Friday, April 19, 2013

19 April 1950 “Guest Post: Frugal Foodies Will Favor This Frosty Cake”

Frugal Foodies Will Favor This Frosty Cake

This weekend I had a chance to try out a cake I’d wanted to try for a long time. A Frosty Snowberry Cake, from a 1950s-era Pillsbury Bake-Off book. The “snowberries” are actually cubes of jellied cranberry sauce that are folded into the batter. The ingredients were the most basic of staples: flour, sugar, egg whites, shortening, and baking powder. By a happy coincidence, I even had the ingredients that I don’t have every day: light corn syrup and cream of tartar for the boiled frosting. Vintage kitchen implements that have gone unused in the time we’ve been here were finally pressed into service. A glass double boiler. Cake pans with metal slider releases.

Photo from the 1953 Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbook.

Cakes seemed healthier in the 1950s than they are today. No pudding in the mix. No preservatives to give the cake the longevity of Twinkies. My son Wyatt said the cake was “chewy.” I think he meant “bready.” The cake didn’t quite look like the picture shown here, as cakes that come out of our $99 oven tend to look like the Metrodome after it collapsed. However, it scored major points for satisfaction. The cranberry sauce gave the cake the taste and texture of a jelly roll. I didn’t have food coloring to tint the frosting pink, so I added a pinch of raspberry Jell-O instead. It did the job just fine.

Here’s the recipe for Frosty Snow-berry Cake, which was the Senior Winner in the 1953 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Mrs. Marguerite Marks of Camden, New Jersey did herself proud!

This great guest post was brought to you by Susan at Poultry & Prose.

Happy Homemaking.


  1. Thank you for featuring my post -- I'm so tickled to see it! I love the "Let's Share" image, too -- for fifties telephone users, the party line was a way of life, and a guest blogging community could be like a party line -- a sharing, chatty community. Cheers! Susan

  2. I like that idea too: The Party Line! Thank you for sharing with us. Feel free to do so again and if you know any other vintage bloggers send em my way. I think this might be a fun way to have more posts and build our community without the trouble I often have with forums.

  3. When I saw the subject I thought "do you really rhink we need more frost and snow!?". I think not, but I will save the recipe for next winter. Have a nice weekend. :)

  4. Cakes were immensely popular in the 40's and 50's--as a hostess gift, for daily dessert, for church suppers and potlucks, etc. and most had amusing names. I love the recipe you've posted! Who would guess that "snowberries" were actually chunks of cranberry sauce. A very fun post!

  5. Sanne and Ann, I'm glad you enjoyed! Interesting story about cakes, Ann. That's why the descriptions of cakes in the Pillsbury Bake-off Cookbooks sound so loving and reverent -- pastry Harlequin Romances, almost.

    50sgal, I'll keep posts coming and will keep an eye out for other retro bloggers. :=)

  6. Much love,
    "Keep up the great work on your blog! <3

  7. Mhmmmmm that cake looks absolutely delicious!

  8. I understand why you have let go a bit of your project, however, I just wanted to let you know that about three years ago I came upon your blog and was just awestruck. I was raised by my grandparents who were married in 1952 and raised me with the eras morals. I always felt a bit out of place and thought that it was a hundred little things until I started reading your blog. Your words opened up a whole new world for me. I have been living the better part of full time in 1950 for the last two years (there are times that one must live in reality, but I try to keep those to a minimum if I can.) and I have never felt more at home or more comfortable with myself. It gave me the chance to rediscover what it really means to be a woman and I've learned so many things. Thank you for writing probably the most inspiring blog that I have ever read, (and am currently re-reading).

    Thank You,


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