Food News

A 1930s Whipping Cream Cake Is the Internet's Latest Favorite Recipe

Why did this vintage treat go viral?

May 28, 2021
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Every few weeks, people on the internet obsess over a recipe, and it spreads like wildfire. The source is often social media, frequently Instagram and TikTok, but more and more, Reddit seems to be the source. For most, Reddit is a never-ending list of community-driven forums on everything from news and hobbies to fandom and Bitcoin advice. But it’s also an increasingly popular platform for recipe discovery, especially in the subreddit channel /Old_Recipes. This page, with more than 250,000 followers, has come to be a full-blown digital archive of everything from generations-old heirloom recipes to magazine clippings from decades past. It’s quickly grown to be one of the more exciting cooking resources on the internet, with an engaged community breathing new life into each recipe. Some recipes remain one-hit wonders, while others gain traction and only pick up speed from there. Recipes spanning from Murder Cookies to Armenian Perok Cake to Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake have all gone viral, well beyond Reddit. Not only do these get their 15 minutes of fame on the wider internet, they’re frequently shared on the /Old_Recipes forum months after they were originally shared. The latest recipe to go viral, a dense buttery Bundt called Whipping Cream Cake, is no exception. What is it about such a recipe that peaks the internet’s interest, rocketing many to fame, while others stay stuck in the past?

The Sweet Stuff

The Whipping Cream Cake first appeared on the forum in a post by user Jamie_of_house_m, who wrote that it is her go-to birthday cake. It hails from her husband’s grandmother’s cookbook, a relic from an Iowan town’s centennial anniversary in 1979. (Similar recipes date back even earlier: the YouTube channel Glen And Friends Cooking shared a video making a whipped cream cake from a North Dakota county’s community cookbook from 1936.) This cake is the epitome of the Reddit forum’s mission: uncovering the most obscure recipes that have stood the test of time, wedging their ways into our traditions, one tattered, scribbled-on notecard as a time.

Dessert certainly has something to do with the phenomenon. According to Reddit, the top five most discussed recipes in /Old_Recipes in 2020 were all sweets. A coincidence? I think not. Desserts provide comfort and joy, and signal a reason, however small, to celebrate. (Certainly feelings we all tried to find in any way we could last year.)

Simple Is Best

Jessie Sheehan, author of The Vintage Baker and general dessert enthusiast, posits that the easier the recipe, the more likely it is to gain traction. “In general, older recipes tended to have fewer ingredients (and certainly none that required a trip to a specialized grocery store), and fewer instructions (partly because the assumption was that the baker knew what she was doing, but also because stand mixers and food processors weren’t commonplace),” she adds.

This is certainly true of the Whipping Cream Cake, which calls for just six ingredients and features very few steps, but includes one brilliant technique that seems like a mistake at first: starting the cake in a cold oven. However, since this cake is meant to be dense, baking from cold and warming up only to a relatively low heat (325°F) ensures the cake can slowly cook all the way through, before the outside browns or burns. The bake is simple, but relies on tried-and-true techniques, resulting in a high success rate for those who make it. One emphatic review on Reddit read, “I CANNOT BAKE AND THIS TURNED OUT OK!”

What’s in a Name?

Sheehan has one more theory on why some cakes go viral: “the whimsical recipe names.” In the case of a recipe like Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake, the relationship implies a level of trustworthiness and experience some cooks find missing in other recipes published online. “If you dig old-fashioned recipes, then you know those from ‘Nana’s’ kitchen are likely legit (and delish),” Sheehan says. At the end of the day, it also has to be delicious. Gaby Scelzo, the co-author of my recipe newsletter, tested the cake for a post, and found this to be the case as well. “It’s dense but bouncy; a buttery, tight-crumbed pound cake with an almost gooey bottom and a crispy, crackly exterior. This may be the best cake I’ve ever had.”

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“This reminds me of a cake my Grandma used to make for me back when I was a kid. I'm new to baking but have really been enjoying it with some of these recipes. :) Kyle Kerr ”
— KyleKerr
Comment

For Reddit user Jamie_of_house_m's Whipping Cream Cake recipe, check out the original post.

