Believing in Betty Crocker and Cake


I always believed in Betty Crocker–I wanted to believe. However one day, similar to Nancy Drew’s author Carolyn Keene, I got shot down. I found out that Betty was just a brand name and trademark developed by the Washburn Crosby Company. The story goes that they chose Betty as her name because it sounded as American as the Apple Pie she would show us all how to make.



The original Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook was first published in 1951 and everyone knows someone that has a Betty Crocker Cookbook in their home. Betty, like Margie Blake from the Carnation Company, was important to me as my mother died young and food some how replaced parental figures. In the 50’s my mother used to make tuna pinwheels and canned devilled ham canapes for her canasta parties. She was a stickler for an attractive food presentation and always took the foil completely off the TV dinners before serving.



Everyone baked bread but I guess not all people like Betty’s Fruit loaf recipes because on page 78 of this cookbook the former owner wrote:
“Terrible; even Nookie the dog turned it down”.
The steamed brown bread people used to bake in a can, and that was another baking tragedy. It was so horrible my Dad took my Grandmother’s failed recipe target shooting at least once a month at the Cowansville dump. I would like to think that some of those rats got to feast on one of those brown breads. Of course, maybe after sampling it they might have wanted to be put out of their misery.


I used to love Betty Crocker’s 7 minute frosting that my mother would put it on some of her 1950s nuclear coloured cake. Then there was the Floating Islands, homemade rice pudding, chilled with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. My grandmother’s specialty was steamed English Pudding, and when she was done she would soak lumps of sugar with orange extract and then place them decoratively around the pudding. One by one each lump would be lighted with a match which would result in an near miss explosion each time.


Nostalgic triggers a story about our lives,  helping us reflect on traditions and moments about the days when my Grandparents were alive. That’s why we should never lose print recipes, and real paper-based cookbooks. Those notes and books will always resonate with us because we get to see and relive the gravy stained favourites, and the personal notes in the margins.

I do leave you with a wonderful Betty Crocker cake recipe from Rochelle’s Vintage Recipes and hopefully memories of culinary days gone by.



Orange Chiffon Cake
2 1/4 cups sifted Softsilk Cake Flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
MEASURE and SIFT together above ingredients in mixing bowl. Make a well and add in order:
1/2 cup cooking (salad) oil
5 unbeaten egg yolks (medium size)
3/4 cup cold water
grated rind of 2 oranges (about 3 tablespoons)
Beat with spoon until smooth.
Measure into large mixing bowl:
1 cup egg whites (7 or 8)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
WHIP until whites form very stiff peaks. They should be much stiffer than for angel food or meringue. DO NOT UNDERBEAT.
POUR egg yolk mixture gradually over whipped egg whites-gently folding with rubber scraper just until blended. DO NOT STIR! POUR into ungreased pan immediately. BAKE in 10-inch tube, 4-inch deep at 325 degrees 55 minutes then 350 10 to 15 minutes. or 9x13x2-in. oblong 350- 45 to 50 minutes. or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately turn pan upside down, placing tube part over neck of funnel or bottle, or resting edges of square, oblong, or loaf pans on 2 other pans. Let hang, free of table, until cold. Loosen from sides and tube with spatula. Turn over and hit edge sharply on table to loosen.

Fluffy Orange Icing
Ideal for your orange Chiffon… Cream one and one half 3 0z. pkg. cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar. Beat well. Stir in grated rind of 2 oranges…1 1/2 tbsp. If too thick to spread, add a few drops of orange juice.



Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)


Related reading


Vintage Culinary Blogging –Fun to Cook Book

Albert Street Canasta Club Chilled Pineapple Dessert


The Hardy Boys in Carleton Place


Can Nancy Drew Solve the Case of Carleton Place’s Hardy Boys on High Street?


About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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