Vintage Summer Snow #Cake Recipe with Strawberries and Cream

Snow Cake slice with strawberries and cream BakeThisCake

White as snow — or bright as the summer sunshine on your party patio! Yes! Dribble some fresh strawberries and cream over top and you’ve got a fluffy homemade white cake that’s tender and downy just like the scratch cake your grandma used to make. Throw in the fact that this recipe is over a hundred years old and similar to (or better than) that airy-go-lucky Angel Food Cake and you’ll have a winning vintage cake hit on your hands!

Snow #Cake on patio table with Berries and Cream #Bake This Cake

The weather’s so fine these days in Los Angeles…it’s time to…

Sweep off that patio for outdoor dining!

Haul out your cool barbie and dust it off for BBQ season.   Whoo hoo!

Even in the city, where space is tight, there’s always room for outdoor food gatherings, right? Even if it’s just outside your front door, on a balcony or on the porch.

Beachwood Entrance photo by Julie Macchiarella

We’re hanging out this fine morning in the Hollywood Hills — where even the houses are a throw back to the vintage era…ha!

Beachwood Terrace homes in Hollywood Hills photo by Leslie Macchiarella for BakeThisCake

It’s time to kick back and relax!  Like brother’s big ‘ole cat, Gigo (perhaps one of THE largest kitties in SoCal).  Take a lesson, cause this kitty knows how to RE-LAX!

Gigo The Big Cat photo by Julie Macchiarella

Gigo. Brother Mark’s Giant Cat.

On the brunch menu: Locavore-style (only local) California Fresh Fruit Salad, Shrimp Cocktail, Bill’s Country Skillet Hash & Eggs, Grilled English Muffins and Barbecued Italian Sausages…and a beautiful morning!

Sunday Brunch Menu BakeThisCake

My son, Michelangelo, is home for a bit before he starts his Latin & Ancient Greek Studies at Berkeley (who knew!), Julie is having a birthday, and Granny Vi (our Queen) is always ready to party with friends and family.

Michelangelo and Granny Vi BakeThisCake

The Brothers Are Cooking Manly! Check out what the brothers cooked up: Bill’s Country Skillet Hash & Eggs and  Mark’s Pancetta-Mushroom-Cheese Eggs…Good work, bros!

Throw in some Champagne and O.J. for Mimosas and we’ve got a lovely little patio party on our hands.

Mimosa in a vintage gold goblet Bake This Cake

And how about a little vintage recipe homemade white cake for a light and lovely addition to the patio brunch!

Our cake recipe today hails from the vintage cookbook charmer, “Home Helps”.

Home Helps Vintage Cookbook photo by Leslie Macchiarella for BakeThisCakeThe book was published in 1910 “in the interests of Cottonlene”, to promote the use of the Cottolene Can filled with wooden spoons Bake This Cakecotton oil product in place of lard or butter. Although Cottonlene is no longer around, this little gem of a cookbook has lasted the test of time in part because 5 famous culinary experts were gathered together to share their recipes in the book: Mrs. Mary J. Lincoln (first instructor at The Boston Cooking School),  Lida Ames Willis (edtitor at the Chicago Journal and Cooking Instructor), Mrs. Sarah Tyson Rorer (heading up The Philadelphia Cooking School, culinary editor and author, aka “Mrs. Rorer”), Mrs. Helen Armstrong (Cooking Instructor and Lecturer) and Marion Harland (aka Mary Virginia Terhune, novelist and cookbook author).

Although Snow Cake was around previously in forms similar to Angel Food Cake, this cake recipe was presented in the book by “Miss Willis” (Lida Ames Willis).

In 1987, Miss Willis was the “Editress” of the Chicago Journal‘s Household Department’s “Pure Food Notes” column.

And we see her in the 1898 Evanston, Illinois, City Directory…

Lida Ames Willis in Evanston Illinois 1898 City Directory as cooking instructor

Go Gurl!  Within a couple of years, by 1900, Miss Willis has advanced in her career…

Evanston City Directory 1900 showing Lida Ames Willis

We also see Miss Willis listed in the 1900 Census in Evanston at the same address. She was 39 years old, born in 1861 in Pennsyvania, single, living as a Boarder with Dr. Abbie Hinkle, the good doctor’s sister and widowed mother, a servant and the servant’s baby boy.

Lida Ames Willis in 1900 Census in Evanston Illinois

Famous cooking instructors at the turn of the Century didn’t have the Food Network or Top Chef TV shows to showcase their talents and teach their fans…BUT they had the bustling Home Economics Lecture Circuit…and American women were very interested in learning the home arts crafts and household management– so this was big business!

By 1911, the Miluakee Sentinel, reports huge crowds at the food show with our Miss Willis.  She was was leading the bandwagon with her cooking and baking lectures!

Milwaukee Sentinel article on Miss Willis lecture 5-5-1911

The Cake Specifics: It’s similar to an angel food cake but with more cake-like oomphf. We modified the recipe slightly to substitute butter for shortening, and we used vanilla for flavoring — with an extra dash to yum it up. Otherwise, this recipe is in full charming vintage condition.

Snow #Cake #Recipe of Miss Willis from Home Helps #Bake This Cake

Secret Ingredient— Pure Starch! You will notice that the recipe contains a whole cup of Gluten free corn starch BakeThisCakecorn starch (aka “cornstarch”) — a very fine powdery starch made from the white heart of the corn kernel. BTW, I said “white heart” instead of “corn endosperm” because the heart thing sounds way better, agreed? 🙂

This is the secret ingredient that Miss Willis added to the all-purpose flour in this recipe. You might have used corn starch as a clear sauce or gravy thickener in the past…or even a small portion in a cake recipe — but this is a large quantity. (I thought it was a typo at first!) And it works like a secret agent to tenderize the flour texture. This non-gluten and powdery starch (sometimes called “cornflour” by the Brits or “maize starch” or “maizena” in European parts of the world) adds a little tenderness and some body to a cake that is just a few egg whites short of an Angel Food Cake.

