Rav Wosner in Shevat Halavi and Rav David Yosef in Halacha Brura write that today at Chasuna’s it could be that one has to make a before and after bracha on the dessert if the bread and tables are cleared away and then bentch.
If so, should one make an al hamachiya on the dessert cake and then bentch if they clear away the tables and then bring out a special dessert table? What if one reverses the order and bentches: do they still need an al hamichiya?
Also, does the fact that cake is bread according to some rishonim play a factor? Do we say that this cake doesn’t have a 3 characteristics of pas haba bkisnin so one wouldn’t make a bracha (according to the Biur halacha in 168) or do we say that no since the tables were cleared and the bread is gone that is considered an end to the meal. Meaning according to some rishonim true they cleared away the table with the bread … but cake is bread so they just brought out more bread. What would the din be if they really just brought out more bread after the clearing away of the table and bread?
In times of Chazal, a meal used to end before benching by removing the tables. If people wanted to eat something, they would make a beracha before and after. Later, they would bench.
Today, this is not common. We only end the meal with benching, and until we bench, we do not detach ourselves completely from the meal (from the bread and from the foods eaten with the bread). Therefore, in general meals today end only with benching (when somebody says “let’s bench,” he gets into a safek).
Many Rishonim therefore write that the concept of being “after the meal” (achar ha-se’udah) before benching do not apply today (see Tosafos, Rashba, Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah, Rosh, and others, Berachos 41b). Yet, the Beis Yosef writes that for large meals, it is possible that we have the halachah of Chazal, yet the Bach rejects this, and derives this from the Shulchan Aruch 177:2, who makes no distinction between big and small meals. The Magen Avraham (7) writes that since there is no halachah of ending the meal by removing the table, it follows that there is no possiblity of ending the meal early by means other than benching.
Some authorities rule that for weddings, the removal of the table or the tablecloths before benching is considered an ending of the meal. This will mean that one must make a blessing before and after eating additional foods. This includes cake, even if it is safek pas, because this is not the bread that the meal was fixed upon.
It does not apply to bread: if a person continues to eat bread, this shows that his meal has not ended!
However, the question of removing tables today is not agreed on (see Maadanei Asher p. 84), and the situation can be avoided by benching before eating other foods. After benching, one must make berachos (rishona and acharona) for all foods that are eaten.