Looking For More Vintage Recipe Inspiration? Give These Oldie-But-Goodies A Try:

Black-Bottom Banana Dream Bars Take it from the vintage baker herself and bake up Jessie Sheehan’s delightfully gooey and delicious dream bars (think of the seven-layer bar’s modern cousin). A perfectly balanced treat, with more salt and cocoa than its retro predecessors, to counter all the sweetness.

Demon Cake The perfect spooky pairing for Murder Cookies! Just kidding. Unless you’re planning a Halloween menu, embrace this cake on its own to appreciate all its dense, spicy goodness. Beware: The intense spicing and dark molasses are not for the faint of heart (or gingerbread haters).

Grape Jelly Meatballs While its name might signal these meatballs were intended for a cocktail party in the 1960s, they are just as delicious now as they were decades ago. Grape jelly only seems weird until you consider all the other sweet sauces we love pairing with ground meat: barbecue sauce, ketchup, and teriyaki sauce, to name a few.

Which vintage recipes do you make over and over? Let us know in the comments!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate and Skimlinks affiliate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.
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I want to eat everything crackly, chewy, salty & sweet.

37 Comments

richard L. June 20, 2021
My sister and I always bake the sugar cookie receipe that was our Grandmothers and the receipe makes so many that you cannot cut the receipe in half so we give the cookies to our best friends over the holidays. If any body wants the receipe just let me know at [email protected]
 
Debe June 19, 2021
Doesn't say to grease the bundt pan.....can't get it to loosen from the pan!! So sad!!
 
HalfPint June 10, 2021
Sunset Magazine's Powdered Sugar Pound Cake, https://www.sunset.com/recipe/powdered-sugar-pound-cake

I make it without the almonds and I have even used all purpose flour instead of cake. Still bakes beautifully and is simply scrumptious.
 
VIPfood52 June 7, 2021
The original Whipping Cream Cake recipe is as follows:

1 cup butter

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups flour

1 carton (1/2 pint) whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla

Leave butter to soften at room temperature. Add sugar and cream well. Add one egg at a time, beating after each egg. Add flour and whipping cream (do NOT whip) alternately and add vanilla. Start in a COLD oven at 325 degrees. Bake one hour and 15 mins. Test for doneness.
 
Andrea June 4, 2021
There’s a version of this recipe using cake flour on the Down’s cake flour box. https://swansdown.com/recipes/whipping-cream-pound-cake-10-inch-tube-pan-or-bundt-pan/



 
Margaret K. June 3, 2021
Piques, not peaks
 
Nick N. June 3, 2021
how do I get the recipe for whipping cream cake
 
Kathy June 3, 2021
I found it on Epicurious; they call it "Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake". I got the info from some previous commenters here - they say it's the same thing.
 
Kathy June 3, 2021
Never mind, I found it on Epicurious thanks to some folks here!!
 
Kathy June 3, 2021
I don't have Reddit, and I don't particularly want it - or TikTok, Twitter, etc. I'm hoping this recipe can be found elsewhere?
 
VIPfood52 June 7, 2021
The original Whipping Cream Cake recipe is as follows:

1 cup butter

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups flour

1 carton (1/2 pint) whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla

Leave butter to soften at room temperature. Add sugar and cream well. Add one egg at a time, beating after each egg. Add flour and whipping cream (do NOT whip) alternately and add vanilla. Start in a COLD oven at 325 degrees. Bake one hour and 15 mins. Test for doneness.
 
Shelley June 3, 2021
My grandfather taught me how to make this cake. His recipe, however, calls for 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon, lemon extract, and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Absolutely delicious.
 
Pam S. June 3, 2021
I finally found the "Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake" on Epicurious (their search feature is abysmal, too. Take note, Food52.) It's the same as this whipping cream pound cake. As I said, it's very, very good. Never fails.
https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/elvis-presleys-favorite-pound-cake-232642
 
vickie June 3, 2021
there is no recipe here for the whipping cream cake......I print out recipes all the time...nothing here.... help
 
Karin June 3, 2021
Long and winding rode around to find this!
Whipping Cream Cake
Wholesome
This one is from a cookbook my husband’s grandmother got while she was living in Iowa. It’s my go to for my birthday every year. It’s dense and moist and the bottom never seems to completely set which makes for a nice slightly gooey layer.

