History of the Cake Mix – Redefining Baking

Cake mix was created before World War II. It was developed by corporate mills when they had too much flour in stock. It was not until the 1930’s that the mass market became aware of cake mix for baking.

A Pittsburg firm, named P. Duff and Sons developed cake mix on December 10, 1930. John J. Duff in 1930 applied for a patent owing to an “invention [that] relates to dehydrated flour for use in making pastry products and to a process of making the same.”  In this application, Duff used a mixture of molasses, wheat flour, shortening, sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger, powdered whole egg, cinnamon and ginger that gets rehydrated with water to bake.

A pamphlet during 1933, showed that Duff’s mixes came in numerous varieties. Two of the flavours could be instantly recognized by Duncan Hines – the spice cake and devil’s food. These mixes were sold for 21 cents per 14-ounce can.

The cake mix patent was granted on October 24, 1933. The company informed the US patent office on the 13 of June 1933 that it had made a breakthrough; arguably the biggest in cake making history. This cake mix only needed the cook to add fresh eggs.

The last quarter of 1940s saw more than 200 companies selling cake mixes. The lion’s share went to Pillsbury or Betty Crocker. Some firms even went to Duncan Hines and General Mills, which went the egg-adding route. Pillsbury stuck to the “add-water-only” method.

Cake mixes redefined what ‘baking’ meant” and into the modern age, many homes use cake mix to save time while baking. So go ahead and bake that cake.