The first recorded pop-out cake party is linked to a gruesome murder
Despite being told that the act of hiring a woman to pop out of a cake started in the movies, this tradition actually began way back in 1895 when a wealthy architect named Stanford White threw a party for some distinguished gentlemen of the time. White was a partner in the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White and specialized in designing houses for the rich, as well as religious buildings.
During the party at White’s house, a large pie was brought out for the gentlemen and -- out from this pie -- burst out a young girl named Susie Johnson, “wearing only a piece of see-through gauze.” However, this tale has little to do with Susie Johnson, and more about the woman who watched Ms. Johnson pop out of the cake -- Evelyn Nesbit.
Nesbit was a chorus girl and model who came to be known as “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing” and reportedly had an illicit affair with Stanford White during the party. Some say the sex was consensual, others say it wasn’t… but that didn’t matter to Nesbit’s husband, Harry Kendall Thaw, who shot White three times during a show at the roof garden theatre in Madison Square Garden during the night of June 25th, 1906.