Cake in a box, frosting in a can…really?!

Both cake in a box and frosting in a can were born from depressing circumstances…

Cake in a box resulted from the need to provide easily made food to millions of economically depressed people in the United States during the Great Depression. People could not afford all of the different
ingredients involved in an making a cake as easily as they could afford one box of cake mix.

Eventually the art of making cake from scratch became a lost art form. Cake became a mass-produced staple in American life instead of the creative outlet and delicacy that it had been before.


Frosting in a can resulted from the realization as cake in a box declined during the post-wary decade of the 1950s.

Frosting in a can was an attempt to increase the sales of cake in a box by giving chefs a sense of creativity and accomplishment…

Bundt cakes are simply cakes baked in a Bundt pan…go figure…
But where did the idea for a Bundt cake and a Bundt pan even come from…and why…

In the late 1940s members of the Minneapolis Jewish-American Hadassah Society came to American businessman H. David Dalquist and his brother Mark S. Dalquist and asked if they could produce a modern version of their traditional cast iron Gugelhupf dish.
The Hadassah Society is an American Jewish volunteer women’s organization founded in 1912 by Henrietta Szold. Today it continues to be one of the largest international Jewish organizations.

There are currently are about 330,000 members in the United States, and the organization works  on behalf of women’s rights, religious autonomy, and US-Israel diplomacy.

The Gugelhupf
that these women were hoping to find a replacement pan for was a coffee cake consisting of a soft yeast dough containing raisins, almonds, Kirschwasser cherry brandy, and perhaps candied fruits and nuts or a filling of sweetened ground poppy seeds.

One recipe for Gugelhupf that I found follows…


Preheat oven to 325º F. Prep 8″ Bundt pan. 
Cream together..

  • 2 sticks butter
  • Pinch of salt

Add 1½C sugar.
Add 6 egg yolks, one  at a time
Sift together…

  • 1½C flour
  • 2tsp baking powder

Mix together…

  • 3Tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2tsp vanilla

Alternate adding these two mixtures into the mixing bowl. 
In a separate bowl, beat the following until stiff…

  • 6 egg whites 
  • 1/8tsp cream of tartar

Fold into the batter. 
Toss ½C golden raisins in 1Tbsp flour, coating evenly. Add to batter.
Spoon batter into Bundt pan.
Bake at 325º F for 70 minutes. 
Remove from oven. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

These ladies were looking for a pan similar to the enamelled pottery circular pan with a central tube that had previously been used to make Gugelhupf…

The Dalquist brothers had recently founded Nordic Ware, a cookware company headquartered in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. 

Instead Nordic Ware designed a cast aluminum version and offered the pans for sale in 1950. The Bundt pan sold so poorly that Nordic Ware considered discontinuing the product altogether.

But two events helped make the Bundt pan a household necessity..



    First…This recipe for Old Dominion Pound Cake in the New Good Housekeeping Cookbook in 1963

     Old Dominion Pound Cake
    Preheat to 325. Prep bundt pan.
    Sift together…

    • 1-1/4 c. flour
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 1/4 c. sugar

    Cream in…1 1/2 c. butter

    • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 2 1/4 tsp. vanilla

    Add 8 egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    In a separate bowl, beat 8 egg whites until frothy.
    Mix these egg whites with…

    • 1C sugar 
    • 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

    Beat until whites are very stiffly beaten. 
    Fold egg whites into flour mix. Blend carefully until well mixed. 
    Turn into the prepared bundt pan. 
    Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees. 

    Second…This second-place winner of the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off…The “Tunnel of Fudge” Bundt Cake 

    Preheat to 350°F. Prep Bundt pan.
    Cream together…

    • 1 3/4C sugar
    • 1 3/4 butter


    • 6 eggs
    • 2C powdered sugar

    Stir in…

    • 2 1/4C flour
    • 3/4C unsweetened cocoa
    • 2C chopped walnuts, optional. 

    Spoon batter into greased and floured pan. Spread out evenly.
    Bake at 350°F. for 45 to 50 minutes.
    Cool upright in pan on wire rack 1 1/2 hours. 
    Invert onto serving plate. Cool  at least two hours.Glaze

    • 3/4C powdered sugar
    • 1/4C unsweetened cocoa
    • 4 to 6 teaspoons milk, enough milk for desired drizzling consistency

    Spoon over top of cake, allowing some to run down sides. Store tightly covered.

      Finally since my Sweet, Sweet Sunday’s are currently focused on caramel…my mom’s recipe for  Caramel Bundt Cake

       Caramel Bundt Cake

      Preheat oven to 325. Prep bundt pan.
      Cream together… 

      • 1C butter
      • ½ butter-flavored shortening


      • 2C brown sugar
      • 1C sugar

      Throw in 5 eggs.
      Fold in 2tsp vanilla 
      Whisk together…

      • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • ½ teaspoon salt

      Alternate between adding…

      • Flour mixture from above
      • ½C buttermilk
      • ½C heavy whipping cream

      Fold in 1C Heath bits.
      Pour batter evenly into prepared bundt pan.
      Bake on the middle rack for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
      Remove cake from oven. Let cake sit in pan for 15 minutes.
      Remove cake from pan. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

      Caramel Frosting

      In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together…

      • 14oz sweetened condensed milk
      • 1C light brown sugar

      Cook 5min, stirring constantly.
      Remove from heat.
      Vigorously stir in…

      • 2Tbsp butter
      • 1tsp vanilla 

      Pour hot caramel sauce over cooled cake. 
      Wait for frosting to begin to harden.


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