A Sweet History of Our Favorite Desserts

From banana splits and Eskimo pie to cake kits, ambrosia, and bacon-laced cupcakes, American society has always craved something to satisfy its ever-present sweet tooth. But what defines our taste in desserts? Cleverly packaged free “recipe books” published by companies like Pillsbury and Del Monte, for starters. While ingredients come from a brand level, recipes have always belonged to the consumers. From 1900 through the present day, Americans have been as much seduced by homemade, labor-intensive creations as they have by the much less time-consuming candy bar, and more often than not, the categories overlap. Here are just a few highlights of the most popular desserts of the last eleven decades.


1900-1910: Devil's Food Cake & the Hershey Bar


1910-1920: Biscuits & Penny Candies


1920-1930: Nuts about Candy Bars


1930-1940:Semi-Instant Baking


1940-1950: The Age of Pies & Cakes


1950-1960: Donuts & Hot Fudge Sundaes


1960-1970: Wild 'n' Crazy Cakes


1970-1980: Anything Goes


1980-1990: Fro-Yo & Pudding Pops


1990-2000: Cookies & Brownies


2000-2010: Cupcakes



2010-2020: ?




(Originally published on LA Weekly.)