedro’s love for Tita really is true even if it leads to Rosaura’s unhappiness. Tita’s stream of tears spill into the cake batter and keep it from thickening so Nacha and Tita embrace each other and cry until Tita has no more tears to shed. Then they move on to making the cake’s filling.
The filling of the cake calls only for apricot paste and sugar. Fortunately, Nacha and Tita already prepared many jars of preserves earlier that week. When Tita opens one of the jars the smell of the preserves reminds her of the day when they preserved the fruit. That day Pedro came to the house to get wedding invitations to deliver in town. When Tita entered the kitchen carrying fruit for the preserves she was so surprised to see him there that she dropped some of the fruit onto the floor. Pedro came to help her and tried to explain his intentions but Tita did not want to hear any more lies and ran away from him. She stopped when she saw Chencha and Gertrudis embroidering a white sheet made of French silk for the wedding bed. The whiteness of the sheet blinded her and covered everything she saw the rest of that night. The same blinding whiteness returns while Tita is in the kitchen preparing the cake but she tries to block it out so that she can finish preparing the icing.
Nacha sends Tita to bed but not before Tita sheds a few tears into the meringue icing. When Nacha tastes the icing to see if Tita’s tears changed the taste of it she becomes filled with a feeling of longing and spends the rest of the night crying. Nacha remembers all the wedding preparations she had made in 85 years of life without ever being the bride herself. Though she once had a fiancé, Elena’s mother would not allow Nacha to marry him and she spent the rest of her life single. In the morning Nacha is so weak from crying that she cannot help with the wedding. Tita however is forced to attend the wedding and to hide any emotion. She overhears the attendees gossiping about her but is determined to present a face of triumph instead of the face of defeat they all want to see.
After the ceremony ends Tita goes to congratulate her sister but does not initially speak to Pedro. Pedro grabs Tita and whispers into her ear that he only married Rosaura in order to be close to Tita. Feeling the warmth of his body on hers and his whisper in her ear Tita is suddenly gladdened and convinced that Pedro really does love only her. Meanwhile, the guests who have eaten the wedding cake are overcome with feelings of longing just as Nacha was when she tasted the icing. Everyone, even Mama Elena, begins crying and vomiting uncontrollably. Tita remains unaffected. Rosaura blames Tita for putting something into the cake and Tita receives a severe beating from Mama Elena who also believes Tita and Nacha conspired to ruin the wedding party. Because of their illness Rosaura and Pedro do not consummate their marriage that night. Indeed, months pass before they do. When Tita goes to find Nacha and tell her the good news about Pedro, she finds Nacha dead with a picture of her fiancé in hand.
For a second time, food displays the ability to affect more than its consumer’s appetites. Moreover, Tita’s emotions pre-determine the effect that the food will have. This is the first chapter in which Esquivel’s use of magical realism becomes pronounced. She blends the spectacle of mood-altering foods with the occurrence of a traditional wedding. The extraordinary and the ordinary combine to create a fantastic yet believable situation.
This chapter also reveals and foreshadows the unexpected consequences of Tita’s unchecked power. Indeed, Nacha’s death and the ruin of Rosaura’s wedding both occur as a consequence of Tita’s tears.
The theme of redemption for Tita against whom frequent wrongs are committed also emerges in this chapter. Without having any ill intentions, Tita exacts revenge on her mother and sister through the wedding cake. The hurt Tita feels while witnessing her love, Pedro, marry her sister transfers to all of the wedding guests through her cooking.
In the second chapter Esquivel continues to characterize Mama Elena as a rigid and strict woman. Her lack of empathy for Tita, her own daughter, further emphasizes the extent of Mama Elena’s characterization as an unfeeling woman. Mama Elena also seems to be the one character that resists the possibilities Esquivel’s magical realism create. She refuses to believe that Tita indeed heard a baby chick peeping in the egg. She also cannot accept the possibility that the cake’s effect occurred without any added substance.
Tita’s tears also re-emerge as a symbol in this chapter. The tears shed while Tita mourns losing Pedro enter the cake batter and cause the longing and heartsickness in Nacha and the wedding guests. Ironically, just as the guests are stricken ill, Tita becomes joyous because of Pedro’s confession to her. Once again, the De la Garza ranch behaves as the center of the community. Neighbors and friends attend the wedding there. The space normally occupied only by the De la Garza women and their help transforms into a metropolis of gossip and activity. Finally, this chapter subtly mentions the impending uprising as a subordinate event to Rosaura and Pedro’s wedding. At this point, the war is but an afterthought for the characters.