A Man’s Favorite

Surprisingly little nudity, given the title.

Author Amy Alessio posted a recipe card in February with the same name, but somewhat different ingredients (hers does indeed look like a Depression cake, with no milk, sugar, or eggs). She speculated about the name, too: A Man’s Favorite what, I’m not sure – possibly a cake?

Well, there are two clues that this is from an advertisement. One is the general rule that, when only one brand name is listed in a recipe, it’s from an advertisement for that recipe. The other is the phrase “in one operation.” In the early 1930s, recipes in advertisements for Crisco used this phrase to emphasize that Crisco didn’t need to be creamed.

Detail of advertisement from the October 14, 1931 edition of the Hamilton (Ohio) Evening Journal


The purpose of creaming is to introduce air into the shortening; the leavening agents, like baking powder or baking soda, act upon the air bubbles to make things like cakes and muffins rise. Unlike butter, Crisco is already one-seventh air, so creaming isn’t generally necessary. At least, not from the 1930s onward–earlier Crisco booklets contained admonitions to cream Crisco more than sugar, because there’s no moisture in it to dissolve the sugar.

That’s half the story. For the other half, let’s look at another recipe with a similar name from an advertisement in the September 24, 1930 edition of the Sandusky (Ohio) Register:

Try this one on your husband


A cake like this, flavored with coffee and put together with Crisco, whose own delicate, fresh flavor allows the taste of the coffee to predominate, is truly a “man’s cake.”

A Man’s Cake


1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold strong coffee
3/4 cup walnuts, cut up

Put sugar, egg yolks and Crisco into mixing bowl together and blend in one operation. (This procedure is new–and possible only because Crisco comes to you already creamed.) Then add alternately the sifted dry ingredients and the coffee. Stir in nuts and flavoring and lastly fold in the egg whites beaten stiff. Turn into Criscoed tube pan and bake in moderate (350 deg. F.) oven for one hour. Cool and ice with:

1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt cooked with 1/2 cup strong coffee until it spins a thread (232 deg. F.). Pour 1/3 of syrup slowly over 2 egg whites batten stiff and beat as you pour. Cook remainder of syrup till it forms a soft ball in cold water (238 deg. F.) and add to icing. Beat until it’s of the consistency to spread.

* * *


And when you haven’t time to bake cakes at home it’s nice to know that you can go to a nearby baker or grocer and buy delicious cakes made with Crisco. Most good bakers do use Crisco, I’ve found. And when a baker is so particular about this shortening, he’s apt to use the very best of other ingredients.

Winifred S. Carter

Oh, that’s why it has that name. That’s classic Winifred. (It’s an applesauce spice cake, Winifred.)

Winifred S. Carter was a home economist and recipe author from the 1920s until at least the mid-1950s. From 1930 to 1931, she had an early radio cooking show that was hugely influential, largely because it had the distinction of being carried on the three then-existing radio networks: NBC Red, NBC Blue (which later became ABC in the 1940s), and the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

After the show, Winifred worked for Crisco manufacturer Proctor and Gamble making recipes for booklets and advertisements like these. (We discussed the history of Crisco in the post for toasted spice cake from Joplin, Missouri.) But running through her work was a consistent effort to address recipes to needs, not unlike many of the chefs on TV today. And although she perceived her audience as primarily female, she frequently put those needs in the context of pleasing, supporting, or otherwise serving a man.

For example, this blurb from the June 19, 1936 edition of The Newark (Ohio) Advocate:

The Inner Man
“A man is as amiable as his digestion”


Yes, don’t we women know it! That’s why we’re always on the lookout for temping and digestible recipes. Try this new trio–they’re made with pure digestible Crisco, the light creamy shortening. That’s why they’ll “harmonize” with his digestion!

Winifred S. Carter

“Oh, it’s his indigestion! I thought it was the drinking.”


Or how about this manly recipe from the May 29, 1936 edition of the Florence, South Carolina Morning News?

The Inner Man


Nobody can get along with a dyspeptic. But the average man can’t help liking the world after a nice digestible meal. So, in the crusade fro more and more optimists I offer some Crisco recipes. Each one’s middle name is “Digestible.”