So don’t short-cut this ingredient because it really does add a little tenderness!

Tools Needed for Snow Cake:
Cooking spray
Spring Form Tube Pan (aka Angel Food Pan)
2 Large mixing bowls (for batter and egg whites)
Electric Mixer
Measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients for Snow Cake:
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1-1/2 cubes)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup corn starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
8 large eggs (for egg whites only)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, fine quality

Put down your briefcases, put your cellphone on vibrate and put on your apron, cause we be baking now! 🙂

Set center oven rack to center position and pre-heat oven to 350.

Spray a tube pan with a spring-form (removable bottom) with cooking spray (or butter it well).

Chop into rough chunks and bring to room temperature (using the microwave for a few seconds):
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1-1/2 cubes)

Chunked butter for Snow Cake BakeThisCake

Using an electric mixer, beat on high for about 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy:
the prepared room temperature butter
2 cups granulated sugar
Tip: I usually beat the butter separately first, but I followed this recipe with combined sugar and butter and it worked great, so let’s live the history and do as Miss Willis instructs. 🙂

Creamed butter and sugar for Snow Cake BakeThisCake

In a large bowl, whisk together and set aside:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup corn starch
2 teaspoons baking powder

Whisking dry ingredients BakeThisCake

Beat into the creamed butter/sugar mixture:
1 cup milk (in alternating portions with the dry ingredients coming in the next photo)

Beating milk into Snow Cake Bake This Cake

With the mixer on medium speed, blend in alternating quantities with the milk until thoroughly incorporated:
the combined dry ingredients
Tip: The batter will be thick and smooth and creamy-dreamy!

Beating in flour with milk Snow Cake BakeThisCake

In a large mixing bowl, beat at high-speed until thoroughly fluffed (but not dry) about 1 to 2 minutes:
8 large egg whites (reserve the yolks for morning Eggs Pancetta) 🙂

Soft whipped egg whites BakeThisCake

Using a spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter with large over-hand strokes until thorough blended and fold in:
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, fine quality

Egg whites folded into Snow Cake Bake This Cake

Scoop the batter into the prepared tube pan and smooth the top of the batter and pop it into the 350-degree pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes (up to even 45 minutes in some ovens) until golden brown and center toothpick (or longer) tester comes out clean (internal temperature about 185 degrees).

Snow Cake Batter in the Tube Pan BakeThisCake

Oooh!  Lookie what we get for tripping down history lane!
Tip: The cracks are normal so don’t fret (plus we’ll be flipping it over.  Vintage cakes should look quaint and imperfect, BTW, so do not try for perfection. Leave that to the professional bakers. 🙂

Baked Snow Cake Bake This Cake

Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes before removing.

We used a big cake flipper to move the cake around, but it handles (and travels) well.

Hot Snow Cake on Cake Slider Bake This Cake

A little soft-whipped heavy cream with some sliced fresh strawberries are a nice addition to the cake.

Whip to a soft (but not stiff) consistency:
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream

Whipped Cream for Snow Cake Bake This Cake

Blend into the whipping cream:
1/4 cup (or more to taste) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon fine quality vanilla extract

Core and slice into thin slices:
2 pints local fresh strawberries

Now serve this lovely morsel as fresh as can be to your guests…

Circle Plate of Snow Cake with Berries and Cream Bake This Cake

This cake works well for potluck with fixin’s set next to the cake so that folks can help themselves to a slice and a dollop of cream with berries.

Overview of Snow #Cake on Table with Fixins Bake This Cake

So happy you were able to join us for this little history baking recipe and I do hope you’ll have a chance to bake it soon!

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest…if you’re not with us already.

Show us your own photos of your Snow Cake creation and tell us in the comments if you’ve ever have a Snow Cake before?  I totally love hearing from you!


Home Helps Vintage Cookbook photo by Leslie Macchiarella for BakeThisCake

Julie with Snow Cake BakethisCake

Julie turns 21, whoo hoo!

Feather birthday party bags  photo by Leslie Macchiarella

Julie’s Feathered Party Bags

Hand held bouquet flowers BakeThisCake

Small Hand-held Bouquets

7 thoughts on “Vintage Summer Snow #Cake Recipe with Strawberries and Cream

  1. Maybe my taste buds are not what they used to be, but when I make it again I think I’ll add a pinch or two of salt. Or maybe just use salted butter instead. Even so, it was very good and super easy to make! Love your blog! 🧡

  2. great research! I wish I’d looked at image search before the main google search and seen your blog sooner before finding Lida Willis in all the same directories. I just made her shortcake for my blog and its way less picturesque 😦
    Wonderful blog, I see you may have moved on but I’ll have to peruse the archives!

  3. Wow! Corn starch in a cake recipe..sounds interesting! This cake looks so good, and how come you are always having such awesome get togethers!! Dang! Looks like fun!!

    • Thank you Debi! Yes, I first thought it was a typo (which is quite common in old recipes) but the large amount of corn starch turns out to be the secret ingredient to tenderize the cake! haha! P.S. Love your Thursday’s Treasures! 😀

  4. Pingback: Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Tart with a Pistachio Nut Crust « My Spanish Translator

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