When Martha Stewart features a vintage collectible in her Living magazine, its price and prestige rise. Luckily, Press staffer Connie Guinn possessed a collection of vintage recipe pamphlets before they were featured in the August edition of Stewart’s magazine.
A couple of years ago, Connie’s grandmother, Evelyn Henry, was downsizing, so Connie claimed the pamphlets, not for their monetary value but for sentimental reasons. She cherished the old recipes.
Among Connie’s stash are Joys of Jello, Coconut Glamour Desserts, How to Have the Most Fun with Cake Mixes by Betty Crocker, McNess Recipes from “Round the World” Cookbook, Salads and Salad Dressings and Sears Coldspot Recipe Book.
Though the recipes may not meet modern dietary requirements, they personify comfort food, and the illustrations and graphics take readers of a certain age back to their childhoods.
Coconut Glamour Desserts dates back to 1948 and was published by Baker’s Coconut to promote Baker’s Southern Style “kept moist in airtight cans” or “Baker’s Premium Shred protected by a double-sealed carton.” It also manages to promote companion products: “ ... sprinkle coconut on waffles just before closing the iron. Good with Log Cabin Syrup!”
The pamphlet offers recipes for an array of desserts, including cookies, cakes and candies. One sign of the times: Shortening was used in many recipes. Here’s one we liked sans shortening:
Coconut Cream Sponge Loaf
1 cup sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
1 teaspoon Calumet Baking Powder
1â„4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons hot milk
Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift together three times. Beat eggs with rotary egg beater until thick and light (about 5 minutes). Add sugar gradually, beating constantly. Add lemon juice. Fold in the flour, a small amount at a time. Add hot milk and stir quickly until thoroughly blended. Turn into ungreased 10-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 35 minutes, or until done. Remove from oven, invert pan on rack, and let stand 1 hour, or until cake is cool.
Turn cool cake out on serving plate. Using a sharp knife, cut a V-shaped wedge lengthwise from top of cake, about 3 inches wide and 11â„2 inches deep. Cut wedge into 1â„2 inch slices and add to Almond Cream Filling (see recipe below). Carefully spoon mixture into center of cake.
Sprinkle with 1â„2 cup Baker’s Shredded Coconut. Chill. Serve in slices.
Almond Cream Filling
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1â„4 teaspoon almond extract
Combine ingredients and chill thoroughly. Then whip with rotary egg beater until mixture stands in soft peaks. Makes 2 cups, or enough to fill Coconut Cream Sponge Loaf.
The “McNess Recipes from ‘Round the World’ Cookbook” offers recipes from champion cake bakers. Some online collectors date the cookbook from the 1930s. A historian could arrive at a date using the McNess dealer’s mailing address, which was Route 3, Johnson City, Tenn., and the phone number, which had no prefix, just the numbers 5574.
Mrs. Edith Moore, described as “The Champion Cake Baker,” won nearly 1,000 cake baking prizes, and shared her recipes and cooking tips with the McNess readers.
Mrs. Moore’s biggest prize winner, with 216 first prizes at state and other fairs, was The Champion’s Silver Cake:
The Champion’s Silver Cake
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter
6 egg whites
2 cups milk
1â„4 teaspoonful salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups cake flour
Beat the butter and sugar until very light and creamy. Add the milk alternately with the flour with which the baking powder has been sifted in the last cup of flour. Beat thoroughly, before adding the baking powder, then add the well-beaten whites of eggs. Bake about 40 minutes in three 9-inch layers. This will make a large cake.
The McNess recipes come with a caveat: “To insure best results with recipes in this Cook Book, we recommend the use of McNess Spices, Flavoring, Extracts, Cocoa and Baking Powder wherever these ingredients are called for.
If you use other brands, larger quantities may be required to give satisfactory results.”
And that is the purpose of these wonderful pamphlets, to promote the use of the publishers’ products. Alas, McNess is no longer available.
The Betty Crocker pamphlet is but a sweet glance backward with little possibility of re-creating the recipes it contains; Betty Crocker boxed frostings, the one’s our mothers used, are no longer available in stores.