1 cup butter

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups flour

1 carton (1/2 pint) whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla

Leave butter to soften at room temperature. Add sugar and cream well. Add 1 egg at a time, beating after each egg. Add flour and whipping cream (do NOT whip) alternately and add vanilla. Start in a COLD oven at 325 degrees. Bake 1 hour and 15 mins. Test for doneness.

 
Stellie June 3, 2021
Can’t wait to make it
 
Karin June 3, 2021
food52: We count on you to share the recipes in your articles and make them printable! This one was very hard to find and I would not have found it except for the comments!
 
Karin June 3, 2021
Huh, another karin who posted today also!
 
karin June 3, 2021
At Christmas time I make a Cranberry cake to give as gifts... it's so simple but absolutely addictive. Friends call it Cranberry Crack cake...
https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cranberry-cake-16000
 
Susan L. June 3, 2021
So where is the recipe!!!
 
Author Comment
Courtney K. June 3, 2021
The recipe is hyperlinked in the article, but apologies that it wasn't clearer. Here it is again: https://www.reddit.com/r/Old_Recipes/comments/n5doum/my_personal_favorite_whipping_cream_cake/
 
paul A. June 3, 2021
I could not find the recipe in this article. Who edits this site? I had to go to the comments to find the link. PATHETIC !!
 
Author Comment
Courtney K. June 3, 2021
Hi Paul! The recipe is hyperlinked in the article, but apologies that it wasn't clearer. Here it is again: https://www.reddit.com/r/Old_Recipes/comments/n5doum/my_personal_favorite_whipping_cream_cake/
 
VIPfood52 June 7, 2021
The original Whipping Cream Cake recipe is as follows:

1 cup butter

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups flour

1 carton (1/2 pint) whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla

Leave butter to soften at room temperature. Add sugar and cream well. Add one egg at a time, beating after each egg. Add flour and whipping cream (do NOT whip) alternately and add vanilla. Start in a COLD oven at 325 degrees. Bake one hour and 15 mins. Test for doneness.
 
richard L. June 3, 2021
i WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THIS RECEIPE AND ALSO THE RECEIPE FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING
 
KyleKerr June 2, 2021
Thanks for sharing the link to the recipe! This reminds me of a cake my Grandma used to make for me back when I was a kid. I'm new to baking but have really been enjoying it with some of these recipes. :) Kyle Kerr
 
Author Comment
Courtney K. June 3, 2021
I love that! Nostalgia makes everything taste better :)
 
lynsholmes May 31, 2021
Where is the recipe for this cake?? I can't find it anyplace....
 
Maggie June 2, 2021
Bizarre omission! To see recipe go to: https://www.reddit.com/r/Old_Recipes/comments/n5doum/my_personal_favorite_whipping_cream_cake/
 
Author Comment
Courtney K. June 2, 2021
The recipe is linked with the Reddit user who posted it! Here's their post: https://www.reddit.com/r/Old_Recipes/comments/n5doum/my_personal_favorite_whipping_cream_cake/
 
lynsholmes June 2, 2021
Thank you, now I found it with your help :)
 
lynsholmes June 2, 2021
Thank you- got it now :)
 
Rhita L. June 3, 2021
Thank you!
 
VIPfood52 June 7, 2021
The original Whipping Cream Cake recipe is as follows:

1 cup butter

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups flour

1 carton (1/2 pint) whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla

Leave butter to soften at room temperature. Add sugar and cream well. Add one egg at a time, beating after each egg. Add flour and whipping cream (do NOT whip) alternately and add vanilla. Start in a COLD oven at 325 degrees. Bake one hour and 15 mins. Test for doneness.
 
Pam S. May 28, 2021
One last comment: I'm glad that I printed out the recipes for Nana Edie's Devil's Food Cake and Elvis Presley's Favorite Pound Cake from Epicurious years ago. They do not seem to be there anymore. I guess, they edited their database. Sorry to mislead anyone.