Winifred S. Carter


Husband’s Cake


a spicy moist cake made in a jiffy with creamy crisco

3/4 cup Crisco
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup tomato soup (canned)
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon soda
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1-1/3 teaspoons nutmeg
1-1/2 cups raisins
1-1/2 cups chopped nuts

Blend Crisco and sugar in mixing-bowl. (Easy to do because Crisco is so creamy!) Combine tomato soup (not cream-of-tomato) with water and soda. Add to Crisco mixture alternately with all sifted dry ingredients. Stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into a “Criscoed” 9-inch tubve pan. Bake in moderate oven (350 deg. F.) about one hour.

Cheese Fondant Icing: Blend 2 packages cream cheese with 1 egg yolk and 3 cups confectioners sugar, a cupful of sugar at a time. Add 1/8 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Taste Hint: Crisco tastes so good that it improves the flavor of pies and fried foods.


Although I haven’t found the original advertisement this appeared in, a cake with the same name appeared in a selection of recipes in the April 17, 1973 edition of the Harrison (Arkansas) Daily Times:

A Man’s Favorite


1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup applesauce (sweetened for table use)
1 teaspoon soda
2 Tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix Crisco, sugar and egg thoroughly in one operation. Add raisins and applesauce. Sift the spices and salt with flour and add in several portions. Before the last of the flour is added, stir in the soda, dissolved in hot water. Beat well, pour into a greased loaf or tube pan and bake about 1 hour in 350 degree oven.

But that’s a recipe for the Depression cake-style Man’s Favorite cake, like the one on Amy’s card. Depression cakes used little or no sugar, milk, or even eggs in some cases, and accordingly, sweetened applesauce is an important component.

But as for the recipe on the card above–what we have here most likely should be using unsweetened applesauce, given the cup of sugar in it. It’s closer to this applesauce spice cake from the December 14, 1934 edition of The (Canandaigua, New York) Daily Messenger:

Applesauce Spice Cake
(With caramel frosting)


1 c. sugar.
1/2 c. fat.
1 c. thick unsweetened apple sauce.
1 egg.
1 tsp. cinnamon.
1/2 tsp. nutmeg.
1/4 tsp. cloves.
1/4 tsp. allspice.
1/2 tsp. salt.
1-1/2 c. flour.
4 tsp. baking powder.
1/2 c. hickory nuts, chopped.

Cream the fat and the sugar and add the apple sauce and the beaten egg. Mix and sift the dry ingredients, add the nuts, and combine the mixtures; mixing them thoroughly. Bake in a loaf pan in a moderate oven for from 40 to 60 minutes. If preferred the cake may be baked in two layers.

Caramel Frosting


1-1/2 c. brown sugar
2 egg whites
4 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. vanilla

Put the sugar, the egg whites, and the water in a double boiler over hot water. Place this over the fire and begin beating the mixture at once with an egg beater. Beat constantly until the frosting will hold its shape, about 7 minutes. When cool, add the vanilla, and pile the frosting lightly on the cake.


Detail of advertisement from the September 24, 1930 edition of the Sandusky (Ohio) Register


From a box sold in River Forest, Illinois.

A Man’s Favorite

1/2 cup Crisco
1 egg
1 cup raisins
1 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
a little milk
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. hot water


Blend Crisco, sugar, and egg thoroughly in one operation. Add raisins and apple sauce.

Sift the spices and salt with flour and add in. Before the last of the flour is added, stir in the soda dissolved in hot water. Beat well.

Pour into greased tube and bake about 350 deg., 1 hour.


  1. Too bad I don’t have a man for which to make all of these favorite cakes.

    Thanks for the Draper.

  2. Renee

    When I was first married in the late sixties my mother in law,Eleanor,
    gave me a recipe for Man’s Favorite Cake and I made it ocassionally over the years. When asked what cake I could make for my brother in law for his 75th birthday he chose this cake….I was surprised to find it on line and exactly as my recipe is written….some things never change.

  3. MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel

    Well, I’ve been married for nearly thirty-five years to a man who wouldn’t touch applesauce cake with a barge pole. If it isn’t chocolate cake, he lets out a long-suffering sigh, although he’ll make an exception for lemon-poppyseed.

    I figure you probably own the 1917 classic A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband, but if you don’t, I’ll spoil the surprise and point out that all thousand “ways” are food-related.

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