Retro Desserts To Make For Your Mad Men Premiere Party


Ambrosia Layer Cake [Photograph: Maria del Mar Sacasa]

Season 6 of Mad Men premieres on Sunday, bringing with it Don, Peggy, Joan, and the whole whiskey-drinking, cigarette-smoking crew. It pretty much goes without saying that if you're trying to host a party with a Draper-approved atmosphere, you're getting built-in fun. Stiff cocktails are half that equation, and personally I think the other half is in dessert.

The 1960s get a bad rap when it comes to sweets—after all it was the era when boxed mixes became popular, and there was a strange fascination with putting things in gelatin molds. But the truth is that many of those cakes rock when you make them from scratch, and others (hello sparkling Jell-O mold made with champagne) are just plain fun. Here are some desserts that will set the mood.

Ambrosia Layer Cake: Four layers of golden cake filled with a fluffy icing packed with tropical fruits and mini-marshmallows.

Grasshopper Squares: Mint and chocolate was a favorite flavor combination, popping up in both the classic cocktail and these pudding cake squares.

Pig Pickin Cake: A Mandarin orange cake with pineapple whipped cream frosting. Because Mad Men is going to Hawaii.

Haupia: Speaking of the tropics, get in the spirit with this Hawaiian coconut pudding and some Mai Tais.

Floating Islands: An old school dessert in which meringue floats in a pool of crème anglaise.


[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

Sparkling Jell-O Mold: Champagne. Jell-O. A jiggly mold. You may scoff but this is always a crowd pleaser at a party.

Skillet Pineapple Upside Down Cake: An easy cake that combines both the premiere's tropical theme and the 1960s love of canned pineapple.

Baked Alaska Pie: If you went out to a fancy restaurant in the 60s, you'd probably encounter this sky high pie with its crown of meringue.

Don't forget to pair these with a glass of something strong. Want a guide? Right this way.

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