Radio Prize Recipes

Before there was television, we had radio. Beginning in the 1920s, commercial radio programming became more available and radios were listed in department stores and catalogs as the latest “must have” appliance. Starting at around $60, a household could have a radio that would last them for many years. Keep in mind, $60 in 1920 is equivalent to almost $800 in 2019! The parts and equipment necessary to make a radio had not been miniaturized and not every house even had electricity needed to power a radio. As time progressed, the technology became better, miniaturized and improved, as tech is wont to do. As the 1940s approached, prices had dropped to around $10 for a radio! I can’t be certain when these radio prize recipes were printed (and Irene had LOTS of them!), but we will say around the 1930s-1950s.

Radio prize recipes were the way to get your recipe out to the masses. Beginning with Ida Bailey Allen aka Ida Cogswell, radio stations broadcast cooking shows that included much of what we have available to us today, just without the visuals. Mrs Allen was the first radio cooking show host. She kicked off her program in the mid 1920s, and soon it was popular enough that it ran for two hours a day. By 1932 she had syndicated her program, and in the 1950s she became the first TV chef in America. Suffice it to say, Mrs Allen influenced millions of housewives in America during the 20th century.

This undated column includes 5 recipes, and shows us that the winners received between $1-$5 for their recipe, plus the pride of having their name in the paper and on the radio. Isn’t it interesting they printed the address of the winner? That would never happen today.

The recipes are out of order due to the column having been cut to fit onto the page. They are: First Prize Orange Layer Cake, Second Prize Sour Cream Nut Cake with Sour Cream Nut Frosting, Third Prize Jiffy Jell Torte, Fourth Prize Angel Sunshine Cake, Fifth Prize Paradise Cake. I’ll write out the first prize recipe for you. As printed in the newspaper it leaves something to be desired. I’ll try to make it a little more complete. These days I would not use an egg white icing but they sure are glossy and lovely. I’d probably use buttercream instead.

Orange Layer Cake – as printed in newspaper

5 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

Juice of one orange

Grated rind of the orange

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Whites of the 5 eggs

1/2 cup hot water

Beat yolks well and add sugar, then add juices of orange mixed with the 1/2 cup of hot water and part of the rind, flour sifted well with baking powder, fold in the beaten whites of the 5 eggs, bake in layers in moderate oven.

Lemon Filling – scald 1 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of sugar mixed with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Beat 2 yolks of eggs and gradually pour milk on the eggs, cook in double boiler stirring constantly, flavor with juice of one lemon.

Icing – whites fo 2 eggs, well beaten, 2 cups of powder sugar and add rest of orange peel.


Say what?  Here you go – –

Orange Layer Cake

For the cake:

5 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups sugar

Juice of one orange

Grated rind of one orange

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup hot water

Beat egg yolks well and add sugar. Combine the orange juice, 1/2 the grated rind and the hot water. Pour into the egg/sugar mix. Sift flour with baking powder, then add to the mix. Finally, beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the mix. Bake in 2 8″ rounds at 350. Start with 20 minutes and check for doneness every 5 minutes after that. Allow to cool completely before assembling the cake.

For the filling:

1 cup milk

1/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 egg yolks, beaten

Juice of 1 lemon

Scald milk (bring nearly to a boil then allow to cool), then add sugar and cornstarch. Stir until sugar & cornstarch are absorbed. Pour beaten egg yolks into a double boiler, then gradually pour the milk mixture over them. Combine, then add the lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly until it thickens. Allow to cool.

For the icing:

2 egg whites

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 the grated orange peel

Whip the egg whites stiff, then add the powdered sugar and orange peel. Mix well and ice over cake.

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