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The Most Popular Cake from Every Decade

What was the most popular cake of the 20s, the 50s or the 80s? We found them all: the one cake that defined each decade!

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Classic Chocolate Cake

If you need to learn how to make chocolate cake from scratch, this easy homemade chocolate cake recipe is a perfect place to start. It appeared on a can of Hershey's cocoa way back in 1943. I tried it, my boys liked it, and I've been making it ever since. —Betty Follas, Morgan Hill, California
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Layered Orange Sponge Cake

This recipe's been handed down in my family for 40 years, from a relative who was a French baker. It's light, delicate and delicious, just like a great cake should be. —Joyce Speerbrecher, Grafton, Wisconsin

There are even more vintage 1910s recipes you’ll love.

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Skillet Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

For a change of pace, you can substitute fresh or frozen peach slices for the pineapple in this old-fashioned recipe. —Bernardine Melton, Paola, Kansas

Let us help you cut that pineapple.

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1930s: Icebox Cake

The availability of pre-made ingredients like graham crackers and cookies, plus electric refrigerators appearing in homes, made icebox cakes very popular. One of the most basic and delicious types: chocolate wafer cookies layered with sweetened whipped cream.

Here are more icebox desserts we love.

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Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Mom always made this special chocolate mayonnaise cake for my birthday dessert. It is very moist and has a nice light chocolate taste. Plus, the flavorful frosting is the perfect topping. —Deborah Amrine, Fort Myers, Florida

Wondering what it was like to cook in the 40s? We tried it

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Spumoni Baked Alaska

For a refreshing end to a rich meal, try this freezer finale. Its intriguing interior and pretty color scheme are bound to garner oohs and aahs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Here are more dishes you would have found at a 1950s party.

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German Black Forest Cake

As far as I know, this cake recipe can be traced back to my German great-grandma. When I got married, my mother gave me a copy and I hope to someday pass it down to my children. —Stephanie Travis, Fallon, Nevada
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1970s: Carrot Cake

Though created in the early twentieth century this cake reached the peak of popularity in the 1970s. Home cooks caught up in the health craze of the decade loved this cake loaded with carrots and fruit like raisins, pineapple or applesauce.

If you’re craving more 70s classics, try these!

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1980s: Ice Cream Cake

Thanks to a bombardment of TV ads from companies like Baskin Robbins, Friendly’s and Carvel (remember Fudgie the Whale and Cookie Puss?), ice cream cakes were all the rage in the 80s.
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Peppermint Lava Cakes

It never ceases to amaze to see warm chocolate pudding ooze out of the center of this tender chocolate cake. These cakes are a showstopper on a plate! Serve lava cakes with whipped cream or ice cream. —Carolyn Crotser, Colorado Springs, Colorado

We bet you owned this cookbook in the 90s.

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Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I've been baking cakes for years and enjoy trying new combinations of flavors and textures. For this peanut butter cupcake recipe, I blended peanut butter and chocolate. As soon as I took the first bite, I knew I had created something divine! —Ronda Schabes, Vicksburg, Michigan

Try our top gourmet cupcake recipes.

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Unicorn Cake

This magical unicorn cake tastes as good as it looks. Baking in smaller pans creates impressive height, and a few simple decorating tricks turn it into a showstopping dessert. —Lauren Knoelke, Des Moines, Iowa

Let us help you plan that unicorn party!

Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.